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Old 10-20-2009, 04:46 PM   #1
eGeezer
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So, What's the point of an eReader?

And Howdy, all,

I may appear to be a Troll with only the intention of attracting flames, but please read me out.

It appears the assumption is that if you have joined up with Mobileread, it is a foregone conclusion that you will get an ereader and no discussion is necessary on how useful, or not, they are . Lots of discussion on which one is best for your needs, but little discussion on whether one really needs one.

Doing a search, I found ONE thread where an older gentleman on limited income asked why he would want to spend $200 for a reader to read current/contemporary books costing $4-9 when he can go to a used book store and get them a LOT cheaper. The answer was something like "yeah, the pricing is a little crazy, but here's the readers to consider."

Well, I've been lurking about flitting from here and there, bookmarking this site and that, finding the perfect e-reader (something besides a Kindle that has G3, or at least wireless, downloads and avaliability of subscriptions as well as a dictionary -- I really don't like Kindle's button clutter, and I'm not too impressed with the stories of Amazon deleting books without refunds).

But still, nothing to convince me to spend the money on a reader to pay more for books than I can at a used book store -- or even my local discount source(s) like popular chain stores or "warehouse" stores.

It wasn't Mobileread, or any other site I visited that finally slapped me alongside the head with a 2x4 to get my attention and say the magic words: Local Library. It was just a friend who doesn't buy "real books", either.

Well, duh.

So while saying "Hi" to you all, I thought I'd put a little something in here so if anyone is ever searching for the same answer I am, it will be available.

Sure, when I finally get an e-reader, I will probalby also start going back and looking at the thousands of free public domain books, but that's not a motivator to GET an e-reader.

Getting current/contemporary books free from the Library is definitely that motivator.

Glad to be here. Hope to have more to say in the future.

eGeezer
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:13 PM   #2
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Hello, eGeezer. Let me give it a try.

My Sony PRS-505 has more than paid for itself with free reading material. Thousands of beautifully-formatted public domain books, free books from self-published authors on Smashwords and Feedbooks and free newspapers and magazines that I get with calibre's "Fetch news" feature have more than made up for the couple hundred bucks I spent on the device. That's not to mention the brand new books that I get for less than $10 that are only available in hardback.

You're right that if you can find something at a used bookstore it's most likely cheaper there than as an ebook (unless it's a classic - then the ebook is free). However, you can't fit a thousand of those books in your carry-on, and unless you have a few rooms you're not using in your house there's a limit to how many you can own.

You don't have to give up p-books when you buy a dedicated device any more than you have to give up vinyl when you buy an iPod. They each have their place. I like that whenever I'm stuck waiting (for a friend, at the doctor, getting an oil change, etc.) that I can choose from a huge library of books to read while I wait. "Waiting" for me now means reading (free) Dostoevsky and listening to Beethoven. Try lugging around The Brothers Karamazov in paper format.

Last edited by Superlucky; 10-20-2009 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:13 PM   #3
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Well eGeezer, I think what you have just done is analogous to walking into a kids play park and telling all the watching parents that their kids are all ugly and pointless

Seriously though, I doubt you'll really get flamed for presenting a well reasoned argument (and quite possibly one that holds up for many, if not the majority, of people).

I can only speak for myself, but I have and enjoy having an e-reader for the following reasons (not necessarily in order of importance):

1. I like gadgets
2. I travel a lot and like the ability to be able to take 200 or so books with me when I do (no, I'm not going to read them all, but it's good to have the choice on the move)
3. The finding (and converting) of public domain books has become almost a hobby in its own right

I also take your point about libraries, but it's not always convenient for me to go to a library.

I'm sure other people will chip in, but at the end of the day it's a personal decision - if you feel that it's not worth your while having an e-reader, I don't see how anybody could argue with your decision.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:23 PM   #4
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With the laungh of the Nook and B&N supporting eReader, please do not incorrectly use the term eReader as it will just confuse things.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:49 PM   #5
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Welcome to MR!

My main motivation for buying an ebook reader is simply the convenience of being able to cart a lot of books around with me whilst commuting, and having something that's easier to read one-handed whilst standing up on that commute.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:53 PM   #6
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Sure, when I finally get an e-reader, I will probalby also start going back and looking at the thousands of free public domain books, but that's not a motivator to GET an e-reader.
eGeezer
Welcome eG!

Actually, getting a ton of public domain classics for free is my motivator. I figure that the jetBook Lite will pay for itself with ten books.

In addition, my local library doesn't have eBooks yet, so I'm afraid your motivator is a non-starter for me!
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:57 PM   #7
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I think that this is a fair question. People who live near a library might well prefer to get their books there.

