Saturday, April 16, 2011

Opinions in Stories: My report on how e-Readers are taking over the world

If you believe journalists don't insert their own opinions in their reports, you're sorely mistaken.

Actually, that's not true, but it happened today.

I was scanning headlines on a national news website and saw that e-books out sold paperback and hardback books for the first time ever. Intrigued, I read further and found that in February $90.3 million worth of e-books were sold. More than double from the same month in 2010.

I brought up the news in the morning meeting, and to my surprise, the producers liked the story and wanted me to package it (turn it into a long-form story).

I was enthralled because I find myself preaching the benefits of e-readers at least once a week in my real life. Now I get the chance to do so on TV… stellar.

I love my Kindle. It's easy to read, lightweight, small size, currently has a couple hundred books on it. More than anything it's convenient.

Two exemplifying anecdotes:
1) The Giants' World Series trophy was in Medford and I went to take pictures with it. Knowing the line was going to be long, I stuck my Kindle in my backpocket, and pulled it out, reading while waiting in the hour-long line.
2) The first book I bought (e-book prices tend to be cheaper) and read on the Kindle was The Book of Basketball, an 800-page behemoth. With the Kindle, I can read in bed, hold the book with one hand, balance it on my leg, get comfortable with it. There's no way I'd be able to do that with most traditional books, let alone 15 pounder like The Book of Basketball.

The nay-sayers worry they'll miss the look, feel, nostalgia, smell of traditional books. But I'd argue those sensory stimulations are so enjoyable because they're associated with a pleasurable act -- that is, reading.
But once you start reading on a Kindle, Nook, or iPad, new qualities will be enjoyable. The feel of the plastic casing. The click of "turning pages."

But mostly, it's just the convenience of it all. It's so convenient that it's got me actually reading again. I've read six books in the past two months. You couldn't get me to do that if my grade was dependent on it. But I'm enjoying reading again. And you can't put a price on that.

Well, I paid $179. So there's that.

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