e-readers (Kindle, etc.) and finances - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 07-25-2010, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am thinking about getting my sil an e-reader for her birthday, but her household is on a tight budget and I'm wondering if this would be a practical gift. If you own one, does it seem like there enough free books available so that she wouldn't have to buy them? Also does the amount of free titles vary from one brand to the next? Thanks
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#2 of 17 Old 07-25-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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Our library has on-line books to download, but they won't work on the Kindle (they will on the Nook). The selection isn't bad, but they limit the number you can have out. It also seems like the books I want to read are never available immediately (though I can request them and wait for a "copy" to become available). You might want to check the library your sister would use to see what they have... Barnes and Noble sometimes offers free books, but they've mostly been classics (at least since I bought my Nook a couple of months ago).
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#3 of 17 Old 07-25-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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I grabbed my mom's Kobo (she won't use it unless she's travelling; was a mother's day present). It came with 100 preloaded classics.

There are free ebooks available as promos from various sites, but the quality is suspect sometimes.

As for library downloads, yes she can access those - the libraries have a few licences per book, and they expire (and the book 'disappears') once the borrowing time is done. Lots of ebook readers had issues with the downloads due to inability to change the font size (think microscopic) but Kobo just (like a week or two ago) sent out a software fix to deal with that, so it might be resolved. I haven't checked. I downloaded the fix and I'm excited about it.

There are 'bargain' books like you would see at any bookstore, that have gone on sale for one reason or another (like, 99c books, etc.)

On the whole I've found buying ebooks similar to shopping for hardcovers. Sometimes more expensive. But if you're good about sourcing the cheaper/free ones, dealing with the library font issue, or want to read scarce/out of print books, I find the reader is great for that.

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#4 of 17 Old 07-25-2010, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That does help. Thank you. I guess I'll talk to my local library and see what they have available. We live in a rural area so I'm not sure if they are up to speed, so to speak, with technology yet.
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#5 of 17 Old 07-27-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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I have a Kindle and there is a lot of free material available for it. A person could read for years on free material alone and not get through it all. That said, I think that some reading tastes are going to appreciate the free material more than others. Some genres are represented in greater numbers: older books and classics that have passed into the public domain; romance novels of all stripes; books by new/independent authors are all well-represented. If your SIL is more into bestsellers, history, or newer science, she may not find as much.

Would it be possible for other family members to give her Amazon gift cards? Even small amounts add up and she could buy a few books to get her started. She might also want to sign up for something like Swagbucks that gives rewards in gift cards.
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#6 of 17 Old 07-27-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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I have the Kindle, and I find that I do pretty well on the free books. As others have mentioned, most are classics, and sometimes you miss out on features the paid books have (like tables of contents and perfect formatting). Then there are free books by writers who aren't well established yet. If she doesn't mind waiting awhile for best sellers, you can get them inexpensively - for example, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest" is running $10, but
I was able to get "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" for $5.99.

I am not able to get books from my local library with the Kindle, which would also help on the cost issue.
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#7 of 17 Old 07-28-2010, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. I'm not exactly sure what she likes to read, but even with all the free books I have a feeling she may be tempted to buy the new ones. I may wait until I get a reader and then we could share. Did Kindle change so that you can share books, or is that feature only available on the Nook?
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#8 of 17 Old 07-28-2010, 05:29 PM
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Does she want an e-reader? Personally I just like "old-fashioned" books.

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#9 of 17 Old 07-28-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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My thoughts on owning an ereader:

I love it, although mostly in theory. I salivated at the thought of getting my hands on my mom's ebook reader for the immediacy of being able to browse a bookstore online and grab the book that minute.

The actual reading process...well, YMMV, but it takes some getting used to. I'm a bibliophile and like the tactile feel of a book, pages, cover, cover art. I also tend to do funny things like flip ahead, flip back, read the end (sometimes ) and I do find the ereaders limiting (claustropohbic, even, in the beginning). Also, it got a little bit to get used to only having 1 page open in front of me instead of 2 - I found the flow was a little disrupted. Can't read in sunlight, and my reader is not backlit for night-time. These may seem like minor things it may make or break the experience KWIM?

The one, biggest downside for me: the fact that I don't have a hardcopy to put on my shelf or lend to friends. But I'm wierd that way...

