Ebooks

There is a constant debate over whether Ebooks are “real books.” It gets pretty heated sometimes.

I’m not sure there’s many bibliophiles who would disagree with me that the best smell in the world is that of old, musty book. There’s nothing else like it. And it’s true, electronic words just cannot compare with ink on a yellowed, tattered page. Kindles, even with customized covers, cannot match the excitement of a bookshelf full of multi-colored books of every size, texture, age, author, title, organized perfectly and collected obsessively.

I am so proud of my bookshelves. You know this. I will never stop collecting REAL PAPER BOOKS. And in a fire…there would probably be a few I would have to grab.

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But. All that said. I also have a Kindle. And a tablet. And I regularly use Overdrive through my library on my computer and my phone.

Why? Why do I continue to read electronically, when there are so many REAL books available to me?

Ebooks are a convenience. Every reason really comes back to that one point. I would love to buy every book, I really would. But, books are expensive. Thankfully, Overdrive has made it so easy for libraries to provide ebooks to us. I can download them to my kindle or tablet in seconds, and off I go. And I love Kindle Unlimited too! It got a lot of hate when it first came out, but I’ve really enjoyed it. And, I talked to an author the other day, who told me that after a reader gets 10% through a book, he gets paid as if they bought the book. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

The other great thing about Amazon…so many classics are free. I probably have 150 books from my Boxall list already downloaded on my Kindle, just waiting to be read. They are the hard ones, the books I will have to highlight and look up definitions–and guess what–I can do that just by holding down a finger. I can’t do that with a real book. And you KNOW I hate highlighting real books. Ugh. Some books I just prefer to read interactively!

Often times, I’ll use Ebooks as an “audition.” Once I read it electronically, I just HAVE to own a copy. Most of the books I own, I’ve already read. I do have a TBR Shelf, but it’s relatively small in comparison to the TBR folder on my Kindle. Which is another convenience of ebooks–storage. I can always have a book ready. When we went on vacation, I took my tablet, rather than 5 different REAL books. It was just easier.

Finally, having a Kindle and tablet makes it possible for me to participate in NetGalley and Penguin First to Read programs. I never thought I would be able to read books before they got published, and it’s so cool that publishers give us this opportunity! They’ve really taken advantage of the book blogger community to get feedback on their premarket books…and we all love it! GIMMIE THAT ARC! How cool is it that we are the first people to read the up-and-comings? I love it and certainly do not take the privilege lightly.

When you read as much as I do, you’ll take words in any format they come. Ink on a page, or eink on a tablet. Just please give me more more more. And if you haven’t picked up a Kindle or Tablet only because “well, people say that’s not real reading.” Trust me, it’ll make your reading experience even better. I’m reading even more than I did before I ordered my Kindle. And, probably reading better, because it’s so interactive.

(At this point, I should probaby say, this is not an ad for Kindle, and I haven’t been paid. I just really love my Paperwhite. This applies to any tablet or ereader.)

Where do you stand on the real book/ebook fence? Do you use both?

Hardback or Paperback?

Hardback or Paperback? There’s really only one answer I can give to that:

(Source:  wifflegif.com)

I mean look at my shelf:

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We have a mix of everything. Hardback, Paperback, Mass Market. We really don’t discriminate.

Now, lately, we’ve been buying a lot more hardbacks. We’re trying to build up a collection of leatherbound classics, so that’s what we’re looking for when we go to used bookstores. And, I just got a bunch of the BN leatherbounds for Easter.

But, when I do buy hardbacks…they are usually books I’ve already read. I buy lesser expensive paperbacks of things I want to read (and can’t get from my library, or if I see them on sale at a used bookstore), because then I’m not out of pocket so much dough. And if they get damaged, it doesn’t break my heart.

Also, mass market collections are sooooo much easier to buy than the hardback ones. Which is why when I bought Game of Thrones…it was MMP.

Also, don’t forget ebooks. I don’t BUY a lot of ebooks, but I borrow constantly, from my library’s online collection through Overdrive, and now from Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. I use them both interchangeably–usually if the library doesn’t have something, KU will, and visa versa.

Do you have a preference? Or are you like me….EVERYTHING! MORE BOOKS PLEASE!

The Son (and Kindle Unlimited)

I may have had a pretty epic freakout yesterday. I’ve been saying for YEARS that someone needed to invent Netflix for books. And libraries have come really really close. I absolutely love the Overdrive app, especially since I can use it on my Kindle. BUT…the selection isn’t always great, and I often have to wait weeks for books while they sit on hold.

And then yesterday…Amazon announced Kindle Unlimited.

If you haven’t seen the articles and announcement pages on this, you need to go check it out. And no, I am not getting paid or anything by Amazon, I just am really excited about this idea. They are running a 30 day free trial, and I am allllll about that.

