My limited take on e-books, e-readers, publishers, libraries

Nook Glow (1024x765) I recently just got my second Nook. The first one was the First Edition; this one, the  Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™. I chose the Nook initially because of the option of borrowing books from library, which was at the time unavailable on the Kindle, and the ability to get books from other sources besides one source, i.e. Amazon. I even could, and still can (at least until January 31, 2013) purchase e-books from independent bookstores through Google Books.

Since that first Nook, Kindle also has the option of borrowing books from the library. However, even with the addition of the Fire, my opinion remains unchanged on the Kindle. I still prefer the Nook, partially because they were one of the first e-readers to embrace the option of borrowing books from the library and the ability to get books, free or otherwise, from other sources besides its own store. The other part is that I just like the ease of use of the Nook, and am sold on the GlowLight. I don’t need all the bells and whistles the Fire or Nook Tablet has. I already have a very nice laptop and TV on which I can surf the Internet and watch Netflix, thank you very much.

I do believe in supporting my local bookstore. To that end, as I’m working as a library assistant at our local library, I often refer patrons to the store if there is a book we don’t have or is unavailable on interlibrary loan. I always let them know that the owners will do their best to find them deals on the books for which they are searching, because I know they will — as much as the owners are possible to do so. Why I made that last caveat is because tonight, after I did search for a book for a patron and none of the other libraries in the state system had it, I went to Amazon just to price the book and it was listed at about $68 whether used or new because it evidently is a rare book. I don’t know if the owners of the local bookstore would be able to find it for much cheaper than that price, although one never knows.

All that said about supporting our local bookstore, personally I’d rather get a free book, whether a physical copy or an electronic version from our library or another library. When searching for a book, I usually look to see if we have an electronic version of it; if we don’t, I then go to the Free Library of Philadelphia online to see if they have an electronic version of it. If neither place has it and it’s something I really have to read, and I can’t wait for it (which is usually only once or twice a year), I will see if the local bookstore has it, either a physical copy or an electronic version. I also won’t lie in that I will search Barnes & Noble online for it, to see if they have a good deal on it. To me, like most casual readers, the bottom line is the cheapest copy.

I rarely search Amazon, just because I know how they treated the owners of our local bookstore when they were affiliates for Amazon and also because of Amazon’s rapacious policies against indepedent bookstores. I choose to stand in solidarity with the owners against Amazon in that way. However, when patrons ask me which to purchase, a Kindle or a Nook, I tell them honestly that I wouldn’t have considered a Nook even if my brother-in-law hadn’t had a Kindle– a Kindle which he later gave to my wife when he upgraded to a Fire. I first remember seeing his original Kindle and being blown away by it.

I also like that with the Kindle, it is super easy to borrow books from a library. Basically, all you have to do is hit “Get for Kindle,” sign in to your Amazon account and then borrow the book. With the Nook, you have to use Adobe Digital Editions and transfer the book to your computer, then to the Nook through ADE. That makes the Kindle much easier to use for borrowing library books, but I’ve gotten so used to using ADE, it really doesn’t bother me to plug my Nook into the computer either.

Recently a patron asked me which she should buy: a Kindle or a Nook. After talking about it a little bit, she mentioned that she already had purchased e-books from Amazon to use on a Kindle computer app. For me, it only made sense that she should buy a Kindle, since she already had the e-books from Amazon there. Unfortunately, with Amazon, the only way you can access their e-books is through one of their devices. It would be foolish for her to have to buy the e-books again from another source.

I also did recommend the Kindle Fire to her because of the size of the screen since she mentioned she was having difficulties with her eyes recently and also because of the other applications it had since she said she was looking for something beyond an e-reader. However, if she hadn’t had the limitation of having her e-books from Amazon already, I would have recommended the Nook Tablet to her — or even a tablet by another company, perhaps a Samsung Galaxy.

I will be completely honest in that I don’t understand everything that is going on concerning e-books, the battles among publishers, libraries and book and e-book distributors like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In fact, I’m a little confused on who are wearing the white hats and who are wearing the black hats. It depends on whom and what you read (only two small samples of the varied opinions out there). The only thing I do know, for sure, is that in the end, somehow, some way the casual reader will be screwed and the costs of e-books will increase, with e-books being sold in limited quantities to libraries or maybe not at all. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy as many free (and cheap) books on my  NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™ from the library as I can and try to ignore the melee happening around me.

Here are a few places you can find free (or cheap) e-books for your e-reader as I mentioned on my previous blog back in February of this year.

What are your own thoughts on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, e-books, e-readers, bookstores and publishers? Or are as you confused as I am about it all?

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Bryan G. Robinson

Book Blogger, Library Assistant, both by choice. Blogger formerly known as Unfinished Person, but who is still an unfinished person. Library Assistant at small town library in Pennsyltucky.

10 thoughts on “My limited take on e-books, e-readers, publishers, libraries”

  1. As a poor Grad student I depend heavily on the library. If I have money (ha ha) I am with you on independent book stores. I got the nook because I have a strong dislike of Amazon. I should not say that since Amazon is a huge employer in KY but still I dislike anything with a monopoly.
    I keep tabs on the whole e reader publisher debacle but I have to say I was confused also until a Professor explained it to me. Even now I am still just a tad bit confused but I hope libraries will still have eBooks to lend.

    1. I’m with you on the “ha ha” part of having money :(. So what did the professor say? Or maybe that is a post for you for another day.

  2. I have a 2nd gen Kindle and use the library feature all the time. I love it. I do not love Amazon, but I love the Kindle for ease of use and to me, the screen text is crisper than the Nook, but that is just my own observation. And, if I leave Wi-Fi turned off, I can keep my library books for quite a long time.

    1. Hey, to each his or her own…I usually have my Wi-Fi on all the time but that’s only because I’m usually reading at home, close to a charger. Plus so far this new Nook seems to hold a charge pretty well, but we’ll see.

  3. We are an Amazon/Kindle family for many reasons. At this point, I’m just tired of the debate. Was there this much of an outcry when MP3s took the stage and our local music stores disappeared?

    Maybe I would feel differently if there actually was an indie store within 50 miles, but there hasn’t been one for 15 years, long before the real rise of Amazon and e-readers.

    What I do find exciting is that more people are picking up e-readers and actually reading. I don’t care which one you get or what store you use, anything that gets people reading again is a good thing.

    1. I tire of the debate sometimes too, but I like to recount it anyway for blog fodder ;). I do agree that anything that gets people reading again is a good thing. It’s not all bad and in fact a quite bit of it is good in my estimation.

  4. I pretty much have the same thoughts as you when it comes to obtaining a copy of a book. In my city though, we mostly have used bookstores. There’s one that sells new books but it’s so out of the way and doesn’t have a user-friendly website. Plus, I’m a broke college student so if I really need a book, I buy from Amazon though I try not to.

    M<y first e-reader was a Kobo since it was much cheaper than a Kindle and I could borrow books from the library. Now I have a Nook Color. I still prefer basically any e-reader over a Kindle. I don't want to be stuck buying books from just one business.

    I do hope there comes a time where we can print pages from our e-books or transfer ownership of our e-books. I hate the idea of deleting an e-book that I didn't like after reading it.

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