Ebooks are mainstream, at least here in the US. Or rather in the US I know from personal experience. Here in the hustle and bustle of New Jersey e-book readers are swiftly becoming as ubiquitous as cell phones. To wit, I don’t personally know anyone under the age of 80 who does not consume electronic books in some format.
Let’s face it – Kindles are dirt cheap these days. You can get the ad sponsored one for about $70 which is about as much I spend when I hit up the book store to replenish my reading stack. That’s about a price of handful of books – a few paperbacks and maybe one or two hard cover titles. Not a huge investment considering the device essentially lasts forever.
I’m not kidding – my dad dropped his Kindle into the toilet. The damn thing got completely submerged in piss water, then rinsed off, laid out to dry. 48 hours later it powered up as if nothing happened. It was also dropped a few dozen times, stepped and sat upon without any side effects. No, Amazon is not paying me to say these things (though they damn should) – I’m just quite impressed how sturdy they make those devices.
For $20 more, you can get the cheeper Nook. Double that and you can get the Nook Tablet or the Kindle Fire which both can function as a semi-decent low end touch-screen tablets for interneting and facebooking. Double that, and you get yourself an iPad which has a gorgeous retina display that can deliver a stellar all-round web browsing, app buying, finger painting, swipe to unlock type experience and can be used as an excellent cat toy, in addition to being a nice e-book reading platform.
What if you are too broke for a tablet or a dedicated e-reader? Where I live, even poor people have smart phones. About a year ago, I went to the local Verizon store to buy a cell phone for my grandmother. She is 80 years old, and has no interest in anything that requires tapping, swiping or finger poking to operate. Her kind of phone is the one that flips the fuck open. I communicated that to the customer service entity at the store, and this caused much confusion. The girl that was helping me scratched her head, checked the entire floor and concluded there were no flip phones to be sold in the entire establishment. So she called over her teenage (mutant ninja) manager, and we both spent around 20 minutes explaining to him the concept of a “dumb phone that flips open and doesn’t do internet”. He was quite confused, until I told him I was looking for something like the funny phones they used in The Matrix. Upon much contemplations, the young man called in air support in the form of Jose – the Chief Mop and Bucket Engineer of the Sixth Janitorial Division who descended unto some basement and returned with a box, covered with a thick layer of dust. Said box contained the legendary Last Flip Phone of New Jersey and there was much rejoicing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that most carriers will actually give you a low end Droid, iPhone 3GS or a Blackberry for free if you sign or renew a 1 or 2 year contract with them. And each of those phones can run a motherfucking Kindle app.
Which is precisely what I use. I own and iPad and an iPhone and use the Kindle App. Why not iBooks? Well, because I have been an Amazon customer longer than I have been an iUser. It’s actually that simple. I have a long history with Amazon – I have developed trust, and brand loyalty over the years. I have bought countless dead tree books from them, and they have never fucked up my order. They have an expansive library of books, and their used book merchant system gives their users access to obscure, out of print novels that would be difficult to find otherwise. There is little to no reason for me to switch to another vendor for my e-books when their offer, and their e-reader work perfectly.
Not to mention the fact that I can sync my Kindle library across all my computing devices (including my PC) whereas iBooks would only let me sync between the Apple flavored devices making my Windows PC feel like a fat bespectacled ginger kid at recess.
So that’s how I read my electronic books. The iPad is my preferred device mostly due to the size of the display. The iPhone is for reading on the go, if I forgot to bring the iPad with me. The Kindle for PC is for when I want to consult bookmarks and notes I made, or copy and paste quotes.
How do you do it? Do you have a Nook? Kindle? An iDevice of some sort? A different type of a tablet? What software do you use for reading books on said device?