Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Post in Which the Author Admits He is Having Trouble Adapting to the Century in Which He Lives

So, I'm trying to get back on the reviewing and blogging wagon after having taken much needed break. While I've been away, lots of authors I enjoy reading, like Allan Guthrie, Dave Zeltserman, and Anthony Neil Smith have released electronic exclusives. After resisting the e-book trend for a long time, I finally broke down and downloaded Kindle for PC, and bought a couple of books I wanted to read. The problem is, however, that I'm having a hard time reading them. On many days, I spend the better part of eight hours staring a a computer screen, and when I get home I often find myself not wanting to spend another couple hours doing the same thing for recreational purposes.

And when I do fire up the computer, I always end up caught up in myriad distractions (I have four other tabs open in my browser as I write this.) As McLuhan said, the medium is the message, and I fear the Internet has conditioned me to jump around from one thing to the next, never staying in one place, or lavishing too much attention on any one thing. Sitting in front of a computer and trying to do something as straightforward and linear as reading a novel feels unnatural, and I'm having a hard time adapting. I recently read Grimhaven as a PDF, and it took me two weeks to get through. It's a short book, and I should have been able to sit down and read it in an afternoon, but I kept getting distracted, or feeling like I needed a break from staring at the screen. It wasn't easy.

Right now, I'm trying to decide on whether or not to shell out for a Kindle. I think that the portable format may be more book-like, and make me more comfortable with the whole electronic book concept, but I'm afraid it won't work, and I'll have wasted a bunch of money on something I'll never use. So, I'm asking anyone who's got one, how do you like yours? Was it worth the money? Is it similar enough to reading a book that you feel comfortable doing it? Or should I just forget it?


michael said...

I prefer reading books on my Kindle over print. But you don't have to feel reading in that format is required.

The most recent sales figures show 90% or more books are not read in the e-book format. If you are happy with print, why change?

Of course, with my Kindle I have over 600 books (including enough free reference books to fill a small town library) in my hand and only a click away. No more books lost in a sea of boxes full of books.

E-books usually cost less so I can buy more books and afford to take risks on new authors I might not have before.

The Kindle is lighter and easier to handle than print.

But if you noticed, I have not said anything about the experience of reading. All I care about is content. Writing your next book in crayon on the sidewalk and I will walk behind you reading.

Kindle is just a format, just like mass market, trade, audio, and even hardcover. Which format you use is up to you.

Now if you are still curious, visit the local Barnes & Noble (they love having anybody visit), sit down and take a test spin on the Nook. While I am a Kindle guy, the Nook will give you a chance to test drive the format.

Nathan Cain said...

Thanks for your feedback. I may have to drop by Barnes and Noble and have a look at the Nook.