This month we were asked about our favorite summer read. That's tough one.
Of course my first answer is "The Hansen Series" by… ME! Six books out so far with three more coming before Christmas - it's a great time to meet these big, blond, buff and beautiful heroes with eyes the color of seawater and the blood of their Viking ancestors flowing through their veins. Can you feel it?
But, before any of us hit the beach, or the bedroom, to slip under the water (or the covers) of a transporting story, we need to decide what device we are going to read that book on.
For many readers, the traditional method still serves best. A paper book can be read in bright sunlight and is unperturbed by sand. Even water - in small amounts - won’t bring your experience to a halt.
But, what if you read fast? And at ten o'clock one evening you reach the end of "A Woman of Choice"? How will you see Sydney's reaction to Nicolas's closing revelation? If you're reading a paper book, you'll hope you already bought the next installment. If you didn't, you'll have to wait days to find out.
If you were reading on an e-reader, you could purchase the next book in a matter of moments (for a fraction of the paper book price) and keep going without missing a beat. And that brings us to which e-reader should you get?
The industry leader is Kindle by Amazon. You have your choice:
1. A basic non-backlit version (which looks like an Etch-A-Sketch with it's pearl gray background and dark charcoal text) that can be read in full sunlight.
2. The more expensive Kindle Fire, a backlit screen with full color and some of the abilities of a tablet, such as Android's Galaxy or Apple's iPad. Backlit screens can NOT be seen in sunlight.
Not a fan of Amazon? Microsoft recently invested $300 million dollars in Kindle's rival, Barnes & Noble's Nook. Nook also has a basic black-and-gray version, plus a backlit color version (which also mimics a tablet). This is great news for readers because competition drives any successful market!
Some people want to read on their iPads. That's fine, but they should remember that backlit screens cannot be seen in sunlight. In addition, the light emitted by the iPad can mess up sleep rhythms when used to read at bedtime.
Smart phones are a surprising device for reading. I am a self-confessed Kindle-holic, but when I find myself waiting anywhere - doctor's office, for a friend to join me at coffee, for a movie to begin - I pull out my smart phone, open my Kindle app, and pick up where I left off reading the night before. Yes, the devices sync with each other. Ain't it a great world?
With April's Department of Justice's lawsuit against five major publishers for agreeing to price-fix their eBooks, pricing of eBooks should return to a more reasonable level. What the vast majority of fiction readers do now is churn through the lower-priced eBooks, and buy print copies when they love an author and want a sort of souvenir of their reading experience.
Ebooks are not the future of publishing, they became the "now" a year ago. And with two good reasons: price and availability.
Now all you need to decide is, which device(s) will work best for you?