Why I Still Don’t Have an E-Reader

6 September 2010 in Future of Publishing

A confession:  despite the fact that I think of myself as an ‘early adopter’, a ‘digital native’, and even - god forbid - a bit of a webby geek, I do not have an e-reader nor do I use my fancy smartphone as an ereader.  The reasons for this are as follows:

1.  Ereaders are all so ugly, apart from the fancy expensive one.  I have enough white and grey plastic in my life already thank you.  And the fancy expensive one is way too fancy and expensive. 
2.  Why should I buy a piece of hardware that restricts where I can purchase content?  I do not want to buy all my books from that online bookseller.  I do not want to have to have a whole pile of different ereader apps on my fancy smartphone according to where I buy my content. 
3.  Why should I buy a thing that restricts what I can do with the books I buy, that won’t allow me to lend books to friends?  That’s just stupid. 
4.  Ereaders cost too much, even the cheaper ones cost too much, and I’m paranoid that an EVEN BETTER ONE will suddenly appear, and I’m tired of buying things that become obselete within months - days - of purchase.
5.  All the companies involved, especially the fruit one, and the one-breasted warrior woman one, are way too annoying with their attempts to rule the world. 
6.  I want to pay for content, i.e. STUFF TO READ, not the platform to read it on.  I know, I know, a book is a platform too, and, given that most writers get less than 10% per book sold, you could argue that I’m already paying more than 90% of a book’s price to get the gadget (in this case a book) that delivers the content (the words the writer wrote), and that, in the case of a book, it’s insanity to buy the same gadget over and over again, when you could buy just one gadget and get each new set of content delivered straight to that instead.  I’d be happy to do that, apart from numbers 1-5 above. 

The truth is I really do want an ereader.  I love the idea of a device for reading, a device that holds all my books in one slim well-designed piece of kit, a device that allows me to annotate and search and read, read, read.  But the device I want, that allows me to buy books from wherever I want, whenever I want, to share them with whoever I want, to read how/when/and why I want (whether that’s alone in a corner or social media’d up the hoo-hah), in whatever format I want (which, ahem, includes Flash) DOES NOT EXIST.

That’s my Monday beginning of September rant for the year.


kathy, 7 September 2010, 12:32 AM

You’ve nailed it, Kate. Plus they (especially the fruitpad)  are too dense/heavy and at that price you can’t drop them in the bath…  Wait just a little bit longer.

Kate, 7 September 2010, 06:51 AM

Thanks Kathy!  I do feel I need to get one sooner rather than later… but the right one hasn’t arrived yet.  Kate

Kate, 7 September 2010, 06:55 AM

nextread.com has posted a thoughtful response to this at http://nextread.co.uk/2010/09/06/follow-the-thread-why-kate-pullinger-still-doesnt-have-an-e-reader-and-i-try-to-change-her-mind/

Kate, 21 September 2010, 03:18 PM

One further comment - caveat - to this post.  Today I was in Daunt Books, an small chain of independent bookshops in London, looking to buy a copy of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.  The book was there, on the shelf, and I was ready to pay full price for it - £20.  However, when I picked it up and took a look at it I saw that the book is printed on the cheapest and thinnest possible paper - text on one side of the page visible on the other side of the page. Hideous, and hugely disappointing.  And as I stood there, holding this book in my hand, I did think - hmm, that wouldn’t happen with an ebook.

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