I got a reader when I noticed that we had about 12000 books. (We're academics, so actually need a lot of books.) Admittedly, a lot of them were stored in the attic. But I've now sent the public domain books to charity shops, a homeless people's shelter etc, and replaced them with electronic copies. This has freed up a lot of space.
We've had members who are downsizing, moving to boats, caravans, camper vans, or taking extended trips to South American rainforests. Electronic reading makes sense for them.

In addition, I would hesitate to take a huge tome to read on my daily commute. It would just be too heavy. But I can put all of Proust and Dickens on my reader without getting weighted down.

Also, some members with poor vision appreciate being able to choose a large font.

I, personally, don't want to be prescriptive. Electronic readers are useful for some people. Others may not need them. But I just want people to have a choice.

Oh: and welcome to the forum, eGeezer.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for the quick replies while I was out attending a movie and getting my library card. Although I don't totally agree, I like the analogy of the ugly kids on the playground.

I think, tho, the analogy is more like going to a playground and asking the parents WHY they have children. Of course, those of us who have raised kids have often wondered that, too, but the point is not to discourage those who have them, or tell them it was a stupid idea (or that their ugly kids should be kept in the house.) The point is that you have been thinking of having a child, and are looking for opinions.

Back in '84 I was asked by a little old lady acquaintance why I owed a PC. Instead of trying to explain, I merely asked why she tends her flower garden so lovingly and explained that the computer was my flower garden. Neither of us was interested in convincing the other their hobby was a bad idea. She just wanted to understand the attraction.

Perhaps my mentioning of the Public Library was confusing. I meant that my friend pointed out to me that there are many popular/contemporary eBooks available, as well as the p-books. That 2x4 (epiphany? Paradigm Shift?) is what opened my eyes that there ARE free sources of more than the dusty old volumes I hadn't even thought of since high school Lit classes 45 years ago.

As I said, I just couldn't get my head around paying more that even Amazon p-book prices for an eBook. I realize the first thing we pay for in a book is the content behind the type, not the media it comes on. But there is a reason p-backs cost less that h-backs. Therefore, when you remove the paper completely, why do they cost more than the same p-back which has been discounted and still provides a profit?

I have several p-books still waiting to be read, and I have a closet full of p-books I have read and will "someday" read again. Since most Library books are hardbound, they have never been attractive to me to read on the bus, camping, or traveling, so I haven't used a library since I left the Air Force in 1968.

I anticipate when I finally get my eBook Reader, I will end up donating the p-collection to my Library's next "Friends of the Library" event. (See the happy wife dancing?)

But I do appreciate all the responses -- without even a flickering candle amongst them -- that contained a lot of the info I was seeking. I hope this thread, even if it stops here, will help others understand that buying books from Sony and Amazon is not the only way to acquire popular/contemporary content.

Thanks again,
eGeezer

And while I was out and about, I realized that my "perfect" ebook reader will not require wireless, after all. Another "big duh" moment -- if I can download it to my computer, I should be able off load it to my ebook reader. I haven't confirmed it, but am presuming that news/mag/blog subscriptions are just as available via the USB connection.

Last edited by eGeezer; 10-20-2009 at 11:33 PM. Reason: acknowledge the confusion of using eReader. Hope I caught them all.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:48 PM   #9
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I haven't confirmed it, but am presuming that news/mag/blog subscriptions are just as available via the USB connection.
Yep. If you want an idea, download calibre and check out the variety under "Fetch news".
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:02 PM   #10
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From another "geezer", let me answer your question.

I can carry my entire ebook library with me wherever I go......I can read what I want, when I want, where I want.

I can download a book instantly from Amazon, while I"m out and about, or surf while at home and download to my computer.

Anytime I go back to a book, it opens automatically to where I left off.

Built in dictionary.......priceless

adjustable font......right now I'm at a "4" but may in the future need a larger font......ready at a push of a button

No more trekking to the library or worrying about "overdues"......download ebooks, and they 'close' at the end of the load period.. Realize, tho, that not all libraries carry the same varietys. Clevenet is awesome. Yours will depend on where you live.

Got any arthritis issues? Even if you don't, you'll find the reader way more comfortable to hold than a bulky book, and reading in bed is nice in any position.

If you haven't read any of the PD books lately, you are missing out. Realize, these authors KNEW how to write, and wrote books that endure to this day. Tried any Doyle, Wells, Tolstoy, Verne.......the list is endless.

You aren't limited to any one store. There are tons of sites, here, and others, that offer free, legal books. New self published authors are a treat to discover. Thats something you won't find in your local book store.

I have no problem with Amazon deleting books that were uploaded illegally. They must do that in order to avoid prosecution. They've always refunded the prices, and liberating them after buying them means nothing is lost.

