Jenn the Greenmom would really love to start reading more again...someday...when there's time...It's sort of fascinating to me...here we all are, Greenfolk who want to get back to what's real and natural and of the earth, cooking real food and obtaining what will last and not throwing things away, caring for the planet and for ourselves (and realizing we can't do one without the other!), focusing on what's solid and tangible and simple...and yet our medium of conversation and communication is virtual and highly technology-dependent. I have absolutely no difficulty embracing this quasi-paradoxical reality wherein I sit at a computer for hours but won't buy grocery store bread, but I sometimes look at my self and go, "Hmmm. What's this about?" And the book thing seems to be where the two realities sort of clash sometimes; we blogger-types love the technology, love communicating via the written word in real time anywhere we choose, but so many of us--myself included--feel this real connection to books in print, on paper. Solid, tangible, and simple.
This article over at Eco-Salon intrigued me:
For the record, I do not yet have a Kindle, or a Nook, or any of the various e-reader formats available out there. I do have an iPhone, for which I did download Kindle for iPhone as well as a few other readers (Stanza is another free reader app with access to a huge number of free books), and I do use it quite a lot. But that's still sort of different from the actual dedicated e-reader gadget.
The Eco-Salon article details a lot of the pros and cons of the machines, so I won't go into that here...but I'm curious if any of you have them, and what you think of them?
I have to admit, I really enjoy having the ability to read novels and stories on my iphone. The little Kindle app is very intuitive and easy to use, and I love the ability to download samples of books before actually buying them. I'm trying to not go crazy on it, or buy too much, but I recently purchased the latest Stephen King short story collection (honestly, I have loved King's short stories since college--there are some real gems of writing in there, amidst the Grossness) and have gotten a couple of other things as well. I'm not a complete convert--my bedside reading usually involves paper and actual typeface, as does my schoolwork and research (though I'm finally getting better at reading articles onscreen and not automatically printing every pdf I run into), but there are enough times when I'm just Out somewhere and need something to read--the dentist's office, the airport, whatever--that I really love having the app.
I love books, real books...but I semi-secretly covet my neighbor's Kindle.
I was intrigued to read this Eco-geek article about LG's solar-powered e-reader, which is not only a plus in terms of carbon footprint in production but doesn't need the grid to charge (unfortunately it's not due for release till 2012 or so, and between now and then the iPad will be appearing and probably doing to/for our expections for e-readers about the same kind of thing the iPhone did for our expections for cell phones)...and this Cleantech Group report about the actual carbon analysis of the units is a good thing to read too...
If the e-readers weren't so bloody expensive, I'd probably go ahead and get one. But at the moment spending $250 on something that will enable me to spend more money on books rather than using my public library is not something I'm prepared to do.
Which brings us to my other area of interest: how public library lending of e-books works, and whether anyone lives someplace where they can take advantage of it. Project Gutenberg is one very cool site where lots of great material is available, and I've downloaded a buttload of material from them. The World Ebook Library has an annual membership fee of $8.95/year (yes, that's per year) for access to their collection; I may go for it to see what it's got, although it looks like what you download from them is in the form of pdf files rather than e-book formats. A number of public library systems seem to have e-book lending in their capabilities, although mine does not yet. Anyone use a library lending e-book kind of system at the moment? How does it work? Are books under copyright actually included as possible downloads, or is it only public domain stuff?
--Jenn the Greenmom