Instagram Email me!
I wrote a book! If you've ever wanted to learn a bit more about creating recipes, this series is designed for you. The first book focuses on cookies, because who doesn't love cookies?
Available now on Kindle.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Digital Books, Sharing & Signing



So. I have a Kindle. I've officially joined the age of electronic books, and for a variety of reasons, I like it.

I really do think digital books are going to win, in the end. They're much more convenient, you can carry a lifetime's reading material in your pocket, and you can add a new book to your collection with a couple of clicks.

But it's got me thinking about a number of things. When paper books are relegated to an antiquarian curiosity (you may think that's never going to happen - but it won't seem such an alien concept to our children) there are several things that will stop making sense.

Physical bookshops are already losing the race against the online stores... but what about libraries? I love libraries, and more than that, I think they're a vital resource for increasing literacy across the population. Not everyone can afford to buy all the books they want to read - certainly, as a child, I couldn't have afforded to support my voracious habits from my pocket money. Out-of-copyright books are available for free, but what about the modern classics? Someone needs to work this one out. Our library already buys subscriptions to a variety of online journals and other resources, which library card holders can log in and use. I think there needs to be some way of extending this to cover electronic books. If I allow my mind to wander I can imagine the Amazon Library - no risk of going overdue, because when your borrowed licence expires, the book can simply disappear back into the ether from which it came.

And what of second hand books - picked up for pennies in charity shops, and loaned out to friends. I have a pile of books on my bedside table that I've borrowed from friends... but how can they lend me their ebooks?

Borrowed books, and my Kindle


If I've bought a book on my Kindle, I don't even know how to lend it to my husband without giving him the device. Lending and reselling books, while it doesn't make money for the author, is surely a great form of word-of-mouth advertising. But I'm not sure how it will work in the electronic age.

Book signings will also require some ingenuity. If I turn up to a signing with my Kindle, do you think an author would happily inscribe the case? Would I even want them to...? Yet an electronic signature just won't have the same sentimental value (and can be easily forged).

What do you think? What will the reader's world look like in ten - or fifty - years?

21 comments:

Red-haired hiker said...

I've been wondering the same thing. I'm in heaven in the academic library here at uni, even though some course material is available in electronic format (which drove my decision to buy a Kindle, ironically). But, there's a series of books a friend and I have been reading - one of us buys the next in the series, reads it, loans it etc. I've just bought the latest for the Kindle...and can't pass it on.

Stephanie V said...

One of our local libraries has led the way in making e-books available (to some) by lending out the devices. Others are working out ways to do the same. I'm not convinced that just being able to borrow one is good enough. But, as with all technology, it gets cheaper and more accessible with each e-generation.
Glad you like it...it's not on my radar - yet.

HalfCrazy said...

Congrats on the Kindle. Man, I love books like I love pizza but I want em the traditional way, not the e-way, although I am a very big fan of everything technologically awesome.

Having ebooks can save a lot of time, money and paper but piracy is gonna be rampant. It's so easy to pluck a new book from the internet nowadays.

I really wish the traditional way of making books would still be as is ten years from now.

For some reason, I can't finish an ebook. I have finished two or three but I enjoy turning the page more than just clicking or touching something to get to the next page.

lostinsophistication said...

I'm one of these stubborn, old-fashioned people who hate for things to change. I just can't seem to embrace the new as affectionately and openly as you seem to do. :)

I don't think I'd ever have much use for a Kindle. They're neat devices, no doubt, I ogle them when in someone else's possession. But for myself, I don't want one.

To me, all the devices of this new, computerised era are helpful indeed, but I find that they lack the charm of their traditional counterparts. What is an e-mail to a letter, what is a laptop to a notebook, and what is a Kindle to a book?

I always read with a pen in my hand, so I can make notes where necessary, and add small post-its where I find something worth returning to. I just can't see myself doing the same with a Kindle. It's not the same thing. :)

By coincidence, right before I read your blog post, I read this article:
http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2010/10/05/from-e-books-to-no-books/
, and though I realise it's convenience, I just can't fathom how a digital library can smell as invitingly as an analogue one. ;)

Still, there is a part of me that does want a Kindle. I don't know if you know Star Trek well enough to appreciate the Kindle's similarity to a PADD, but I'll tell you, when seen from the eyes of a Star Trek-fan, the Kindle is the future. (Just not for me.)

blueviolet said...

I think the Kindle would be wonderful for travel and such, but give me a good old-fashioned book every other time!

mub said...

I know with the nook (the Barnes & Noble device) you can "lend" books to other nook users.