Good luck.

Last edited by desertgrandma; 10-20-2009 at 11:03 PM. Reason: SP
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:47 PM   #11
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I don't shop at Sony. I can't buy ebooks at Amazon. I have only limited interest in public domain classics; those aren't why I got an ebook reader.

I like science fiction, & fantasy, some romance, and books on copyright law and current civil rights issues. My local libraries--which aren't small, nor far away--don't have enough to keep up with me. At least, not in my choice of styles, often enough that I don't run out of reading material. I don't want to have to wait in a line of unknown length to get a book I'd like to read.

I'm a voracious reader. When I've got uninterrupted time to focus, I read novels at about 100 pages/hour. With an hour and a half per weekday of reading time (including my transit time on the train, and twenty minutes or so at lunch), and a couple hours on the weekend, that's several books per week. If I got them from the library, I'd have to plan several trips--and choose which book I'd read next when I left for work, or carry several books with me.

I buy ebooks from Baen.com and Fictionwise; they sell non-DRM'd ebooks. (I won't pay for DRM.) I've bought a few from other ebook sites--Smashwords, Freya's Bower, allromanceebooks. Between those, and Mobileread's & Feedbooks' free books, and downloading fanfic & converting it to ebook formats, I will never run out of reading material. And I don't have to wait for someone else to get done before I can start.

Also, after reading on screens for a few years, I have limited tolerance for paper books. They're bulky. They don't stay open. They take two hands to operate, and I have to keep tilting them to get the light to the angle that works in the center. The text can't be made bigger for reading when I'm tired. I can't read them in the rain.

I'll grant that ebook readers are expensive, often-glitchy tech. They're new, and constantly changing. The format wars are an endless source of confusion. They're like limited computers with pathetic web ability. Not for everyone, these devices.

But for those who want to read a thousand pages a week, every week, they're incredibly useful. I can carry a week's worth of reading in my purse. I'm not stuck with throwing away a perfectly good book that nobody else wants to read. I can easily read on crowded trains. I can download new content to read, every day if I want.

I deal with paper books as reference works (gaming books) and art books, and that's about it; I can barely stand to read paperback novels anymore. I find myself wanting to cut the bindings off & scan them to convert to a useful format.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:13 AM   #12
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Another "big duh" moment -- if I can download it to my computer, I should be able off load it to my ebook reader. I haven't confirmed it, but am presuming that news/mag/blog subscriptions are just as available via the USB connection.
Yes, and not just books and mags and such. It's any text on the internet. Suppose you would like to read and ponder the US Constitution. It's easy to find that on the internet. Just cut and paste it onto a MS Word document, and then move that document onto your eBook reader.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:57 AM   #13
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Hya Geezer: Good to have your company, but your introduction is a little like that of someone who joins a dedicated forum for motoring enthusiasts to ask 'what's the point of cars?'.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:09 AM   #14
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Well there are some good points in Geezer message. One has to make introspection about its own usages.

I got no new reader for now (I plan to buy one once I find the model that will satisfy me). But I would not event think to buy one if :

- I was not mobile
- I was planning to pay for ebooks at their current price (just want to read free stuff)
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:13 AM   #15
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Agreed, Sebastien; I meant my post light-heartedly and by no means as criticism of Geezer's perfectly fine question.

I do think reading ebooks on a dedicated reader is very much a suck-it-and-see thing, though. This site has thousands of members, each of whom has discovered his/her reason why. Some, like me, saw his own reasons why long, long before the first ebook was produced, let alone the first ebook-dedicated reading device.

My reader is an old dream come true; but I'm not going to burden Geezer with stories of a life often lived on the hoof in foreign hotels bare of English books, my twenty-five years in an area of a country where English-language literature is near impossible to come by, my frequent months' long hospital stays where my main illness seemed to be book starvation. These reasons why would be unlikely to apply to Geezer's own circumstances. But I'm sure he would discover reasons of his own if he were to give a reader a fair crack o' the whip.

It's a pity that -- unlike, say, mobile phones in days of yore -- those who, like Geezer are interested enough to investigate the potential, can't hire a reader for a week or a month to see if it does answer some need/s they never realised they had. Geezer must work out the advantages in his own particular case ... or discover that he, personally, cannot benefit from a reader.

I loved Geezer's conversation with the old rose lady. Perfect sense, perfect understanding. I do wonder, though, how many things -- and how many hobbies -- we've come to find indispensable (computers, cars, TVs, jogging, credit cards for instance) once had us wondering -- what's the point? We must find out for ourselves if there is, indeed, a point.

Cheers. Neil
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