I read a lot. And as a result I usually have a book on me-- scratch that! I always have a book on me. You know why? Because I always have my phone, and on my phone is one of my Kindle apps. So, my books are always with me. If someone had told ten year old little Alexis (who was getting in trouble for reading instead of eating dinner and was physically attached to her set of encyclopedias) that when she grew up the world would literally be in the palm of her hand, I bet she would have weeped with joy.
Ok, I am crying. But seriously, the world we live in right now is kind of my dream come true. I can Google anything at any time and find an answer (instead of waiting for my mom to take me to the library or over to my grandparents who had a better encyclopedia set). I can read anything at any time, all it takes is a swipe of my finger to find and download the book.
It is soooo coool!!!!
And with the holidays right around the corner I thought I might take a moment to bring everyone up to speed on the reading options out there and what I think about each of them.
- The good, old-fashioned paperback. You simply can't beat the original. It is something tangible you can hold in your hands. You can get it signed when the author is in town (or you road trip to the nearest reader-con). BUT it can also kill you when the book is humongous and you fall asleep reading it in bed. It is hard to carry around and it's not easy to read in the dark.
- Kindle (original) - my personal all-time favorite way to read. Why? Simple. It looks exactly (and I do mean exactly) like a real paperback. Except it is a slim, magical device that downloads your favorite books from the air and stores hundreds of them inside its little case. To me, it is the closest thing to magic in real life. It doesn't hurt your eyes like an iPad or Kindle Fire because there is no light. It isn't backlit (you can read it outside without glare!). You will need a reading light for night reading just like a real paperback, because it is just like a real paperback. (In case you were wondering, I kind of love mine....) Plus, they really aren't all that expensive at $69 (or used for even cheaper). It is incredibly light-weight, easy to hold, and can store your entire reading library.
- Kindle Fire - we love ours. Not only can I read all of the same books from my original Kindle (all our devices share the same library) but I also get the power of the internet and fun apps. The kids and I share the Fire, it is a great in-between device. (Plus, the games and educational apps the kids love are usually a few dollars cheaper than the iPad). I often do proofreading on my Fire and it is incredibly easy to get copies of books from other sources (other than Amazon) such as Smashwords, or importing .pdf's. Basically, I can read just about anything on the Fire, which is pretty darn cool.
- Kindle App - you can put the Kindle app on anything. On your phone (droid, apple, windows, etc). Because all your devices sync to the cloud, you can put down your Kindle at home and pick up right where you left off while you are stuck at the doctors office by reading on your phone. When you get home, just sync your Kindle and it will take you to the last page you read on your phone. Easy peasy. You can also put the app on your iPad or other tablet devices.
- Nook - it is a great ereader device, but the future of Nook is uncertain. Authors have been having difficulties with the services for a while, but I'm increasingly hearing of readers also having difficulties with the Nook store. Since Nook hasn't made any statements about plans for the future, I'm not sure what to say about them. I'd like to say Nook had some great plans in the pipe that may be fantastic for both readers and writers... but at this exact moment I can't. My best guess and hope is that Nook will still be around for the foreseeable future, but it may be morphing away from the alimighty Amazon model and into something of its own.
- iPad's and tablets - Apple has its own store, the iBookstore. Like Amazon you can buy your books through it and read them on your iPad or iPhone, which is awesome! Another great thing about iPads are the ability to put the Nook or Kindle app onto your device, so with an iPad you have the ability to read any book through any platform. Nook and iTunes both sell books in the .epub format, so if you download a book from a distributor (such as Smashwords) you can still read the book on your iPad through either app. When authors send me their books to review I often ask for them as an .epub specifically for this purpose. The downside to reading on a tablet? The brightness. It can be tiring for you eyes to read 100,000 words on a backlit display. Also, you will always have glare from the sun when you are outside, making it darn near impossible to read at the park or ball field. (This is where my love of the original Kindle comes back--no glare!)
This holiday shopping season you can't go wrong with a book or ereader device. Picking which one is right for you and your family simply depends on your lifestyle and what you need out of the reading experience!