Name Your Fave: E-Read or Hard Copy?

Hi friends,

I’m still so psyched about the NY Giants’ incredible run toward the NFC Championship. Working on a related post for later this week or next!

We were supposed to be talking about discipline vs. control with kids this week, but that dinky little post morphed into two and is now a five-part series. I’ll most likely start running it next week, once I feel each piece is ready to go to (Word)press. 😉

In the meantime, I’ve had a little over a year to consider myself an official user of an e-reader and thought I’d share my thoughts on some of the pros and cons.

As I’m sure you know, this awesome little device–in its many forms–is here to stay. Chances are, many of you recently acquired one right around that last week of December. That’s when my Nook Color sneaked its way into my happy little hands—last year, among hubby’s gifts. (Check out this year’s favorite here, then come right back now, y’hear?)

 bn.com

Yay! You didn’t get sidetracked! Back to e-readers, tablets or whatever device on which you choose to read. And yes, for our purposes, Kindle and Nook apps count. Like others before me, I want to lay out what I find advantageous about reading digital versus holding that print book in my hand. I’ve found disadvantages to the former, and I’ll cover those as well.)

We’ll begin with print books, probably simpler and more straightforward on both the negative and positive sides. The biggest advantage as far as I’m concerned, I can read my story from beginning to end without distractions (to be discussed below). I can mark up my copy any way I want, and use the notes for future reference. (Recently, I bought very colorful post-it notes and used those to mark pages/passages in a suspense to help me construct my own. My plan is to lay out the post-its in a notebook or on posterboard and substitute story ideas of my own. I figure then I can move these around as needed to get a first draft ‘outline’ together.)

Biggest disadvantage to print book: the ones I love are taking up too much space in my house (and gathering dust, unfortunately). At least others have made their way into a donation box.

E-readers/tablets:

Biggest disadvantage (for those of us who are DBD, or Distracted by Dust): distractions!!!! Other books, the internet, email, social media, blogs, shopping for more e-books, games, crossword puzzles, etc. (I believe this is significantly less with Amazon’s original Kindle and Sony’s dedicated device.)

Advantages: Love being able to look up information as I read—these can be word definitions or articles related to background information relative to the plot or time during which the story takes place (i.e., currently reading a romance set against medieval times; words for garments, weapons, tools, etc are unfamiliar. If the built-in dictionary isn’t helpful, Google is one touch away, assuming wi-fi is on).

I can highlight great prose or take notes on the story, note typos to inform the author, etc; these are auto-organized by page and ready to be viewed with another touch.

Virtual storage rocks! Eight gigabytes of space are on the Nook Color; this can expand to up to 32 GB via a memory card. I can also store the files on my computer and Barnes and Noble houses all my purchases in their virtual library. I can’t ever lose any book I bought via their website. (No dust bunnies anywhere, either!)

Viewing my work on a screen other than the laptop’s and not being able to mess with it while reading for flow. I save the file as PDF—just scrolls better for some reason—and just read. (I did, however, take extensive handwritten notes on a last re-read of a current manuscript, then went back into the Word-file and made those changes one at a time. Found a whole ‘nother level of the story that way. Now, the most recent version is in PDF and cooling a little before I upload it to my reading device.

I can share my work with others without having to print two hundred pages or so. Saves me $$ and spares the environment the extra paper, ink cartridges, etc that otherwise might have wound up in landfills. (Even recycling has its disadvantages in the energy needed for the chemical processes involved. I also learned the hard way that refilling ink cartridges at my local drugstore was a recipe for destroying my printer in the long run—which turned out to be less than a year.)

The cost of e-books is often significantly less than the cost of a print book (though not always the case).

E-books have created apparently infinite opportunities for writers and authors to indie- and/or self-publish works that might have otherwise virtually rotted on their hard drives.

So where does your favor lie? On the print pages or with virtual ink?

Have a great day and ttys,

Joanna

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2 thoughts on “Name Your Fave: E-Read or Hard Copy?

  1. That’s a really tough question! I feel like the jury is still out. Millions of people have ereading devices and the numbers are supposedly rising, but I’m not sure the glut of digital reading materials is helping anyone use their devices. I have a reader, a tablet, and the hard copy…just in case, and I appreciate them all for different reasons and situations. Nice post, btw.

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    1. Not sure what you mean about the glut of digital material helping people use their devices. Care to elaborate?

      I deal in laptop, e-reader and hard copy. As you stated, each has its pros and cons, and I wind up going to whichever happens to be closest at the moment, lol. I do, however, really like all the different things I can do on my e-reader. Gives me the most choice in the smallest place–hence, the best for portability!

      Thanks for your feedback, Joy.

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