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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Judging a Book by Its Cover

Judging a Book by Its Cover

This is an article in today's Shelf Awareness for Readers, Tuesday, January 24, 2012, Volume 1, Issue 62. It's interesting. Here are my favorite parts, in case you don't want to read the whole (short) article!

"On an airplane, do you notice what people are reading? Do you surreptitiously contort a bit to see a cover? Do you think about the (usually) men who are reading genre thrillers quite openly while women seem to hide romances? Same thing on the bus or subway or in cafes at lunchtime. Checking out book covers brings many pleasures; it also subtly imprints a book in your mind." - [Comment from Krys - This is the ONLY reason I read Room, by Emma Donoghue!]

"With e-books, there are no book covers. There's no tipping point reached by cover art, no visual validation of your own reading tastes. What will replace this passive advertising? Is it even a worry? A recent survey found a plateauing of e-book reader adoption (December sales notwithstanding)--52% of readers say they are "not at all likely" to buy an e-reader; additionally, e-reader owners buy almost as many printed books as e-books. [Comment from Krys - THANK YOU, JESUS! And btw, my sister gave me a gift card for Amazon and suggested I used it to buy a book or two for my Kindle Fire. I did, and I'll review below...] Good news for people who like cover art, for publishers who devote so much time and money to cover art, and for those of us who like to see what others are reading (or proclaim our own good taste). There are many good reasons to use e-books, but don't forget--it's really hard for authors to sign them."

Loved this article, and even though I have such strong opinions in favor of printed books, I'm so happy to hear that e-readers are STILL buying print editions, not just e-books.

So I bought Down the Darkest Road, by Tami Hoag, in e-format, thanks to the gift card from sister P. (Thanks, P!) I can't say that I'm a convert, and I am STILL a print girl, not an e-reader, but it wasn't so very horrible that I'll never read an e-book again. I may not be an e-reader, but I am a techno-geek-dork - I like gadgets, and I like my new smart phone (yes, I'm an iPhone person now), and I like my Fire, but I'm just not an avid e-reading fool. I never will be. That said, however, I think I left myself at a disadvantage...

1. I was reading it on my Kindle Fire, the screen was similar to a regular Kindle, so I think the reading experience was comparable. (Yea, I know all about the backlighting, etc., but I spend quite a bit of time on the Fire, and I don't think it was an issue for me.) What I HATED was how quickly I had to turn the page, and funnily enough, how I didn't like not being able to see two pages at once. I read quickly and I think I even speed read a bit, and scan ahead as I'm reading; I don't know how else to explain it. Now, I admit, until after I finished reading the book, I didn't think about making the font smaller to fit more on the page (duh!). But I'm already dealing with old eyes that need reading glasses, so I was put off by having to constantly flick the page. It gave me a headache to read across such a narrow page. BUT once I turned the Kindle sideways, the pages were still short in length but I was able to read across a longer span and that seemed to help with my eyestrain.

2. I admit, and always have, that I can see the benefit when I'm traveling. I've never gone on a trip anywhere, not even overnight, where I wasn't carrying at least 2 books with me, or an extra carry-on full of books to read on vacation or in the evening when I'm on business. My Fire will most definitely be traveling with me, with books loaded and games at the ready (Mah-Jong helps pass the time, to say nothing of Bejeweled or Words with Friends!). Not sure how much I'll like it and it will be interesting to see if I read as much on the e-reader as I do when I have print books with me, but I know my back and my arms and shoulders will send a thank you card to Amazon!

3. I admit, too, that I loaded a couple of Amazon freebies on my Fire to read on the train, when I have to commute without my chauffer (aka, hubby). And I've ordered - in advance! - an e-book version of Lisa Gardner's new Catch Me! which will be delivered when it releases on or around February 7th... In fact, I'll be reading a $3.99 sale book I bought for my Fire today, when I leave at 4pm to take the train home. It's a thriller and the synopsis intrigued me. And Lord knows paperbacks aren't $3.99 anymore so this was a financial plus and I got a new story to read!

As previously stated, I will not ever be e>print, but I'm trying to incorporate it into my reading experience, at least to a small degree, and perhaps the day will come when I'm less anti-e-reader, but I will never ever be less pro-print!!!


Miss Hope said...

While there are certain types of books I'll continue to buy, I have really adapted well to using the kindle app on my phone. I love being able to whip a book out when I'm waiting somewhere. I had so many books in boxes (mostly romance books passed on to me from my Mama when she was done reading) that were taking up so much space. I think the kindle has freed up space in my home. Crazy, huh?

Irish American Mom said...

I have not yet made the leap and invested in an e-reader. I just love the feel of a book in my hands, the thrill of turning the next page, and yes the cover art. Sometimes I just browse my book shelves taking in the beautiful pictures adorning the covers of my many volumes. Each picture brings back the memory of each great story. Thanks for your thoughts on e-readers. I might invest for quick reading and easy portability, but my favorite books will always have to be bound and boast physical pages.