All I want(ed) for Christmas: an eBook reader

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For Christmas this year, the only thing I could think of that I really, really wanted was an eBook reader. I had my heart set on the Sony PRS-505, and I was lucky enough to find one of these shiny gadgets under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

There are a number of eBook readers on the market. You might have caught Oprah raving about the Amazon Kindle. There’s also another one called the iLiad. They all work basically the same way (except the Kindle has wi-fi and you can buy and download books from the Kindle store without a computer – but it’s not available in Australia). They’re all compatible with different formats of eBooks (which is a bit confusing, really), but in general, they all hold a number of books at once, are designed to feel like a book in your hands, and are totally portable.

I wanted an eBook reader for lots of reasons:

  • First of all, it’s my job to look after our eBook and eAudiobook collection, and I see so many great books available on our OverDrive site, but I don’t always want to read them on my computer. It’s not very comfortable to lie in bed and read on a laptop; I can’t read on a laptop on the lawn in the backyard cause the sun glare makes it hard to read the screen (not a problem with an eBook reader because of the special screen technology); and my laptop doesn’t feel like a book (but an eBook reader is designed to feel like a book).
  • I travel a fair bit, and I always have three or four books with me, which adds up to a fair bit of weight. I also hate trying to decide what I should take away with me. I always put books in my suitcase, take them out, put them back, take them out… With an eBook reader, I can have loads and loads of books in my handbag at any time.
  • One of my favourite things to do is to sit at my favourite coffee shop and read. I like to start out with a bit of serious reading (with some non-fiction) and then after a while I like to move on to a fiction book (usually with my second cup of coffee). I also like to throw a couple of books in my handbag when I go to the hairdresser or the doctor or even just out shopping. With my new eBook reader, I can carry one shiny, lightweight device and have a range of fiction and non-fiction books at my fingertips, wherever I am.
  • I buy a lot of books, and I borrow a lot of books from the library. Often, if I borrow a book and love it, I buy it for re-reading, and just to have it on my shelf for later. But book buying builds up clutter. I have boxes and boxes and boxes of books in my parents’ garage, and I really like the idea of not collecting more reams of paper. Books are lovely, but they are a big pain when you’re moving house! Now, my bookshelf will be a virtual shelf, just like my music library. Maybe I’ll just add a select few print books – the ones I love that I want to look at on my physical shelves.

I’m yet to read my first book on my shiny new eBook reader, but I have had a good play with someone else’s, and I’m sure I’m going to love it.

How do you feel about eBooks? Would you rather read on a screen, or on paper? Do you think the paperback book is dead, or at least dying? Or is the book as we know it here to stay? Share your thoughts!

As for me, I’m off to power up my new toy and give this eBook thing a whirl!

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