Two days ago, my local public library announced that they had e-books available for checkout. Yesterday, Amazon.com announced that they would make the Kindle capable of borrowing library e-books, which took away my largest objection to buying a Kindle. So since a month’s further experience with e-books still hasn’t frightened me off of them, I am plotting the purchase of an e-reader.
My other major reason for e-reader reluctance is the inability of electronic paper to display color. I still wonder if I’ll want color. But with the e-books I’ve read so far, only the covers have been in color (like most print books). And when I’m reading, I’m looking at the black-and-white text, not the cover. As I don’t read glossy full-color magazines now, I don’t see myself reading e-magazines in the future. Sure, some graphic novels are in color, but I don’t think reading a graphic novel on a six-inch screen would be much fun anyway, even if full color were technically possible.
(How many words beginning with “e-” can I fit into one post?)
But as I prepare to hurl myself into the shining new future, I suppose I should set up some ground rules for an e-book collection. I propose the following for myself, subject to future amendment as necessary:
- Don’t buy any e-book that you can’t live without. If the book is essential, buy it in paper. Remember that what the vendor giveth, the vendor can also taketh away, and that that’s one of the points in this developing e-book system that hasn’t been settled yet. Nor has the question of evolving formats been addressed yet. Every now and then, iTunes suggests updating some of the songs in my collection, and they wish to charge a small fee for those updates. I doubt e-books will be any different.
- Don’t go hog-wild and buy any title that catches your eye, just because you don’t have to find shelf space for it. I’m not likely to fill up an e-reader any time soon, but e-books aren’t free. Not the ones I want to read, anyway.
- Don’t buy the e-book until you’re ready to read it. The reason I have almost 200 books in my apartment that I haven’t read yet is because the opportunity to buy each of them seemed fleeting. Perhaps I had a good coupon or I found the book at a used book store. Since one of the selling points of e-books is how they can be in your hands in seconds, 24/7, there’s no reason to stockpile e-books that I won’t be reading immediately. I so do not need 200 e-books waiting around for me to get to them someday.
- Do check the library first. Which is a rule I should apply to my print book purchases as well. I can support my local library and save myself money and storage space.
Okay, what am I overlooking?