I check out e-books from the library via their online system and you don't need a reader to read them, though I find it easier to use an e-reader than to try to read an entire novel on the computer.

The Blonde Duck said...

I think true readers will always have books. But for those who don't read often or travel a lot, Kindle will rule.

Fly Girl said...

This is a debate that's raging not just about books but about recordings and magazines and newspapers too. I just had somebody ask me how it was to teach a dying profession like journalism. Well, I don't believe journalism or books are dying or will not exist in 20 years, they just won't be as significant. E books are more green and efficient but I will never give up the sensual pleasure of books. I like to examine cover art, read the jacket copy, smell the pages, underline passages. It's a very tactile experience for me and part of the enjoyment of reading. I feel the same way about CDs and albums, I don't have an I-pod and am not interested because I can't get the experience of actually looking at album covers, reading liner notes and hearing track lists.

Chef E said...

Hubby reads books on his IPad now, he decided to go with that instead of the Kindle, but his mom really enjoys it, so I know you will. Get me to read as much as you and I would not know what to do with all that brain knowledge :) I know hubby gets on me, I used to read so much more!

carma said...

I think it's all a bit depressing. Kids will soon never know the joy of cracking open a brand new book...I am Kindle-less - for now...

Bells said...

someone told me the other day you can share books between kindles signed up on a shared account, but that's not really what you meant, I think.

Louiz said...

Very good points. My local library is under threat of closure, which will effectively mean that we no longer use the library services (the next closest library is too far to just pop into). I don't know with a kindle you can save the document to your computer at all? What I've been doing with my blackberry is downloading the documents to my computer, in pdf format. Then using mobipocket (my ebook reader)I copy it to my ebook area, and save it as a mobi document. Then transfer it to my phone. Complicated? Yes. But I can read the documents on my computer, on my phone, send it to someone else, etc.

Plus if there are no more second hand books I will be very sad. Most of my books are second hand and my love of reading grew through them.

The Good Cook said...

Love my kindle. And you can share kindle books. Just download to your computer. You can then either email (in pdf) or download to another kindle or read on the computer. Book signing... never thought of that!

Mammatalk said...

I've wondered the same thing. I love bookshops and libraries and paper, so I am hoping this is all a fad.

I know. I know. Time to take my head out of the sand!

LindyLouMac said...

Your post makes me sad that you think like this Rachel. I hope that each generation of booklovers will passs on their love of books to the next generation therefore they will never disappear. I can but hope :(

I have a Sony EReader but it will never ever replace my beloved books.

http://lindyloumacbookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/10/girls-by-lori-lansens.html

liliannattel said...

I'd like to think this is not an either/or but and/and. Ereaders and Ebooks are a novelty now and certainly have a useful purpose. But that doesn't have to mean paper books are extinct. Wait and see. People said the same about radio when tv came and the same about movies when tv began and so on.

Alice Braga a.k.a. Alice Marie said...

Such great questions/musings, Rachel. LOL about having your Kindle signed by authors. I suppose the same can be said of vinyl/CDs/mp3's.

blogitse said...

I have kindle for pc - not even opened yet :) But several books I've bought - all of them I've opened and read a little...

(I noticed your comment on Melissa B.'s blog and wanted to see how you're doing - good I see!)
Have a great week ahead!

ps. oh boy...why you've limited your comment options? Would be easier to leave a comment if you had "Anyone" option...

Kirsty said...

our local library already lends out ebooks - you just download them from the library website and after three weeks, they vanish from your ereader.

two things make me reluctant to get a kindle (the beauty and collectibleness of books is moot, as i'd never give up all my books) - one is the charity shop thing (and also cheap books in general, such as ones you buy at the supermarket or on get 3 for 2 etc) because ebooks are sooo expensive. the other is that i can read a book one handed - how do you turn the page with an ereader without using a finger on the other hand?

cornflakegirl74 said...

I don't know but it does make me sad. I haven't climbed on board the Kindle train just yet, though I know it has many benefits... but I've been considering it lately. Primarily for the really hefty books that I hate to schlepp with me and therefore never have the chance to read. I think I'm in a minority now but I just love the feel and smell of an old book. I love spending hours in book shops, perusing the shelves for a new title by an author whose work I love. It makes me sad that that will one day become a thing of the past and that libraries will no longer attract the attention we paid them when we were younger.

Glenny said...

although it's already been said, i don't think (or want!) books will ever die out. They are just too practical :) Or do you think they will start doing 2-hand books for the Kindle? lol

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping in! I'd love to hear what you have to say, and if you leave a URL, I'll be round to visit you soon. (Comment moderation is on because the spam has become overwhelming!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...