Sunday, September 05, 2010

Kobo ereader

I bought a Kobo ereader on the weekend for the family. A self-purchased father's day gift. It was sold to us by the lovely Jess at Carlton Borders - I do think the Red Group should spring for a few readers to share among the staff.

I was surprised to discover that my Kobo account didn't synch with the ereader and I had to open a new Borders account - irritating. It would have been nice if the time zone on the device had been selected already and that it had come charged. Apart from those things it was a pretty smooth exercise to charge and open an account and load the first book.

Miles (11 years) has taken over the reader for himself to read the fifth book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, which he has been absolutely hanging out for. (Nothing like a new book to drive a series.) I've seen him reading ereader for most of the weekend: at dinner, standing in the corridor, on the couch and in the car. Quizzed he said he thinks he likes it better than paper. (That's a drink for some else.) And he's even thinking of reading one or two of the classics that came preloaded.

When I looked through what was available from Kobo in children's literature only two out of the five Skulduggeries were available and only two out three of the Hunger Games. It'll give me more confidence in the whole ebook exercise when these sort of availability glitches are ironed out.

I'm looking forward to giving it a try. It's light and the type is easy to read and approximates the feel of paperback in the hand. The iPad (which I lovely) by comparison is bigger and much heavier. Miles would have like the ereader to have also played audio books. That would, in fact, be rather nice.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Kobo ereader availabiltiy

Curiously, the first and the third book of the Hunger Games is available from Kobo as an ebook, but not the second. (i'm reading the third on my iPhone, an it will be the second book I've ever read on my iPhone. But Mockingjay is not showing the strength of plot of the Hunger Games.) That could be frustrating for someone. Who was managing those rights?

Don't throw the book out with the social media

Seth Godin said recently of publishing and of books: “I like the people, but I can’t abide the long wait, the filters, the big push at launch, the nudging to get people to go to a store they don’t usually visit to buy something they don’t usually buy, to get them to pay for an idea in a form that’s hard to spread.”

I think he's missing the point. He's fallen in love with the glitter of immediacy. Books aren't an elegant way of spreading ideas. They are an elegant way of understanding ideas - in depth. They're a much more solitary and personal experience than social media. Social media is fast fun and flexible, but it's about grasping something now. If we only have social media we'll have a broad and shallow culture. They're curl-up-in-front-of-the-fire-on-a-peaceful-rainy-Sunday-afternoon. They're about creating a space in a busy world. They're about creating something that will last. Social media complements but can't replace the function of books. Did TV replace radio? People seek more ways to express themselves not less.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Henry David Thoreau on the Melbourne Writer's Festival

"Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind."

From On Walden Pond