- Free books. I don’t consider PDF downloads “real” books, but I love the free ones (especially on writing) offered on amazon.com. It’s a great way to connect with other authors and learn something about the craft. (I highly recommend “How to Write Poetry, by Cynthia Sharp; it’s not free, but it was well worth the $2.99). I already have a free e-book idea of my own I am developing (writing prompts with examples), as a way to gain followers, and perhaps even contacts.
- Samples: I can sit anywhere (like in bed) and read a sample of the book before I buy.
- Instant gratification: I don’t have to wait for a book in the mail.
- It’s minimalist. I hate clutter (I can count on both hands the number of DVDs I own, and there is a cap on how many of anything I allow myself to own); nothing looks junkier than a bunch of dog-eared paperbacks. Plus, the electronic device is also much more sanitary than a used book that someone may have read while on the can. (Hey, going to the bathroom is boring.)
- I can send documents. http://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/email. This is my favorite feature, because I’ve been wanting to print up a booklet of all the kids’ songs I sing to my daughter (as I haven’t learned all the verses to them yet–even the lyrics I wrote myself), but now I can just send a Microsoft Word document with all the songs as an attachment to my Kindle e-mail. I can also read my own work, thus saving ink (but I can’t edit it).
There are a few drawbacks to an e-reader, like not being able to give away a book you will never read again. (I don’t pay $3.99 for a book to just delete it.) A few of the authors I read, like Lisa Jackson and Sandra Brown (mainstream fiction authors, whose focus is on plot, unlike literary fiction, where the focus is on characterization), I won’t read again. I know the plot, and the characters aren’t compelling enough to revisit. (I like to compare mainstream novels to milk chocolate, and literary novels to dark.)
Furthermore, I was under the impression that Kindle books were cheaper, but they are not, considering I rarely ever buy a new book. I generally by “Like New” books in hardcover, or, unless they are by one of the authors I mentioned, I buy a cheap paperback.
Also, there is nothing like browsing the bookstore for an hour. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon (usually with a coffee). I say, I will never buy an illustrated children’s book on any kind of electronic device. My daughter likes turning the pages, and I like the aesthetics of a shelfie.
So, I am what I call a hybrid reader–beloved books will still have a place on my shelf, but pure escapism can be relegated to my Kindle.