Category Archives: eBooks

Typos and Errors Up Close

Too many mistakes! (Excuse the bad word.)

I love reading e-books on my Kindle; it’s so darned handy! The device itself is small enough to carry in my purse. I always use it when I have a solo lunch gig (it has the Chipotle guacamole stains as proof).

But for some reason I seem to notice typos and grammatical errors so much more with my electronic book version (not that I haven’t taken a red pencil a time or two to an actual print book, of course). Maybe it’s because the type is bigger.

The three mistakes on this page of the e-book I just finished (“Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Bill Walker, which isn’t as good as his “Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail”) pretty much put me over the top. I just had to snap a photo of it with my iPhone and use the Photoshop red brush to correct it.

First, the singular verb doesn’t agree with the plural noun in the caption. Then there’s the ridiculously common “it’s” error: “Its” is the possessive; “it’s” is the contraction for “it is.” How hard is that to remember? And, finally, at least one word was left out of the penultimate sentence, which really is poorly written (I would’ve opted for “. . . we had 650 miles to go to reach Canada.”)

Am I the only one who notices these kinds of blunders? Or perhaps I’m the only one who takes a photo and then edits them in Photoshop. Maybe I need to suggest that the next Kindle version comes complete with electronic red pencil for correcting those typos and grammar and punctuation slip-ups.

“Dear Amazon.com: I have a great idea for an improved Kindle!”

Advertisements

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Who owns this book?

See this Janet Evanovich novel? Guess where it is . . . or, rather, where it was.

Lovin’ my little Kindle!

On my $79 Kindle . . . but only for two weeks.

I’ve read the entire Stephanie Plum series over the years. Some books I borrowed (thanks, Diane!), while others I bought. But even though I’ve enjoyed the novels, I’ve felt like Evanovich has been spinning her wheels for the last five or six books. (When will Stephanie finally choose Joe or Ranger?) So while I still want to read the series (I’m hooked for the duration), I want to keep it a cheap vice.

Enter the public library! Ours allows patrons to download certain books (not a great selection yet) to all kinds of electronic devices . . . including Kindles. The loan is only for two weeks (the book disappears after that), but, fortunately, the Plum novels are quick reads.

I recently finished up “Smokin’ Seventeen” (with a few days to spare). I loved that I have less clutter, and, of course best of all, that my cost was zero dollars.

Now I can’t wait for the library to get in “Explosive Eighteen” (which came out on November 22) for me to borrow!

E-Bookin’ It in Cheap Style

This was the original Kindle.

About four years ago, a new tech toy winked at me, beckoning me to buy it. I almost gave in to the temptation of that clunky-looking e-reader, the Amazon Kindle. But I held off because the price tag was a whopping $399. And you still had to buy e-books!

As Amazon refined the Kindle and kept lowering the price, I continued to resist its siren song, because it still cost too much. Plus I figured that Apple was going to bring out a product I’d probably prefer.

Sure enough, Apple debuted its iPad in the spring of 2010, featuring its own e-book app, iBooks, and the iBookstore. UPS delivered mine that April, and I’ve used it virtually every day since for everything from browsing the web to checking and replying to e-mail to, of course, reading books. I’ve been a very happy camper.

Meet my new tech baby!

And then last week Amazon decided to get serious with the Kindle. They introduced new models and lower price points. One of those newbies instantly caught my eye. Dubbed the “Kindle” (how clever!), it’s a mere six inches wide and weighs less than six ounces.

But the best part? The cost: Only $79! This version does include ads, but they don’t show up while you’re reading. Plus they can be worthwhile. I took advantage of the first one I saw, which was for $5 off almost anything priced $10 or more. Now my cute Kindle’s new cover is even cheaper!

An impetus to buy a Kindle was my experience with the Mister’s keyboard model, which his buddy Eddie Wayne bought for him. It’s so easy to use . . . even for the tech-challenged Mister.

So far, I really like reading on my Kindle. I will admit that when I turned it on, my first impulse was to increase the brightness control . . . which it doesn’t have. It looks nothing like an iBook on my backlit iPad. The E-ink technology and having to use side buttons to turn pages takes getting used to (I’m a swiper).

