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From the app store to The Ripped Bodice: Romance reading at a glance #IndieMonth2017 #giveaway #BookBloggers
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From the app store to The Ripped Bodice: Romance reading at a glance #IndieMonth2017 #giveaway #BookBloggers

by davincikittieJuly 11, 2017

This is the last original post of #IndieMonth2017, and I wanted to end on an inclusive, conversational note. (Next time is the final post, a quick-access resource list of all the goodies from this month!)

Today’s article highlights my journey through various e-readers, reader apps, and bookstores, and poses some concerns about the future of the publishing industry and how authors’ (and readers’) freedom might be challenged in the years to come. Come on in, put your feet up, and leave a comment to add your thoughts to the conversation! This is your last chance to enter the Indie Month giveaways!

Weigh in on the e-reader vs app vs bookstore debate!

The rise of an ebook empire

We’re coming into a scary era in publishing, one where the company so central to rise of ebook popularity is the same controlling force behind many of today’s (and tomorrow’s) market trends and decisions. Yeah, you guessed it—Amazon. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate Amazon. I’m a Kindle girl myself. It’s just so darn convenient—Whispersync, emailing books to my device, instantaneous downloads and cheap prices. We didn’t have that kind of easy access in the good ole print days, when you literally camped out at your local bookstore to get that precious release-day copy of Harry Potter in hardback. So I love the technology advances and widespread adoption that has made the ebook format so popular, and I love that it has opened doors for indie authors to make a living without having to sign away their arms, legs, and children to a big, slow-moving publishing house. What I don’t love is that Amazon now essentially controls (or influences, at the very least) the whole book publishing space—electronic and paperback. Competition is a healthy thing, so let’s look at some of the options out there for ebooks and finding new reads!

Battle of the e-readers

Kindle, Nook, and Kobo are the big names in the e-reader space, although realistically, grouping anything with Kindle as a “big name” is subjective. I thought Kobo was a smaller player but I’ve seen more chatter about it in recent months. Each platform has its preferred book formats, so while Kobo supports both MOBI and EPUB, Kindle doesn’t support EPUB, and Nook doesn’t support MOBI. iBooks (by Apple) also doesn’t support Amazon’s MOBI format, using the open-standard EPUB instead. So let’s say you’ve built yourself this nice big Kindle library of ebooks but decide you want to move over to another reader type. You either have to re-buy your entire library in the new supported format, or you have to settle for a reader that will support your MOBI files. There’s always Calibre, of course (an ebook management tool that lets you convert file types), but a book’s formatting can turn out wonky after conversion, and moving your Amazon-bought books off your Kindle can be a real challenge (they’re encoded in weird ways that aren’t straightforward to just grab and move).

So while, yes, you can switch e-reader types, chances are….you won’t. What e-reader do you use? What do you love about it?

E-ink vs full-screen brilliance

I’ve used both the (old) second gen Kindle Fire and the (super old) Kindle Touch. I wasn’t a huge fan of either, mostly because I prefer a tablet or phone that can multi-task to an additional dedicated device I have to lug around. I did find, though, that each type had its pros and cons.

My old Kindle Fire Second Generation…which died a quiet death by inexplicably unchargable batteries.

E-ink

The Touch uses e-ink, which means it can be read in full daylight without glare, just like a real, physical book. That part was pretty cool, but honestly, I just don’t spend that much time outside. And if I were, say, lounging at the beach, I much rather have my phone so I can snap pictures and text friends funny quotes. Or, write a review in my Evernote app. The e-ink devices (as far as I know) are purely for reading—Amazon markets this as “no distractions”. So, no apps. I also found that the e-ink technology in my old Touch was sluggish. The page turn took a second to process after I touched the screen, and I’d touch it again just as it did turn, causing it to flip again. I found that those earlier models of the non-touch Kindles (with the arrow buttons) behaved the same pokey way. Maybe the newer generations of the technology are slicker, but the delay and the screen flicker were too annoying for me to use long term.

The now-discontinued Kindle Touch. Which basically turned all books into free audiobooks. With terrible narrators.

I did like the read-to-me feature. It was buried in Accessibility settings, but I could set the tablet to read the book to me. The voice was extremely robotic (I still sometimes think of the books it read to me and associate RoboVoice with those poor, unfortunate authors. So sorry, Tymber Dalton! 😉 ), but, hey! I didn’t have to buy audiobooks! I believe the read-to-me functionality was removed from the later models of Kindles. Which I find strange, because it’s not like Accessibility laws became any less strict…did they?

Apps to the rescue

So it didn’t take me long to realize I’m really more of an app reader kind of gal. I’ve used iPhones and Androids over the years, and I’ve tried the iBooks, Nook, and Kindle mobile apps, and Kindle is by far my favorite. My library is too extensive at this point to move over to another ecosystem, even if I wanted to. That aside, the convenience of having my reader right there on my phone alongside my notes app, my email, my socials… my life… makes everything easier. I don’t mind the distractions, and if I want peace I’ll just tune everything else out. Or read a paperback. Of which I have far too many. I somehow collect these things faster than I can give them away. *boggled*

So what’s your poison? App or dedicated e-reader? Or are you a paperback holdout?

Brick by brick

The rise of ebooks brought tough times for brick-and-mortar bookstore chains. Some of the largest have been able to survive (like Barnes&Noble), but they’re hurting. And many of the mom-and-pop style local bookstores have had to close their doors. It really makes me sad. There’s no experience like walking into a room literally filled with books and…just…breathing. Breathing in the smell of pages and dreams and hopes. Bookstores inspire sense memories of possibility and escape in a way that no army of e-readers with new-book-smell air fresheners could ever mimic.

