E-readers Make an Old Christmas Tradition New Again

I used to love getting books for Christmas. I usually only needed one — more than that and I’d have to choose what to read first (although that was a nice problem to have). One of my favorite Christmas pleasures was sitting down with a glass of eggnog after all the presents had been opened and the calls to long-distance relatives to exchange holiday greetings and compare loot had been made, and cracking open a new literary adventure.

I remember becoming totally absorbed in Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones a few years ago and reading almost half the book (quite a feat for a slow reader like me). I also remember being unable to put down The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown or The Dark Half by Stephen King shortly after opening their covers on Christmas Day. A good read transports you away in pleasureable fashion, even if the places you go are dark or unsettling.

This Christmas, the prospect is even more exciting. I gave a Kindle 3G last year, not realizing the market for e-readers was exploding. Now I want one myself, but I’d prefer a Kindle Fire, a Nook Color, or (better still) an iPad. I want to be able to do all those nifty things like surf the internet, read email, and maybe download movies.

But it’s really about being able to read. I have the Kindle app on my laptop, and I enjoy it, but reading a book on the computer isn’t the same as on an e-reader. Nothing will ever replace the tactile sensation of reading a traditional book or that new-paper smell that comes with a new purchase (or the old-paper smell of one bought at a used bookstore).

Smells and feelings aside, e-readers do a pretty good job of replicating the sensation of traditional reading. They are light and easily held in the hand. Turning a page involves swiping the screen.

Best of all, they can hold hundreds, maybe thousands of books in a single, compact space. I don’t have to buy bookshelves and wonder where they will go. E-readers travel easily.

In short, I want one.

The best part about e-readers, though, is that you can get books cheaply. It’s no longer $12 for a paperback you may not like or $27 for a hardcover. Most e-books are between 99 cents and $2.99. Three bucks is low risk. A disappointing book is less disappointing if I was only hoodwinked out of a dollar.

And, of course, there’s the whole eBook revolution that is opening the doors for indie authors like me to publish, sell, and succeed.

If you’re giving an e-reader for Christmas this year, don’t forget to load it with some new eBooks for the recipient. You can get mine for Kindle, Nook, and other formats by clicking on the links.

So, like most Christmases, I’m hoping to curl up with a good book — I’m thinking Sundered by Shannon Mayer — after the festivities have died down on the 25th. Hopefully, I’ll be doing it in a whole new way.


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