Then again, e-books are so different from the real thing, which I miss sometimes. You can’t easily figure out how close you are to end of the chapter, for one. And I always like when the left side of the book becomes bigger than the right, as you close in on the end.

But e-books don’t collect dust and clutter up bookshelves. Plus you can have them at your fingertips on any e-reader, whether it’s a Kindle, iPhone, or iPad. They’re definitely part of my future.

Chapter one is ready for me!

Especially the book that I’m eager to start once I finish the autobiography I’m currently reading—Harlan Coben’s new young-adult novel, “Shelter.” I can’t wait for Harlan to grab me by the neck and pull me through yet another well-written thriller.

This time on my new, little Kindle.

A Love Letter

Who can resist that little, golden smile?

Dear Amazon.com:

Thank you so much for making gift-giving easier for me this Chanukah season. My older son is away at college, and I wasn’t sure what to buy him for some of the eight nights. But by selecting the Kindle edition of a book I thought would interest him, I discovered that I could—with one mere click—give it as a gift right to him! I just typed in his e-mail address, and voilá!—it was in his inbox ready to be downloaded.

My #1 son loves nonfiction baseball books.

Making the gift of an ebook so simple meant that my son didn’t feel left out of our Chanukah tradition. And a procrastinator like me could shop at the last minute yet still give him his present on time.

He especially likes to read about old-time baseball.

Easy-peasy digital downloading is great! And now he won’t be cluttering up his already-dusty dorm room with books. I love you, Amazon.com!

Hope you don’t mind that he’ll be reading those ebooks using the Kindle app . . . on his iPad.

eBookin’ It—An Update

The first eBook I finished—finally!

The first eBook I finished—finally!

Memory search time . . . I’ll wait while you get yours turned on (mine, sad to say, has been on “off” too much this summer). Remember this blog post? Way back in March (on the 10th, to be exact) I wrote about eBook week.

Sidebar: For those of you not hip with tech lingo, “eBooks” are electronic books read on your smartphone, Kindle, or computer.

I claimed in that post that I was going to finish “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead,” the Saralee Rosenberg book I bought from Amazon using the free Kindle app for the iPhone, that week. Yes, friends, it was I, your friendly, neighborhood, procrastinator, who blithely said I’d read 352 pages on a small, handheld device that doubles as a phone in a mere seven days.

Sidebar: I’ve polished off the 700-plus-pages Harry Potter books in a couple days, but those are totally different—mesmerizing and addicting, impossible to put down. And they’re physically big novels! I’m not sure how fast I would’ve read them on my iPhone’s small screen.

Needless to say, it took me a tiny bit longer than a week to read my eBook, where “tiny bit” = three months. I read the novel when I was out and about, usually in line and waiting for service. I loved having a book always at the ready so I didn’t get bored. And I relished “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead!” Rosenberg did tie all the loose ends up in a neat, tidy bow, but I truly enjoyed the plot and the characters. I would definitely read another book by her . . . on my iPhone!

"Fade Away," my second eBook

"Fade Away," my second eBook

But right now I’m reading my second eBook, “Fade Away,” Harlan Coben‘s third Myron Bolitar mystery, thanks to my friend Diane, my neighborhood crack book dealer. First, she got me hooked on the laugh-out-loud Janet Evanovich series (which, by the way, needs to come to a satisfactory end in next year’s 16th book; this series has gone about three books too long). Then, about a year ago, she lent me Coben’s first two Bolitar novels. I put off reading them until a couple months ago.

Why in the world did I wait so long? Coben is a master at the tightly-written, edge-of-your-seat mystery. He’s the type of writer who casually throws out the bait, patiently sets up the intriguing plot and characters, and finally hooks you so hard that you can’t put the book down until you’ve finished. Now the Mister is reading Coben’s first book, “Deal Breaker.”

Once I finished Rosenberg’s book, I quickly went to amazon.com and bought “Fade Away” for the Kindle. I’m a couple chapters into it, and already I’m hooked. The biggest negative to the eBook is that I can’t just hand it to the Mister or anyone else. We would need to buy a Kindle in order to share the book, which might not be such a bad idea (I always love an excuse for an expensive, electronic purchase!).

