Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Sunday Salon: E-books and other matters

The Sunday Salon.com

It has been another long week but I have managed to get quite a bit more reading done at least, both books and news. As a matter of fact this article from the New York Times caught my attention: Libraries and Readers Wade Into Digital Lending. I found some of it highly fascinating. Personally I have yet to read an entire book on the computer. My Dad often does but so far I have stuck to the regular format or audio books. The idea, however, intrigues me as I have been known to read fanfiction on the computer and really how can a published book be different (I would say the quality would be better in published books but I have read some good fanfiction and some awful books so...).

Anyway, back to the article, I do like the idea of being able to download the book straight to my computer. I sometimes have problems getting to the library so this way I could still support my library, get my book and not spend money. I like the idea. I am also of the "it doesn't matter what (or where or how) they read as long as they read" mentality and if this opens reading to more people I am all for it.

I find it interesting that the publishing industry seem to be so against it. Their main complaint seems to be that it will stop people from buying the books (the same argument that the music industry has regarding downloads and well all know how that is going). I find this a strange argument, especially if, as the article states, a book expires on the patrons computer after the loan period is up. In this case it is no different from a regular library book. The publishing industry does not suffer because I borrow books from the library. I would actually argue that this is better for the publishing industry because if it is a book I like I am more inclined to go out an buy a book if it has disappeared from my computer when the period is up. I am sure I am not the only bookworm out there who supports the library with my overdue fines, some because I liked a book but didn't have time to finish it (I should also add that I really should have the local library on speed dial because I often have to call them and ask them to extend my lending periods). If I can try out a book before I buy it I am more likely to buy it in the first place.

Add to this the fact that small libraries like my local one could in this way have more books. Currently they cannot physically carry all the books they would perhaps like to carry. If they could instead store the books on servers they could have more books for the patrons to read (and perhaps in many different languages *drools over this possibility*).

Do I think regular books will disappear completely because of e-books? No absolutely not. Personally I think I still prefer the regular physical book over reading on the computer or an e-book device. But at the same time with the technology available to us we should utilize it to its maximum in order to get as many people as possible involved in the great conversation.

On the note of e-books, Amazon has now announced the release of its Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6 in an international version thus removing one of my major reasons for not getting one. Luckily enough the other major reason is still standing: I simply do not have $279 plus the shipping. I really want one though. Just saying.


Reading

Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings. Part of my re-read of The Belgariad and The Mallorean series.

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. The last chapter I read had a great argument for writing in books (a topic I know divides the book blogging world. I fall in the writing camp). I will continue to work my way through this book at about a chapter a week. It gives me lots to think about so I want to take it slow.

I continue my history self-education by reading The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer. I have started reading the introduction to The Epic of Gilgamesh but will hold off reading the poem itself since I have joined the Really Old Classics Challenge and that starts in November.

I am also reading various poets since my seniors have decided that they want to study poetry for the next period and I need to try and decide which poems and poets we will study. Should be fun though. I like poetry.

I'm still listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.

Finished

Magician's Gambit by David Eddings. Part of my re-reading of The Belgariad and The Mallorean series (link to my review)

Running for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield. Loved this book. Really got me inspired to get back into running (link to my review).

Books Bought

This week was my Audible week and I ended up settling for The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini since my mentor has been raving about it and it has been in my TBR pile for a while.

Challenges

Fall into Reading
I am reading:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Giver by Lois Lowry
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
I haven't read any of these books this week. Going to pick this challenge back up again soon

Childhood Favourites Challenge
The original post is here:
The Babysitters Club: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin
A Horse Called Wonder by Joanna Campbell
Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Madicken by Astrid Lindgren
As you can see I haven't started any of these books yet.

The Really Old Classics Challenge
I'll be reading:
The Epic of Gilgamesh
I might also add the extra credit challenge but I haven't decided yet.

I am also taking part in The Classic Circuit: On Tour With Elizabeth Gaskell where I will be reading Cranford. Probably on my computer thanks to Project Gutenberg.

Disclaimer 
I am an Amazon Associate who so far has either bought or borrowed all the books I read and review.

7 comments:

Eva said...

I'm rereading The Belgariad right now too! :)

I loved Gilgamesh when I read it this year.

Zee said...

Isn't The Belgariad fantastic?!

I am really looking forward to Gilgamesh. From what I have read about it it seems really good.

debnance said...

I'm interested in the idea of ebooks, though I find I don't use my Kindle much unless I'm waiting for my car inspection or I'm at Yosemite.

Zee said...

I probably wouldn't use a Kindle that much either right now but I can see uses for it in the future. Right now I listen to audio books on my commute because I ride the same bus as my students and quite frankly I hear them in school I don't need to hear them before or after work when (especially after) my head is already buzzing. If however I had a different commute or when I travel I could see myself using it more.

I am the girl who took about ten books with her to visit friends this summer. It would have saved space if I had just had a Kindle :D

Amanda said...

Honestly, while I love my Kindle, I think if I knew now what I knew when I got one that I wouldn't have bought it. I would have waited until all the fear in the publishing industry died out. There are so many restrictions on the Kindle, so many security things built into it that make it impossible to even transfer from one of YOUR OWN devices to another of YOUR OWN, that it's just ridiculous. I've only actually bought one book for my kindle (the rest on mine are free ones from gutenberg and stuff), and it irks me that if my kindle breaks or if I decide to move to a different type of ereader I won't be able to take my book with me. That's wrong.

Eventually, the publishing industry will calm down and take the security stuff out of it. The same way itunes has done recently. But in the meantime, it's just kind of annoying, and apparently non-kindle ereaders are far superior when it comes to security properties.

Zee said...

That would be really annoying. I would like to be able to chose how I read my copies. Not having them convertible sounds annoying. It was one point that the article covered, the fact that as yet, one cannot read the borrowed e-books on the Kindle. It is another good reason to wait and see what happens with it in the future.

Dani in NC said...

>>The publishing industry does not suffer because I borrow books from the library.<<

This is exactly what is missing from most of these discussions about free media. They forget that there are people like me are not going to buy books or music either way. Having free books available, digital or otherwise, available to be borrowed from the library does not take my dollars away from the publishing industry. If a book isn't available at my library, I just don't read it. On the other hand, if a book is available for me to read then I may recommend it to others who prefer buying books over borrowing.