Alas, my old fartedness shows up. I am reviewing a book. The book is ok but I struggled with my agitation and attitude all of the time I was reading it. This is the first book that I have read entirely electronically and I find myself at odds with the format more than the content. Change is pain and I have to face the facts that e-books here. Perhaps the ancient readers struggled when they went from scrolls to codex/ spine bound books.
I review books for Multnomah Press on their Blogging for Books program. They send me books that I probably wouldn't read and I send out my thoughts to my readers, Facebook and the retail sites like Amazon. It has been a total joy, however, due to cost and demand, now you get e-books. I love books, all books, and am a "tactile" learner. The scratchy turn of the page, the smell, the weight and the cover art (this may be the greatest loss), are an invisible part of the reading process. Clicking the down button is not the same thing and I really don't like it at all. Sadly, it is time to be a grown up and face the fact that this is how publishing works.
I read this book on the "Adobe Digital Edition", which was free of charge, on my laptop. It is easy to use and has enough features to get the job done. They also have a community library. I also downloaded Kindle for PC, which is similar, though geared for Amazon purchasing, and slicker in appearance. There is a pretty thorough article in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats .
There is a good side to the e-reader. With the Google library and our public library system, the e-reader opens a powerful window to the world of books. By highlighting a passage and writing comments on the "Bookmarks" I am compiling the notes that will become the review. This saves a compiling step and makes the writing process quicker. Finding marginal notes and highlights are scary fast. Having text and study books in this format would speed up research writing a lot. My son "leases" his college texts at a considerable cost savings and cuts down on the weight of his backpack. It is kinder to my eyes by being able to adjust light and font size too.
E Readers were the top Christmas gifts in 2010 and 2011 which means I have become a technological "lagger". So...I suppose the time has come to get one and I am leaning toward the Nook (cost $119-249 and available everywhere). They have a better online community, it is easier to share books, and lots of freebies. Books from most but not all sources can be installed. Great accessories from everywhere too. Second in my list is Kindle ($114-379). They seems difficult to use with other formats but have a lot media and accessories from Amazon. It is easy to use, has slick graphics, feels good in the hand and is scary easy to buy stuff. Media prices are pretty close overall between Amazon and Barnes/Noble but Amazon runs a little higher-surprisingly. Both Kindle and Nook have been reliable for my friends and family members. Sony ($99-special from Walmart-$249) seems the best for sharing but doesn't review as well and I don't know about their online community. They aren't as focused on selling you something which is welcome. There are several lesser named offerings under $100 to over $300 but none of them really stand out.
Ok, so I am a tragically hip and surprisingly young fart, about e-readers. I am still being dragged into this purchase and will eventually get used to it. I will always cling to the cover art and crinkled spines resting on my shelves and being "real" books. Digital files just leave me a little cold.