Upsides: aforementioned immediacy, portability esp. on airplanes...
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#10 of 17 Old 07-29-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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I got a nook b/c it seems to be the most budget friendly. In addition to the scads of free books, there's the lending feature. If you don't have a library that supports it, there's also http://booksfornooks.com/index.php that utilizes lendme.

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#11 of 17 Old 07-31-2010, 04:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom View Post
That said, I think that some reading tastes are going to appreciate the free material more than others. Some genres are represented in greater numbers: older books and classics that have passed into the public domain; romance novels of all stripes; books by new/independent authors are all well-represented. If your SIL is more into bestsellers, history, or newer science, she may not find as much.
And there are so many free Christian novels. Some are pretty good and some are just terrible. I download all the free stuff I can find through Amazon, and then just delete it if I hate it.
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#12 of 17 Old 07-31-2010, 04:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
The actual reading process...well, YMMV, but it takes some getting used to. I'm a bibliophile and like the tactile feel of a book, pages, cover, cover art. I also tend to do funny things like flip ahead, flip back, read the end (sometimes ) and I do find the ereaders limiting (claustropohbic, even, in the beginning). Also, it got a little bit to get used to only having 1 page open in front of me instead of 2 - I found the flow was a little disrupted. Can't read in sunlight, and my reader is not backlit for night-time. These may seem like minor things it may make or break the experience KWIM?
Oh, I know what you mean about claustrophobic. Especially with non-fiction books, I might want to flip back and forth to reference something. You can put book marks and make notes and all that, but it doesn't work for flipping ahead--it feels like you are going in blind in a way, since you don't have all the pages there just for browsing.

iBooks for iPad allows you to orient the book so you get two pages, but you just get fewer words on each page. Still, if I read a book on my iPad, I turn it sideways so I have the feeling of two pages.

If I really like a book, I'm still going to buy it in the hard copy. I think the e-reader (I have a Kindle) is great for books you don't necessarily want to put on your shelf or even have people see you reading. There is something exciting about buying a book at the tocuh of a button, especially when it's an embarrassing book.
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#13 of 17 Old 08-02-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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I have a Nook, so I can only speak from that perspective.. there are a lot of free books, and if I make it into a physical store each week or so, there usually is a deal/downloadable coupon for SOMETHING- a free coffee, another free book (usually something more recent- most of the existing free books are classics imho)..

the thing I like about my Nook is I can use gift cards to download books- I didn't like the idea of downloading books off my credit card.. so gift cards were the answer.. also the lending of books is free- 15 days duration only I think though.. I haven't gotten to "lend" any yet as I am still looking for someone that shares my book interests that owns a nook that is willing to start lending with me..

but there are definitely some free options..

When I got my nook I paid full price (well it was a birthday present from dh) but I had a freezing problem, so I took it in and got a new one, and the deal going then was a free $50 gift card with a new nook, so the store gave me the gift card and a new nook so i got to pick and choose titles I liked just with using the included deal..
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#14 of 17 Old 04-24-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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I agree that printed books are very attractive, and classy, but if you live in smaller place with not much room for books or move often it might be a problem. E-readers are excellent in my opinion, you can always find tons of thrifty books, which is actually cheaper if you are on a tight budget. It all depends....

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#15 of 17 Old 04-24-2011, 12:49 PM
 
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I recently got a Kindle and I have yet to pay for a single book.

 

If your SIL is the type of person who is ok with downloading movies, tv shows or music for free, then she might be ok with this option... a lot of books are available for free as illegal downloads.

 

Before I got the Kindle I would get all my books from the library so for me it would be strange to start paying for something that I was previously getting for free!

 

I totally get that not everyone is comfortable with this option though.


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#16 of 17 Old 04-24-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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You can read library e-books on the Kindle. You just need to transfer them to a programme called Calibre. it also means that you can keep them indefinitely rather than being limited to the two week check out time. You can also use it to share books. I don't have an issue with sharing books I've purchased as I'd do the same with a hard copy.

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#17 of 17 Old 04-25-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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I know the original post is 9 months old, but http://www.booklending.com/ is a site where you can sign up and share Kindle books. I've used it for a few months now, loaned out 6 or 7 books and had at least that many loaned to me. Some publishers are disabling lending now, which is disappointing, but I just go through Amazon and add different books with lending enabled to my "want to borrow" list and it has opened me up to a few new authors.  


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