More Than 7 Questions about E-Books

In preparation for the holiday season, STG’s got some questions for y’all about e-books…

  1. Which do you prefer: Kindle or Nook or Sony (or something else that is flying under the radar so far)?
  2.  Which one do you use? How do you use it, e.g., books only, periodicals also? If you were choosing today, which would you choose?
  3.  What do you like best about the one you use compared to print? What do you like best about it compared to other e-readers? What does your version not do or offer that others do?
  4.  Do you also still read “real” books? If so, please elaborate. If not, what do you miss about printed books (if anything)?
  5.  What new capability do you hope will come to e-readers in the future?
  6.  Any experience with e-book lending programs, formal or informal? (Amazon recently launched a lending program for Amazon Prime members but single review I’ve seen claimed the selection is limited. No clue if lending programs are available or planned for Nook or Sony….anybody know?)
  7.  Anybody have a clue which technology Dekalb County library system will choose (assuming it ever has hopes of budgetary capacity to even consider adding e-books)?

27 thoughts on “More Than 7 Questions about E-Books”


  1. Love my Nook. My sister has a Kindle which she loves. I use it for books and magazines. Some of the mags I subscribe to have a free e-edition which is nice.
    I like the portability; it fits in my purse. If near wifi, it also becomes my mini laptop with email, web etc.
    Any new capability should involve running the vacuum cleaner. 🙂
    I tried to sign up for e-books with Gwinnett County. It was a major pia and necessitated reprogramming my Nook after it was stuck in the process. Haven’t tried again.
    If DeKalb gets funding, I hope the process with be much more straight forward.

    Now I want adult books with more illustrations. Not those kind of adult books…But why should only kids get pictures?

    1. I have a Nook as well and can echo many of the things AMB says. I use it as much for it mini-laptop capabilities as I do for an e-reader, and I bought it for that reason. I also have a couple of apps on it – my kids play Angry Birds, and I play Scrabble. I have to say that I don’t care for reading magazines on it at all. I don’t like having to enlarge the page to see the print, I have to shrink it down to turn to the next page, and “article view” doesn’t show all the photos.

      I have read in the Nook forums about downloading library e-books and using some kind of Adobe software for reading, but that might be beyond my skillset and DeKalb County doesn’t appear to offer anything like that yet.

      As much as I enjoy my Nook, it’s not anywhere near replacing real books for me. I am still the public library’s biggest fan!

  2. I read a book on my phone yesterday. That was my first experience with an e-book. Free Kindle app, the book was a gift. I can tell you I enjoyed the book, Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When, by Annette Laing. (Highly recommended if you have a young time travel fan to buy for.) I don’t think I have enough experience with e-readers to give a well thought out opinion on your other questions.
    I don’t want to threadjack, but in the last few years I’ve become smitten with audiobooks, which I also use through my phone.

  3. Love, love, love my Kindle, and I was pretty skeptical at first. The best part is being able to browse books via wi-fi, and instantly download fairly lengthy samples of almost any book. Then if you like it, instantly buy and download the whole book and keep reading. And of course, the portability and freed-up bookshelf space. And moving will be so much easier now! If I had it to do over, I would get the Kindle with 3-G. (NOT the touch screen… who wants fingerprints on their books??) In theory I should simply have a selection of new books already downloaded to the reader, but I have found myself with no wi-fi and wishing for a new book right then and there. The one type of paper book I still buy is travel guides. I really enjoy highlighting, folding down pages, making notes, flipping pages and looking at photos in paper travel books. Yes, in theory you can do all those things with a reader, but it is somehow not as satisfying. The one capability I wish for is a device that could somehow combine an e-ink reader with a back-lit web browsing/movie watching tablet. Probably impossible, but I would love to have the ability to surf the web and still read books in the e-ink format. Backlit reading strains my eyes, but it would be nice to be able to watch the occasional portable movie as you can with the new Kindle Fire.

    1. Does the Kindle Fire do the stuff yours doesn’t? I’ve been hinting that I want one for Xmas, and want to be sure I’m hinting right.

