Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Electronic Books and Reading Devices

I am a little swamped right now and don't have time to write a complete post about what I, as an independent bookstore owner, feel about the rise of electronic books so I am going to copy parts of a post I read this morning by a fellow bookshop owner whom I respect and have become online friends with during our first two years of business.

Aaron's Books, is the true independent bookshop, in all the ways one thinks about when imagining a community bookstore, located in Lititz, PA. Sam, Todd, and son Aaron are all about sustainability, supporting the local community, and of course, encouraging people of all ages to read. Here are some thoughts they shared on the bookstore blog about electronic readers. With Christmas just around the corner I thought it might be helpful for those of you thinking about buying an e-reader for someone you love.

It may come as a shock but we are not “against” E-Reading devices. The staff here personally prefers good old paper books, but we fully understand in today’s fast moving and digital age that e-books are preferred by others. And honestly, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, it can easily by both!

Another shock, you can have an e-reader and still buy both paper and digital books from your local indie!

Today Google and the American Booksellers association launched Google-Ebooks. There are currently more than 100 indie bookstores participating in this endeavor, which just started today! While we are not, there are several in PA that are, and we recommend you download from one of them, as their tax dollars go towards the same state budget ours do (note: when shopping at Amazon ZERO dollars gets recirculated into PA!)
Here is more about this great announcement!

Paragraphs is also not participating in the Google ebooks program at this time, however there are several American Bookseller's Association member stores in Texas that do and I would encourage you to shop from them for the same reason. When you download from a Texas independent bookstore, your sales tax dollars stay in Texas, the same as when you shop at Paragraphs.

Participating Texas Bookstores include:

Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX

BookPeople in Austin, TX

Katy Budget Books in Austin, TX

A complete listing of stores is located at Indiebound.org.

So on with the post from Aaron's Books:

That all being said, if you’re thinking about gifting someone on your list an e-reader this holiday season here are some thoughts.

1) There are many machines that do more than e-read, ANY device with internet access can give the user the ability to shop locally while downloading e-books.

2) Lots of dedicated e-readers (meaning all they do is e-books/magazines) offer the ability to order books from multiple sources, EXCEPT the Kindle.

3) If you do buy your giftee a Kindle, know that they are no longer able to shop locally when buying an e-book. The Kindle is programmed as a device that WILL only download from Amazon (aka Evil River Empire). The Kindle, as a “locked” device does not allow for reading the book on more than one device.

(With the new Google e-books, your book is stored on the Google “cloud” allowing for multiple device reading).

There are also security issue with the Kindle - Amazon has the ability to track everything you read, highlight, and make notes on; and has the ability to remove any book from your device at any time they feel the need to.

So as you’re thinking about gifting an e-reader, please keep these things in mind.

Want us to help you pick out good e-books to download from an indie? We’re happy to help you, and can even get you started right here in the store!

Happy Reading (E- or Paper!)

I hope this will give you some information about the possibilities out there relating to buying an ereader. One thing not mentioned is the ability to download books from your library. Using a Kindle, this is not possible. My mother is a member of the Denver Public Library, as was I until moving to TX, and it is possible to download most new titles in ebook format and also as audio books. You cannot take advantage of library services with a Kindle.

As the technology becomes more mainstream I would consider selecting a device which gives you the most flexibility to take advantage of obtaining content from the greatest variety of sources.

And, like Aaron's Books, we at Paragraphs are here to help you pick out books that you will enjoy, no matter how you select to "read" them.

No comments: