Love your e-reader? Good: You’re not a book snob

book snobI came across a pretty funny article recently on The Telegraph: “Why book snobs are worse than Kindle fans.” It’s a rather sarcastic and abrasive piece, so prepare yourself now.

The article (which is intentionally hyperbolic) argues that people who hate e-readers and clutch their paperbacks or leather-bound hardcovers dearly to their chests are really materialistic idiots who are against reading itself, not the e-revolution. They think every Kindle or Nook owner bought one to read crappy grocery store aisle romances or widely panned novels like 50 Shades of Grey that they’re too embarrassed and ashamed to read in public, and these same critics bandy about shallow reasons for why print books are better:

No, you can’t proudly display your Kindle library in your dining room, or dash off some awful contrived inscription in the front because you once saw someone do that in a film, but that’s not really what books are for, is it? They’re for reading, and that experience is even better on an electronic machine than in print.

This argument should be the end of it, but it doesn’t satisfy the snobs, because for them books have nothing to do with reading. They are actually material for interior design – bits of incredibly naff “retro chic” pretence, rather than great works of art. Alongside your Smythson writing desk and your collection of vinyls comes a stack of neglected classics, destined to be judged only by their covers. These people should be off buying tweed or lobbying for signatures to join a Pall Mall members club, not lecturing on how to enjoy literature.

It’s a harsh stance, but if you can swallow the scathing remarks, the writer actually makes a good point: All the reasons why we cling to print books over e-books are trivial and petty. What does it matter which is better as long as you’re reading? Do we have to divide ourselves into groups — readers and e-book readers — or can we all just agree that more reading is good?

It’s like complaining that you’re not a “real reader” unless you only devour classics — not stupid popular books like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter. Frankly, I think that’s a pretty snobbish attitude, too. It’s okay not to like the classics. They can be pretty boring at times.

What do you think of the writer’s attack on print-book snobs? Agree or disagree?

When e-readers trump books (and vice versa)

E-readers are better when:

1. You want to hold a cup of tea and read at the same time without cramping your hand.

2. You’re reading in bed and want to keep your arms warm under the covers.

3. You’re on the go and can’t pack a dozen books to take with you.

Actual books are better when:

1. You find them used somewhere — because discovery is half the fun.

2. You want everyone to see what you’re reading, especially if it’s massively long because ooohh, or you want to turn pages and smell them because aaahh.

3. They’re signed.

Or, if I need to throw something at someone, I’m definitely not going to hurl a $300 device.

Why do you prefer one or the other?

BookRx recommends books in 140 characters or less, plus e-readers going out of style

BookRx

This post comes to you in four parts!

Part 1:

Need some books to keep you busy during all that holiday downtime? Considering trying out Knight Labs’ new BookRx, which selects potential new reads based on your Twitter account. Just enter your handle, and voila! BookRx generates a list of recommendations from specific words, users, and hashtags that you’ve mentioned in your tweets.

Here’s a preview of one of mine:

BookRx preview

Of course, I’ve already ready a few of these. So it’s not a perfect tool, but it is fun. BookRx separates titles by genre, such as mystery, fiction, and romance. One of its picks for me is Fifty Shades of Grey — a book I would never read. But I’ve previously tweeted about at least one blog post that focused on the book, so it’s little wonder that BookRx noticed my “interest” in it.

What books does it recommend for you?

Part 2:

Do you like the new blog header? I wanted a change. :) But if you guys hate it, let me know and I’ll create some others.

Part 3:

If you’re looking for today’s book cover selection, it’s one post down!

Part 4:

e-reader girl

In a bit of news, the e-reader market is apparently shrinking. Data from the International Data Corporation shows that this year, worldwide shipments of e-readers will fall to 14.9 million units from 23.2 million units last year — a 36 percent decrease. Forrester Research recorded a similar trend specifically in the United States, and these numbers are expected to keep falling in 2013 and beyond.

The explanation? People are buying more multiversatile tablets, smartphones, and PCs — an increase of 27.1 percent from 2011, according to IDC. They’re more willing to spend more money on a high-tech device than a “primitive” e-reader in exchange for the extra features, and those often include Kindle and Nook apps.

“It’s looking like e-readers were a device for a particular moment in time that, more rapidly than we or anyone else thought, has been replaced by a new technology,” Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst, told The New York Times. Here’s the full scoop.

Are you ready to trade in your e-reader, or are you surprised by these findings?

[Image credit: via CNET by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, public domain; CBSi]

What e-reader do you use?

Sony ReaderYesterday, I wrote about the Kindle Daily Deals e-newsletter. As you can probably tell, I love Amazon. I shop there for all sorts of things, including e-books.

The Kindle is my e-reader of choice, but what about yours? Where do you prefer to shop for both books and e-books? I’m trying to decide whether I should include links to Barnes and Noble or other websites when I blog, so please share which retailers you prefer!

If “Other,” do specify in the comments!

Bonus question: What newsletters or websites do you use to find sales on e-books?

Target boycotts Kindle and other Amazon products

Target stores have decided to stop selling the Amazon Kindle and its accessories—but not other e-readers, like Apple’s iPad or Barnes and Noble’s Nook.

The New York Times quoted a letter from Target executives to vendors: “What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices.”

Back in December, Amazon offered customers discounts of up to $5 if they visited brick-and-mortar stores, scanned items, and then bought them through the online-only retailer instead. Books were not included in the promotion, but it was an underhanded tactic.

What do you think? Should Target be commended for standing up to Amazon?

Microsoft gives $300 million to Barnes & Noble to fund new Nook subsidiary

Technology is expensive.

Microsoft recently granted Barnes & Noble $300 million to form a subsidiary dedicated entirely to the Nook. The Redmond-based corporation will have a 17.6 stake in the division, temporarily called “Newco,” which also incorporates B&N’s college textbook business.

The partnership is unexpected, since the companies were previously engaged in a lawsuit over supposed patent infringements associated with the e-reader. Their shared investment in Newco puts that feud to rest.

Perhaps Microsoft is considering its own agenda: “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them,” Andy Lees, president of Microsoft, said. “We’re on the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

These days, e-readers are doing a lot more than storing books—they’re becoming multi-purpose devices, and that’s causing them to rise in price. The Nook Tablet, B&N’s most expensive model, costs $199. Compare that with the basic Nook Simple Touch, which is now priced at $79. Amazon offers a similar price range—the same at its lowest and highest ends, actually.

How much are you willing to pay for an e-reader, and how important are multimedia features to you? Reading will always be my top priority with these devices, but I do occasionally salivate over the glowing, full-color screens of better models.