Hey, Mister! Guess what I’d like for my upcoming birthday!!

Speaking of expensive, electronic purchases

The new Apple iPhone 3GS

The new Apple iPhone 3GS

Guess who has a new iPhone?!? I’ve loved the original iPhone since the Mister surprised me with it for my birthday two Augusts ago. I managed to ignore last year’s iPhone 3G, but this year’s 3GS was too much for my weakness for new electronics to overcome. I simply wanted more speed in my smartphone; the Edge network and the original iPhone processor are too pokey for me.

I’ve had the 3GS for almost a week now, and I love it! What a difference in speed!! Kind of like comparing my Honda Pilot to a Porsche, I’d imagine. And I especially love reading my Harlan Coben eBook on it! I’m eBookin’ as I’m iPhonein’!

eBookin’ It

iphone-kindle-app

Oh, oh . . . I could be in trouble! BIG eTrouble!

I learned via Brad’s Reader that this is Read an eBook Week. I have the eReader app on my iPhone, but I have yet to finish reading a book using it. Maybe it was the choice of novel, maybe it was the app, maybe I’m just not the kind of gal who digs that kind of commitment to electronic media. But when I saw that Amazon.com had released a Kindle app for the iPhone and iPod Touch followed hard on its heels by Read an eBook Week, I knew I had to see what this Kindle/eBook mania was all about.

kindle-frontMy baby brother, the big shot Chicago lawyer, was an early eReader adapter. He started with Sony’s eReader and then moved on to the original Kindle. Little bro is a big reader on trains, planes, but probably not in automobiles, and he loved the idea of yet another electronic gadget. He’s told me how much he enjoys his Kindle. I’d probably love one, too (as would the #1 son, who has been reading since he was three years old), but I’m a bit put off by the price tag: $359. Ouch! I am one of those types who likes feeling a book in her hands, smoothing out the pages as I turn them. But I also think it would be cool to wirelessly download books and have them on the Kindle in a matter of minutes. And think of the clutter one would be without! No books all over the house . . . not that that describes anyone’s house we know.

Of course, that “got to have it NOW” mindset can get one in major eTrouble! Amazon.com, which is one of my favorite eMerchants, makes the buying process so darned easy that getting carried away would be a natural for yours truly. I put the whole process to the test last night.

humorous-short-storiesFirst, I found the Kindle store on Amazon.com. Next I tried to buy the cheapest book I could, because I didn’t want to make a big investment in something I couldn’t share with others (I probably can with the #1 son, though, once he downloads the Kindle app to his iPod Touch). I opted for “The Best American Humorous Short Stories” for 80 cents. The purchase is made via computer or by mobile Safari on the iPhone with Amazon’s notorious 1-Click Ordering (that’s where that eTrouble can happen! It’s too easy!) and is virtually instantaneously sent to your iPhone. I touched the Kindle app on my iPhone, and there was one of the worst books ever to be published in the world! Not even worth 80 cents!!

dear-neighbor-drop-deadKind of frustrated me! So I tried again, realizing that I had to spend more to get more. This time I bought “Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead” by Saralee Rosenberg for $8.76. It looks like my kind of novel—a humorous take on the suburbs. I’ve already started reading it, and the process doesn’t seem too limiting. It is a lot of swiping to turn the pages, and you can only read in portrait mode, not landscape (unlike the eReader app). What’s nice about having reading material on an iPhone is that it’s so handy! If you’re stuck in a line at the grocery store or bank, take out your iPhone, touch the Kindle app, and start reading. It remembers where you left off! I might even be able to get more reading done, as long as the iPhone’s battery doesn’t go dead.

Rosenberg’s book is 352 pages; I’m going to try to finish it this week, so I can have a full report by Monday. I probably won’t read it when I’m eating, though, so I don’t get food stuff all over my iPhone (I feel sorry for my books sometimes; so many guacamole spots from reading while eating at Chipotle!). I think my main get ’er done for today will be reading on my iPhone . . . got to take one for the blog!