Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Huh?

About a week ago, the New York Times posted an article about how e-books are catching on (finally), and cited Amazon's undisclosed Kindle sales stats to support its argument. I'll likely have more to say on e-books as the year progresses, but I couldn't help but point out this incredible letter to the editor that the Times received in response to the article:
Print book lovers are not the only ones who are turning to e-books. People like me who couldn’t find time to read books for leisure are rediscovering the pleasure of reading because of the convenience of pocket-sized electronic devices that make it easy to download a variety of books, access them instantly anywhere and any time, and replace idle time with enriching, enjoyable reading time.

Dorlene Kaplan
New York, Dec. 24, 2008
Let me see if I get this straight: Dorlene wasn't reading because she didn't have the time. Thanks to e-books, now she has time. Why? Do the books read themselves? I'm led to conclude that purchasing the books - in person or online - was what took too much time. These are the sort of people who would be in favor of a "meal pill" replacing lunch. Still, her letter to the editor doesn't come close to topping this one, the Heavyweight Champion of Crazy Letters to the Editor for 2008.

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5 Comments:

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous web design India said...

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At 10:00 AM, Blogger Dorlene said...

Thank you for posting my letter to the editor of the New York Times on your blog, Patrick. I make it clearer on my web page – bornagainreader.com – that my iPod Touch makes it easy for me to read during the many spare moments that occur during each day, time that would otherwise be wasted. I also now purchase print books because when I fall in love with an author I’m unable to obtain all of his or her work in ebook format. If someone invents a pill that has the taste, texture, aroma, and nuances of a delicious meal I will be first on line to buy it.

Dorlene

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger Lee said...

If you label yourself a reader and use your free time to read then Dorlene's comments on not having "time to read books for leisure" and e-books replacing "idle time with… reading time" may seem incompatible. Yet, some people don't exactly know when or how much idle time they will have on a given day.

Having an e-book on you at all times allows you to take advantage of the time you do get. Sure, I could get hold of a large backpack and fill it with all the stories, reference books, non-fiction books and newspapers with which I am currently engaged. Then I could carry that around all day even though I may never get a chance to even open the bag. Or, as I do my PDA, I could just always carry around an e-reader. Then, if I get the urge to either write something down or read something someone else has written down I am covered.

I can't see an e-book turning a non-reader into a reader. However, an e-book can certainly increase the amount of material an average reader like me will ingest. Regarding a 'meal pill', I'm still for consuming the real, full lunch. If I happen to eat alone then that's just the time of day that I can put my e-book to work.

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

Dorlene,

Thanks for finding this blog. I get what you're saying about suddenly finding a bit of time to read and then having an ereader to help fill that time. (And Lee, you make some excellent points on that as well.) I suppose that as the kind of person who has carried a book with me everywhere, the ereader wouldn't make much of a difference in my life. I guess we'll find out if it will, though, as I recently got an iphone and the Stanza application (Dorlene, I see you use Fictionwise, so I'd be curious to hear if you've tried Stanza). I'm not opposed to ebooks per se, I just didn't see how they would make it any easier to read. I'm not sure they will for me, but I'm glad they have for you.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Dorlene said...

Lee, you say that "you can't see an e-book turning a non-reader into a reader". No one was more surprised than I was! When I downloaded the first book to my Palm TX three years ago it was an experiment to see what reading on a digital device would be like. Boy, did I get sucked in! It changed my life for the better in many ways. For example, now when I have to be somewhere I don't wait until the last minute to leave and then get anxious because I might be late. I plan to get there early so I'll have time to read. I even eread when I'm waiting for an elevator -- I couldn't do that if I had to dig around in my backpack and find my place in the book.

Patrick, I tried Stanza and gave it up because it doesn't have a dictionary look-up feature, which I use frequently. I downloaded Webster's Third International Unabridged Dictionary and when I encounter an unfamiliar word I just tap it and the definition appears. This feature alone has enriched my vocabulary more than any word-building course. Of course, you could look up words in a print dictionary but that takes time and interrupts the flow of reading.

 

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