Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Ebooks?

Sheila over at Book Journey is asking, "E-reader, yay or nay?" She used to be disgusted by the concept but has recently been won over. She hated the thought of giving up the visceral experience of holding and collecting the physical books but the ability to carry a library worth of books with her on trips away from home has won her over. She is now asking for the thoughts of her readers on the use of them. How they fit into their lifestyle and so forth.

Well I don't have one but I've never been against them and in fact kinda drooled over the first Kindle. I never saw the question as either/or. I didn't see eReaders as a replacement for physical books with bound pages but rather as an augment to the reading lifestyle. I still remember when a similar debate was held over the typewriter vs the word processor.

In a perfect world, or at least as ideal as I can so far imagine, I wouldn't want my netbook and ereader to be two devices. But for the netbook to be as portable as the Kindle or Nook, it would have to be smaller by a third and the battery would have to be 3x or even 4x longer lasting. Since we're talking ideal world, the power source should be as portable as the device--say solar panel?

But that would be the ideal. I can't currently afford an eReader but I've been using my netbook and my laptop before that as an eReader for years. There are millions of pages of fiction in the public domain that can be read online, saved as PDF, copy/pasted to a word processor or saved as HTML pages. I started collecting them the year our libraries lost funding and closed for six months. Now, Kindle has free software for the PC that, once installed, allows Windows to display Kindle books which you can order online. I understand one or more of the other readers do as well. The down side is that there is no whispernet. I see that as minor at the moment although I can imagine once having gotten used to it being annoyed at not having it.

The upside of eReading for me is the ability to control font size. because of my visual impairment regular sized print is now quite difficult for me to read for more than a few minutes which is very frustrating for reading fiction as I never get the chance to loose myself in the story.

Something that would be ideal for me then would be the ability to scan a page with a wand and see it appear on the screen and then be allowed to zoom and scroll. There ought to be a way to do that while still protecting intellectual property analogous to the way we can stream movies without being allowed to store them.

The video above features the new dual touch screen device by Toshiba, one of several on the market now. What I like about the Libretto from what I see in this vid and on a few reviews, is the compact size. It is about halfway between a Blackberry and my netbook though twice as thick as my netbook. I'm only making estimates by eye as I haven't seen the numbers.

One of the things that excites me about this is the potential to hold it in the familiar way of holding a book with each screen having successive pages that can be turned with a touch.

From some of the reviews and the comments on them, I understand there are a number of glitches and bugs to be worked out with this as well as Acer's laptop version. So I wouldn't be in a super rush to buy one. But the concept is a winner in my view as I already love having a single device with so many functions small enough for a medium sized ladies handbag. So I will be watching for them to perfect it.

What my netbook already is for me:

word processor--letters, journaling, essays, poetry....and of course, fiction
game device
photo manager
graphics design
web design
spread sheet
data base
task manager
contact info
social networking
web browsing
web business (in the works)
video watching: DVD, streaming, YouTube, podcast, news, etc
audio books
video phone (if I invest in a microphone and put the software on as the web cam is already there)

hmm seems like I'm leaving something out. But you get the picture.

1 tell me a story:

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