      1. The fire is the full color model that can play movies and surf the web. I believe it does most everything the average small format tablet computer can do. Mine is just the e-ink reader… no color but it looks like real ink on paper, not like reading a bright computer screen. Both have their advantages. The Fire has lots more functionality but I prefer reading on my e-ink style versus the Fire because it causes less eye strain, it is more restful (and sleep inducing) when reading at night, and the battery life is excellent. The battery lasts a couple weeks even when I’m using the case with the Kindle powered built-in reading light.

  4. I have a Nook that was a gift, and have enjoyed the few books I’ve read on it well enough, but being a regular library patron and thrift store book buyer, the $9 to $14 price tag for most books is a rude awakening, and I miss the feel of a ‘real’ book. I’ve just started using B&N’s lending program but the constant stream of adult book titles (yeah – that kind of adult book) is tough to wade through. I do like the collections of classics that are usually very low-priced. Overall I would not recommend it unless you are a traveler without access to a library or used book store to explore.

  5. I was hesitant to go into e-books but now I love Kindle because of the e-ink which helps it read like a book. I still buy a ton of paper books especially books that I know I’ll want to share with others since e-books aren’t very share-friendly though it seems they’re working on it.

  6. I use the Kindle app on iPad and iPhone for “real” books, i.e. books that cost money. The Google Books app for all the amazing old books available scanned in — if you’re into history, geology or older literature, it’s just absolutely amazing. iBooks app for PDF’s which spans alot of categories. I still read physical books and definitely read more of those than ebooks. Physical for anything I think I will reread down the road and since I pencil in marginalia; ebooks for the fun, one-time read, or a long dry text that I want to read but know I’ll never want to reread or take up shelf space.

    As far as periodicals, I did pony up for the Economist but I’m not sure it has been worth it. No lending thus far.

  7. I have been very happy with my Kindle Fire. It takes up very little room in my briefcase. That said, I will still buy books at author signings, because I really don’t want Sharpie all over my Fire.

  8. I love my kindle much more than I thought I would. I do still read paper books, but I am addicted to the one-click instant new book on the kindle! Instant gratification for a new book is like a dream come true for me. I also agree with other posters that the e-ink makes a difference. I don’t enjoy reading on my iphone nearly as much as I like the kindle. I also really like the lightness of it. It’s much easier to read curled up in bed with one hand outside the covers in the cold air. Very luxurious.

    My biggest problem is that I often forget the names of books I’m reading because I never see the cover of it! I read a lot of series. I’d love it if the screen saver for the kindle could be the cover of the current book that I’m reading.

    I’d also like more graphic novels/comics for the color e-readers. We’re getting the Fire for my son, who is an avid reader, and it would be nice to have more of that type of material for him. In fact, the products for young readers is still pretty slim. I investigated getting him an e-subscription to a magazine, but the titles seemed limited.

    I’m not impressed with the Amazon Prime selection of lending books, but I think that will get better in time. I know that Dekalb County is investigating e-books, but I don’t know what their timeline is. It seems to be a pretty complicated process.

    1. Ooh! I love your idea for the screen saver to be the book I’m reading! Or at least make that an option (I suppose there would be times when it might be embarrassing to admit what I’m reading – like when I finally get around to picking up the Twilight series… oh, did I say that out loud?).

      And I agree that reading the Kindle in bed is easier than a real book – lighter and more manageable with one hand once you figure out the proper hand placement to hit “next page” as needed. My only complaint is that I wish there were a less clunky book light out there so that reading the e-ink would be as easy as the back-lit version without the eyestrain.

      My hubby loves that he can adjust the print size (I’m sure I’ll be loving that, too, in the near future).

      By far the best thing about e-readers is the instant download capability – especially key when reading series. I finished the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at about 12:30am and was able to start the next book almost instantly instead of having to wait until the stores opened.

      1. Best would be a screensaver that says I’m reading Moby-Dick, when I’m actually tearing through the latest Stephanie Plum adventure!