Bookstores inspire sense memories of possibility and escape in a way that no army of e-readers with new-book-smell air fresheners could ever mimic.

But there IS hope! The Ripped Bodice in LA is America’s first exclusively romance book store. And owners Leah and Bea Koch have set up a lovely, feminine space that welcomes readers who love a genre that is often criticized and ostracized in regular bookstores. I haven’t had a chance to visit the Ripped Bodice yet, but you can bet that on my next trip to LA I will DEFINITELY be dropping in for a little quality bookstore time. And I’ll post pics and a write up for you guys!

Have you been to the Ripped Bodice? What did you think? 

Do you still visit physical stores like B&N or do you shop primarily online now? And have you heard about Amazon’s new foray into the bookstore space? Bringing this article back full circle… Is anyone else disturbed by what Amazon may be doing with their new physical bookstores, and how they could manipulate an already strangled market?

Giveaways

These are open to US & international readers! Leave a comment on today’s post, then fill out the prize widgets below to enter to win these fantastic prizes! Not sure what to chat about? Here are a few prompts to get you started…

  • What e-reader do you use? What do you love about it?
  • E-ink vs full color? Which is your go-to e-reader?
  • So what’s your poison? App or dedicated e-reader? Or are you a paperback holdout?
  • App stores or bookstores?
  • Have you been to The Ripped Bodice? What did you think?

Sponsored by author BA Tortuga ($25 Amazon gift card!)

Win one of 12 prizes from our event sponsors! (Includes a $25 Amazon Gift Card, jewelry, swag, and TONS of ebooks!)

 

DON’T MISS: Use the fancy new GraveTells features to find your next book boyfriend!

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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
10 Comments
  • Janie McGaugh
    July 12, 2017 at 7:29 am

    I have a Kindle Fire HDX, but I rarely read on it. I use it mostly to listen to audio books. I read my Kindle books on a Kindle app on an old I-Pod I have. Unfortunately, it’s operating system is no longer updated or supported by other vendors, so I can’t add any audio readers to it. Otherwise, I’d rarely use my Kindle!

    • July 17, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Oh, audiobooks! That’s something we didn’t talk much about this month. Probably because I don’t usually listen to them. I read faster than the narrators speak (way faster), so I get impatient, and speeding them up makes them sound like chipmunks. I’m also rarely happy with the voices of the narrators. Do you have a list of narrators you like? How do you find audiobooks that you think will be a good bet for you? They’re pretty expensive to take a chance on, compared to regular ebooks.

  • Elaine G
    July 12, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I have an old sony ereader which I don’t use much at all. I am not a fan of the kindle app (I like to see page numbers) So I use my samsung tablet with a epub reader app. I like it the best. I am starting to prefer the ebooks over paperback. Even buying the ebook version of books I have for a while still to read.

    • July 17, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      You know, I didn’t even realize that the other apps might have page numbers! That is something I sorta miss too. I’ve started looking at % read rather than page numbers, since the kindle “location” does me no good mentally. I get why they use it, but it’s not very satisfying to see you’re on location 5618.

  • Betty Olsen
    July 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I have a Kindle Fire and Kindle Touchable. I mostly use my Touchable though and since I don’t have a cell phone – too old for one 🙂 I don’t use apps. I do have the Kindle App on my computer. We no longer have a book stores, the last one closed up not too long ago. We just have our library now. I still have paperbacks and some hardcover books which I had ordered through the Doubleday Book Club. Right now I just order Amazon e-books. When you are on social security, it’s more prudent buying e-books compared to books & paperbacks. I have never been to the Ripped Bodice but it sounds like a lovely place to go. I think they way things are going with e-books and audio books, bookstores don’t have much of a chance anymore.

    • July 17, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      It truly sucks that bookstores are now an endangered species. Libraries don’t always have a good selection of romance either. Although I’ve found they don’t seem to mind urban fantasy as much. Does your have a good selection of romance to check out? Do they have an electronic program where you can check out digital books for your ereader? How do you feel about Kindle Unlimited? If you read enough, the $10 a month is a pretty good deal.

  • Rita C
    July 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    I have a Kindle Paperwhite but I do most of my reading on my Samsung tablet with the Kindle app and Kobo app. I haven’t read a paper book in years, I am addicted to e-books!

    • July 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      I also find it really hard to go back to paperbacks when reading on my phone is SO convenient. What is not convenient though, is my phone running out of power because I’ve been reading for 12 hours straight, and going through withdrawals while I wait for it to charge back up. That’s what I get for ditching paperbacks, eh? 😉

  • Aly P
    July 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I love e-ink readers, but my last one broke and I didn’t fix it or replace it yet. I;m using a Fire know, which is a bit annoying. I can literally see the battery melting as I read, it’s so frigging annoying. I could charge the e-ink reader every few weeks, but the fire if I don’t charge it every few days it’ll die on me.

    I love paper books, but unfortunately there aren’t many romances is the bookstores from my country. I usually get my paper books from the book depository(bless their free shipping heart). I do use Amazon for my ebooks though..

    • July 17, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Oh yeah, battery life. That is one thing I definitely miss about the Touch! After all this talk about it, I keep looking around trying to find my old Touch, and I can’t remember if I gave it to my mom! lol

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