Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thinking About an E-Reader...

I have never spent any of my money on little things. Instead I buy American Girl Dolls. I have been saving for a while, and a friend from Virginia that I visited during my time there because I stayed longer to visit my grandparents gave me $50, so now I have enough. But if I just save up a few more dollars, I could buy a fancy dancy E-Reader. Not one of the cheapest ones, the fancy one that I REALLY want. But I can't buy both. So I need your help.

I want an American Girl Doll because I play with my 10 frequently. I want an E-Reader because I read tons and think it would be a good way to read and have even more books.

Questions about an E-Reader for those of you who are lucky enough to have them:
  • Will it have the kinds of books I like?
  • How many children's books are accesible through an E-Reader?
  • Is it worth the cost?
  • What kind should I get (not the IPad, it costs too much)?
  • Is it very expensive to buy a book to read on it?
  • Would it be very durable? Would it break just a few days after I get it?
  • Can you get brand new books (Mock Newberys) as soon as they come out on an E-Reader?
  • Are really old books available?
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the world of E-Readers.  Thanks!


  1. I can't answer all of your questions, but as I just received a Kindle for my birthday, I'll try my hand at a few.

    -Books generally cost around $9 on the E-reader
    -They are very durable and easy to use
    -It is very useful if you have trouble storing books or travel and like to take lots of books with you! - I do :)
    -You can get new books (that are published on e-versions) immediately and cheaper than a hardback
    -I don't know if YA and middle grade books are all on E-readers, but the bestsellers in those categories most likely are.
    -I would suggest calling a Barnes&Noble store and asking them some of your questions even if that isn't the brand you want to buy. They have a person right inside the door of the store selling and answering questions about their E-reader.
    -Most publishers are trying to get their books available on all E-readers out ther.
    -One thing I have to say as a book lover - there is no replacement for a real book. I can't tell how long the book is and it isn't as easy to move around, but that may just take some getting used to. My Kindle couldn't be simpler to use and buying a book only required me to have an account with a credit card on Amazon.

    I hope this helps and isn't too long!

  2. Laura,

    The great thing about this decision is that, I think, whichever way you choose to go you'll be happy. :) That said, here are some of my thoughts.

    Now my bias here is that I don't have a reader and probably won't be getting one anytime soon. But fairly recently I had a good friend who got one (she's similar to me, in that she reads a lot and collects many books for her personal library) and she's loved it. It can be really convenient if you're out and about a lot.

    Now, ebooks can be kind of hit or miss. Some are overpriced (more money than a physical copy!) and you'll be bound to their copyright laws (like, no sharing/selling even though you own it). But some can be very good deals. Since ebooks are in their infancy, the quality is all over the place. Some are decent, others have have poor formatting, typos, etc. Price, quality and release date are all pretty much depend on the publisher.

    The good news is that there are plenty of free ebooks out there (and I don't just mean pirated ones lol). Sites like Gutenberg Project and FeedBooks have hundreds of free ebooks. They're usually classics that have gone past their copy write date and entered public domain. I've used those sites to read some books in my down time at work and some of those I read, to name a few, were Anne of Green Gables series, Wizard of Oz, Secret Garden, and Alice in Wonderland. You can find tons of children's classics and SO MANY adult classics as well.

    I don't think you have to worry too much about the reader's durability. I've heard of them breaking, but I know amazon and others have warranties/will replace them. Also, there are plenty of practical or pretty covers for the readers (like look at these ones!

    American Girl Doll:
    When I was in fourth grade, I got one (Samantha) and I LOVED her. However, to be honest, I never played with her all that often and by sixth grade I was definitely over her. They're great dolls though. It's important to remember though, that the price won't just be for the doll, because you're going to end up wanting all their awesome accessories to go along with it. If you go for an American Girl doll, you can always get an ereader a couple of years down the line (and the prices will only go down and their quality will go up). American Girl doll will never get cheaper, lol.

    Anyway, I hope this helped a little. I think either way you pick, you're got a great present coming your way soon :)

    Best, Megan

  3. Sorry for the long post, lol! I didn't realize how long it was until I posted!

    Best, Megan

  4. Wait! The technology is changing fast. You have alot of books to read and you won't be able to get the brand new ones for a while (YA). I am thinking at this point the I pad would be the best because it does more tha just read books. But I stil say WAIT. The E reader could be filled woith the classics for free but the cost of buying new books gets expensvie for someone with no income. Laura remember how great it was to pick up "Little Women" off the $3.00 sale table and put in you hands and read. Love you Grandma Good luck at the 4H fair, Bring home lots of blue ribbons.

  5. Hmmm, Grandma (who now owns a Nook and is reading more lately because she does)says wait. Other friends suggest that you may soon feel differently about dolls. I don't know.

    I do know that asking the questions is a sympton of a wisdom that is not common in someone in your age. I think your Mom was in the sixth grade before we realized she was in most ways already an adult. Your Dad is also an unusally wise man, so I guess its not surprising to find you in the role of "wise not-so-old, non-Latino" (to parody headlines from earlier in the year)at such a young age.

    So, welcome to the world of people who have within them a trustworthy guide of their own. The most common Hindu greeting can be translated as "I see the God within you." As a humanist, I see an individual who has as much to teach the world as she has to learn of the world.

  6. Hey Laura,

    I love your blog. You are an inspiring kid - and I know kids. I used to be a teacher and now I am a children's author/poet. Have you ever read my book - Keep Your Ear on the Ball? I hope so!

    Anyway, on to the topic at hand. I've had a Kindle for over a year, and I love it. I throw it in my bag and take it everywhere. It is sturdy and light to carry. You can shop wirelessly right from the Kindle and books are delivered in under a minute. You can also order free samples of books, if you're not sure you want to buy them. I searched the Kindle Store and there are over 26,000 children's books, that are $10 or less. I hope this helps.


  7. Howdy, Laura --

    I've used several devices over the years to read ebooks, from a Palm Pilot to my Motorola phone. Now I use an iPod Touch. I like it best because it has more than one function. On it, I use Barnes & Noble's eReader platform as well as Amazon's Kindle format (both are available as iPod apps).

    But you already have a reader in mind. As for your other questions...I've read mostly YA and MG for the past two years. I've had better luck finding YA ebooks than MG -- I think YA's just more popular (and not many MG readers have ereading devices). I use a site called Fictionwise, but B&N and Amazon tend to offer e-versions of new books sooner than FW.

    Megan's suggestion to use Project Gutenberg for public domain texts is spot on. And Tracy's $9 price is in the range I've paid. If you subscribe to B&N's ebook newsletter, you'll get coupon offers by email (about once every 1-2 weeks).

    I love using an ereader and have recommended it to a lot of people. Based on what you're reading, you'll probably have the best luck finding very old books and very new books that are popular. If, as you grow older, you start to enjoy adult books, you won't have any trouble finding those. Plus, books are being added every day: many publishers are now putting their "backlist" books out as ebooks because it's cheaper than reprinting them -- and they can make money! :)

    Good luck with your decision!

  8. I recently tried to find the newberry books for an e-reader very few were available. I don't think young adult books are as readily available as best selling adult books. Try seeing if books you would buy are available in digital format. E-readers are great for travel (as already posted) and are durable (as long as you don't drop them). Personally, I just like books. They become collector items. I love dolls! They are also quite collectable. Finally, as someone else said, you can't go wrong with either choice. Let us know what you decide.