        1. I’ve had the same thought with a few of my more embarrassing book choices. I was reading a certain trashy novel in an airport once and marveling that I didn’t have to be self-conscious about it because nobody knew what I was reading! So, it is true that have the cover as the screen saver would negate that perk.

          Good idea about Moby Dick! You could opt out and have a “go-to” classic as a sub for our less intellectual choices of reading.

  9. 1. Which do you prefer: Kindle or Nook or Sony (or something else that is flying under the radar so far)?
    Kindle for bookmark feature, Nook and iBooks for ePub compatibility. ePub or PDF will likely be
    2.  Which one do you use? How do you use it, e.g., books only, periodicals also? If you were choosing today, which would you choose?
    iPod Touch with Kindle, Nook, and iBooks apps works with my one hand. Books, magazines, and saved articles are all read.
     3. What do you like best about the one you use compared to print? What do you like best about it compared to other e-readers? What does your version not do or offer that others do?
    Newspaper/paperback column widths on electronic books works better with progressive lenses.
    4.  Do you also still read “real” books? If so, please elaborate. If not, what do you miss about printed books (if anything)?
    No. There’s no quick interaction with a dictionary/thesaurus, screen capture for future reference or search for word(s).
    5.  What new capability do you hope will come to e-readers in the future?
    Better conversion from text to audio.
     6. Any experience with e-book lending programs, formal or informal? (Amazon recently launched a lending program for Amazon Prime members but single review I’ve seen claimed the selection is limited. No clue if lending programs are available or planned for Nook or Sony….anybody know?)
    Amazon requires an annual paid subscription unlike libraries…that’s a deal-breaker.
     7. Anybody have a clue which technology Dekalb County library system will choose (assuming it ever has hopes of budgetary capacity to even consider adding e-books)?
    Perhaps we should follow the Nashville, TN library system: http://www.library.nashville.org/

  10. we’re a 5 kindle family here. our kids can share books between themselves since they are all under my account. and we bought a membership to gwinnett library for $30 for the year which has a decent selection of kindle books, though often you have to get on a waiting list. wish dekalb would get with the program but think they spent all their money on library renovations, no plans for ebooks in near future is the work I got. kindle libraries are managed through amazon so no problem with downloads or conversions. you can return books under your amazon kindle account so you can free up the space when a book on the wait list gets free. (think there is a 10 ebook at a time limit for gwinnett)

    Kids still read some real books from the library since they are not allowed to buy a new amazon book every time they finish a book, but well worth the money. they love to read the on the kindles before they go to sleep or take them in the car for trips. Can’t beat the portability.

    and Caliber has many free magazines and newspapers available but it is a little bit of a hassle to figure out the downloading. As far as I can figure, you cannot set it up for wireless updating, must use your usb cord and download to a regular computer then connect your kindle for new issues. would probably be better for a tablet.

    1. here is the link to calibre….now I have the spelling right 🙂
      (hope the link comes through, if not it is calibre-ebookdotcom)

      http://calibre-ebook.com/

      nice program. you can convert almost any ebook format to another format and there are many free publications to download. can set it up for automatic downloading of publications but actual downloading needs to be on a computer type device that will hold your calibre library. I haven’t figured out how to do it through my kindle’s wireless connection, so the drag is that you have to then connect your kindle to the computer via usb and move the stuff over. oh yeah, the program needs to be left running all the time on your computer to get the automatic downloading to work.

      my take on ebooks is pick one and enjoy, doesn’t really matter which one. I would not do it for young children’s books with big pictures, but for chapter books and beyond they are wonderful. I like the black and white kindle’s long battery life and non glitzy appearance though some people like colors and touch screens. my husband prefers the smallest one because it is so compact and was the cheapest. good luck.

  11. While you’re waiting on Dekalb County to offer e-books, one option is the awesome Project Gutenberg Ebooks site:
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/

    They’ve got thousands of books available for download (mostly literary classics — not new stuff) and I believe they are all Kindle-compatible.

