Wednesday, May 05, 2010

EReaders and Speed Dating

Thought I'd post about reading. I've been doing a lot of it lately (in between subbing preps). And I wanted to write about my lovely pink ereader and other observations. The ereader came into my life in January and boy, it's a big part of my life now. It goes in my handbag like a little buddy.

I can heartily recommend one to anyone considering it (thank you to Susan Rix for first introducing me to hers at the last RNA conference! Big high five).

The benefits of the ereader as I see them are this:
For a writer the ability to upload your book draft and read it in 'almost book' format is a gift. It really helped me fine tune a manuscript I'd thought I'd already gotten close to good to go. Somehow reading in a change of format brings new clarity.

There were tinies I'd missed but seeing it in smaller page chunks in my hand really made a huge difference. It also helps flag up formatting issues you may have missed (stray tabs and such, there were two but at least I could pick them up without reams of print out and knock on impacts on the print out). I also love that I don't have to kill lots of trees when proofing things for others and myself. It's much closer to the 'book' experience too.

I love being able to get the book I want pretty instantly and just read it. I've never had any problems with downloading/purchasing new books.

I love not having to go hunt my choice down and go through pullaver. Or wait for the store to send it only to find out there's delays etc. Instead I just click it and buy. It's also making me more inclined to re-read books again I've read recently if they're keepers. I'm more inclined to dip back into a book I loved and discard one that isn't living up to its promise (this is new for me, I've usually been of the school of stick with it to The End). But now that's changing.

I really like that the copyright is so well protected with an ebook and yet you have the longevity of a book without the storage/spare room turned book depository issues. For a while now my TBR pile and stash of books has felt like a guilty pleasure. With each new purchase I sense the walls of my home getting smaller. I love the fact that I'm not giving away books to charity (not that I mind giving to charity shops, weeding out for thrift stores is almost a part time job with a toddler in the building, I just feel dubious about doing it with books when the author gets no royalty). I like the compact nature of the ereader where everything's to hand and it's really easy to delete/upload and organise my own little book world. Sold yet?

And finally on the topic of discarding books that aren't living up to promise. Lately I've started being much harder on my reading matter. And surely this is a good thing. If it's not got me by chapter five I'm moving on. If the heroine hasn't won me over, it's time to part company. Makes me realise how editors must've only got so long to keep me on side! But it's quite's made me wake up to the duty to keep your promise to the reader. It's a powerful thing and a scary one too. It makes you think about sharpening up your act. After all, are we likely to buy a title again when an author has failed to deliver after our purchase?

So lately I've been speed-dating with books. Some I want to go out to dinner with, or share a romantic city break. Others I can't wait to shake hands and move on to a better match (not that I've ever speed-dated in my life!)

So how about you guys? Are you hard on your reading material? How many chapters do you allow before you turn your back?


Jackie Ashenden said...

I will persevere with a book usually. But if it hasn't grabbed me by halfway I usually give up. The characters or the writing has to be VERY annoying before I'll give up early.
Jealous of your ereader though. I want one!

Leah said...

I tend to finish all my books, even if I hate them - the thing is I'll start to skim read instead. So I find out what happens, but I just skip to the interesting parts :)

I'm very jealous of your eReader! I'm not quite ready to buy one - I'm still in the throes of researching and waiting for the next wave of eReaders.

Caroline said...

Your love of the eReader is tempting me Judy to get one...but I still like to hold books. Umm will give it some thought. Caroline x

Joanne Coles said...

I love being able to download directly onto my iPhone. I thought the small screen would annoy me, but it's perfect to hold while feeding the baby or sitting in the car waiting for this child or that.

As for book annoyance, I'll be honest, if I don't care about the characters or storyline by the end of the first chapter I'll usually not read any more. Sometimes I do, but rarely. Life's too short, too many books to read to mess around with books that don't grab me from the off.

Judy Jarvie said...

So interesting to find out reading habits! I'm with you Leah re the skimming, that's what I used to do. Maybe it's my age and declining patience kicking in lol.

The ereader won't be for everyone. I know what you mean re having a book in your hand, Caroline. I thought that too initially. BUT now I don't even mind not having the book. It feels the same and I still look up the full screen colour covers on the p.c. Old drooling habits die hard. I do love those clinch covers.