The basic premise is that you have access to borrow 600,000 ebook titles from Amazon, on any Kindle (or Kindle app!), plus Audible audiobooks. Not every publisher is on board with this, but 600,000 titles is a LOT, people. From what I’ve flipped through, I’m pretty stoked.

There’s no return limitation, and from what I can tell, no holding. I’m excited about it, and I’ve signed up for the free trial. It’s just in time too, since I have to pack up the rest of my books today, and I have vacation coming up. My Paperwhite is going to buuuuusy.

Also–before anyone asks–I will still use my library. There are books that I’m not going to be able to get online from Amazon. It’s not a perfect system. And, ebooks will never, ever replace a real book for me. For me, ebooks are auditions, usually. I often read them in ebook format first, before I commit to a purchase.

And now on to our regularly scheduled review:

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I have been wanting to read the last book in Lois Lowry’s quartet for awhile now, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on it. The two libraries I’m a member of here didn’t have it online, and I haven’t had time to run in and grab it. So, of course, The Son was the very first book I pulled from KU.

Lois Lowry wraps up her series with Gabe’s mother Claire. She was an almost invisible character in the first book, and here we get her entire story. We also see Gabe as a young man, and a hero.

My favorite thing about Lowry’s quartet is that almost every character has a specific part to play, and even someone minor may come back later. The details matter. She didn’t just sit down and write the first book, and then the rest of the series as an after thought. She had to of had a complete mapped out plot and plan ahead of time. I would love to see her outline. “This is where this person connects and how I’m going to wrap up this community.” Some places are modern and some are almost medieval and peasant-like.  I would love to see a map of this place. Where is Tolkien when we need him?

Jokes aside, I see her as a YA version of Tolkien. Her stories are more simplistic maybe, in the way they are written, the language is not so intricate. But that doesn’t make them any less beautiful or deep. I’ve talked to a lot of people lately, who liked The Giver, but stopped after struggling with Gathering Blue. Keep reading. Finish the series. Everything connects in the end, but that second book is a little frustrating to get through. It’s sad and it doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with Jonas and Gabe. It has everything to do with them. Trust me.

Favorite Library

Guys, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I read REALLY fast. Which means, I go through a LOT of books. And, while I would LOVE to buy everything I read…I am not Bill Gates. So, I have limited space, and a limited budget. *sigh*

I used to make weekly, sometimes biweekly trips to the library. And Indy has a great library system. Trust me–I’m used to small town libraries with a limited (although usually wonderful) collection. When I moved to the city, I couldn’t believe how many books I had access to. Suddenly, not only did I have one branch, I had several! I just had to request a book online, then my lovely librarians would pull it into my local branch from whatever location it was housed at. Awesome! Sure it took a little bit of wait time, but that’s ok. I didn’t mind that, because I have such an extensive list that I always knew ahead of time what I was going to read next.

I don’t remember where I found Overdrive. Maybe I saw an ad, or something on Twitter. But I know something caught my eye one day. “Wait…a library app? That exists?” So I downloaded it. And it has changed my entire reading world. Because now, I no longer have to drive to the library every week. I have access to all of the ebooks and audiobooks that the Indy libraries have in their files. And, now that I’m living in a neighboring county…I have access to THOSE files too. And if we move…guess what! I can have access to any of those libraries too. As long as I have a library card to a library who uses Overdrive for their ebooks–I can use the app to read.

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What I love most about this app is that it is compatible with all of my devices:  my phone, my kindle, even my computer. And it syncs to everything. So I can read a book on my breaks at work, then I can go home and read it on my tablet. Then, if I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, I have it on my phone too! To download it on my Paperwhite, I just have to click a few times on my computer first, and then it downloads automatically with WIFI.

I think one of the reasons I have read so much more this year is because I have so much more access to the books I really want to read. No more borrowing stacks of books and then running out of books that are just so-so. Don’t like the book I’m reading? Ok…download another one. It is so convenient.

Audio books work the same way, and most libraries have a huge collection. No more spending boukou bucks on Audible. No thanks. That’s a great product, I’ll admit, but I just don’t have the money for it, and I don’t listen to enough audiobooks to justify it. So, instead, I rent them from my library through Overdrive.

This app is so easy to use. Just enter your library card info and pin, and the app saves it. Then just start adding books to your wish list, hold list, etc. You can read the books on the browser, or download them to the app. I usually just read them on the browser rather than take up memory, because I read too fast to justify downloading them (which is why my screenshots show there’s no books on my shelf), but you can load them if you want.

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If you aren’t using Overdrive yet, you should be. FREE BOOKS PEOPLE! Stop pirating. Support your local libraries.