Which e-reader?

- by Abby Gaines

Having not seen the point of e-readers the past couple of years—I’m wedded to paper, the touch, the smell, the rustle and slow slap of turning pages—I’m now considering buying one. To be honest, more out of professional curiosity than anything.

I want to know how my readers’ experience of one of my books changes when they consume it via an e-reader. I’m wondering if e-readers will eventually, insidiously change the way I need to write, much as the movie culture has changed the nature of commercial fiction and the online culture probably is, only I haven’t figured out precisely how yet.

The more I think about buying an e-reader, the more interested I am. But then…I have to decide: which one?

I’m veering away from the Kindle, finding its proprietary formats manipulative and exclusive. The Sony e-reader comes from a company whose technology I respect, but you don’t hear a lot about it these days. The nook…ah, yes, I’m definitely intrigued by the nook. But is it too soon to buy? Is there a better model just around the corner? And now they’re saying Apple will come out with something fabulous (but larger format and expensive?) in April.

What’s a reader to do? If you’ve been through this decision process I’d love to know where you got to and how pleased you are with the result.

Of course, if this all gets to hard, I’ll just resort to the writer’s greatest skill: procrastination.


  1. My wife is a voracious reader and as analog as you can get. She expressed interest in the Kindle and as I am a tech geek, jumped at the chance to satisfy both the need to buy her a birthday present and my own techie lust.
    Although a little doubtful at first, she loves it now and wouldn’t be without.
    There are two differences I see in her reading habits. The most obvious being that rather than taunting me with the thickness of pages she’s read in a given day, she announces, “Look, I’m at 76%.” The second difference, and this one is sad, we don’t make as many trips to the bookstore together.
    Regardless of the e-reader you choose, I’d wait till the just announced Apple the event on January 27. Tablet rumors abound.

  2. Thanks, Kent, that’s interesting re the Kindle. And a worthwhile consideration about the lack of bookstore togetherness. I didn’t realize the Apple announcement was coming up so soon, thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Here’s an overview of all the ebook reader hardware now available. I believe this site is constantly updated.


  4. I’ve been reading (and writing) electronic books for years. I see no real difference in my writing standards, and will not approach a publisher that doesn’t employ editors because I believe a good editor can make a great book wonderful. I started with the old Rocket e-book, moved on to the Rocket 1100, then to HPiPaq PDA which, though it has a relatively small screen, works well for me because it’s not a dedicated e-reader and I need a lot in one small package. I have downloaded Kindle for PC (free) and read on my NetBook. If I buy an e-reading device, I believe it will be the Sony, because of its ability to accept most formats.

  5. Marilynn, thanks for the link to the comparison chart, very useful!

    Judy, thanks for your comments and your view on the Sony eReader. Btw, I wasn’t suggesting the standard of writing is different for ebooks, it was more that I was wondering if a trend toward ereaders will affect the story pacing, how much “white space” readers like to see on a page, length of chapters, etc.

  6. My 86 year-old mother has a hard time reading print. We bought her a Sony e-reader at Target.

    She loves it, and I put new books on it every week. She enlarges the type size as needed – so she doesn’t get as much eye strain.

    My one complaint is that you have to go online to get the manual. The lack of instructions (like how to force a reboot) is a big source of frustration for us both.

    The price is in the $225 range – very affordable.