  12. Have managed to avoid the siren song of the e-readers thus far, but the Kindle Fire, with its capability of so much more than books, is starting to appeal to me more than I care to admit. I do love the comforting tactile sensation I get from a 3-D (“real”) book, though, so nothing can replace that. I am starting to allow myself to consider the possibility of augmenting my “real book” experience– something I wouldn’t have considered just a few short months ago. *sigh*

  13. As I’d hoped, this thread is a treasure trove of information and insight. Much appreciation to everyone who is taking the time to share your experiences and ideas.

  14. I love my Sony for ebooks. I very rarely read paper books now as I find them heavy and a pain to carry around with me. It is also more difficult to read actual books at night compared to an ereader. However, I am a library reader and I prefer to check books out than buy books. My parents live in a municipality whose library has a great lending system. I can borrow thousands of books from Overdrive in epub, pdf, or kindle format when they let me use their library card.

  15. For folks who read on their iPhone on the free Kindle app but don’t like how bright the screen is, did you guys know you can change the viewing format to black background with white text? I find it much easier on the eyes. Click the Aa symbol on the bottom toolbar while you’re in a book, and see your options for text size and background color.

  16. DeKalb County Public Library will be offering eBooks through the OverDrive platform by the end of this year. DeKalb currently uses OverDrive for downloadable audiobooks. OverDrive has recently made arrangements with Amazon to allow for public library lending of Kindle format eBooks. About 90% of the titles available through OverDrive for public library lending should be Kindle-compatible. Other formats included on the platform are ePub and .pdf and will work with a variety of other devices such as Nook, Kobo, Sony, iPad, etc.

    DeKalb’s starter collection will consist of several hundred titles, but we also expect demand to be very high. OverDrive has a queuing system, so you can place titles you want on hold and be notified by email when it is your turn. The Library’s budget for buying materials continues to be limited due to County budget cuts, but we will increase the collection as funding allows.

    @ w poncer — the money the Library has been spending on renovations and new construction is from the 2005 bond program passed by voters in unincorporated DeKalb County. The bulk of that funding can only be spent on construction in unincorporated sections of the county. Some money has been used for the print collections in the new/expanded/renovated branches, but it can’t be spent on electronic formats.

    Alison Weissinger
    Director, DCPL

    1. wonderful news for all dekalb library ebook users! I was told a while back that there was no money for ebooks, not sure if it was someone at the front desk or what. glad to find out from the director they are really on their way. should be a huge initial demand after the holidays.

  17. I was one of those who thought I would not like to trade real books for an e-reader. However, I got a Kindle and quickly adapted and began to really appreciate not having so many books piling up. While there are some books that I like to keep and loan or dispay on a shelf, I really don’t need a copy of every book I read. And the convenience of downloading a new one wherever and whenever I like is pretty fantastic.

    Then I thought I really wouldn’t like one of the shiny, new backlit numbers (for reading, anyhow). But then I lucked up on a returned/open-box Kindle Fire at Target for a huge discount (score!) and I love it. It’s a very convenient way to surf the internet (and keep up on the latest DM threads) and get in my critical Plants vs. Zombies time. And – surprise! – reading books on it doesn’t really bother my eyes like I thought it would. Plus, since it has the backlight, I can read even when Hubby puts the lights out.

  18. I bought one of the first Kindles, when they released it several years ago. Of course I overpaid, then, but that is what happens with new technology, prices decrease. Will continue to use it, and have over 100 books on it right now. It is great for reading in bed, not heavy and you can read an any angle. I stll read “real” books, mostly from the library. Great feature is the ability to immediately go to a footnote on non-fiction books, something that is cumbersome on a real book. I am somewhat displeased that Amazon has raised prices. When they first came out, all NYT bestsellers were $9.99. Now, most releases are more than than. But….you can also get the entire writings of Charles Dickens, for about $5.00! I would never be without this reader, especially on trips. I have loaded a lot of new books at airports, after seeing what it cost to buy something at the bookstores there. It needed color, which I think you can get on the Fire.

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