Monday, December 23, 2013

How your new Kindle or Nook will change your life

A brief guide to e-readers – from downloaded classics you'll never read, to accessing ePub and turning off Popular Highlightsl

Woman with e-reader on tube train
Get an e-reader for Christmas and you may find yourself reading more than ever before. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Small rectangular box under the tree? Here's what you can look forward to if you get an e-reader for Christmas:

■ You will download dozens of free classics that you will never read. That copy of War and Peace you started so enthusiastically on Boxing Day is destined to remain 2% completed.

■ After a close encounter with the pavement you will spend an inordinate amount of time researching e-reader cases. Is the leather-bound cover designed to look like a first edition of Pride and Prejudice adorable or desperately twee?

■ You will Google "can I read Kindle books on a Nook?" or "how to read ePub books on my Kindle".

■ You will make multiple impulse buys while listening to Radio 4.

Ebooks over £5.99 will seem really expensive. Sure, you get that you're paying for the words, the editing and so on. But, well, it's still not a real book, is it?

■ You will soon realise that most ebooks under £1.99 are rubbish, especially when by an author you've never heard of.

■ You will feel a twinge of guilt when you read of the demise of independent bookshops.

■ You will discover that some books just don't work on an e-reader. Thinking of downloading Christmas smash hit Letters of Note? Don't bother: you'll end up envying your relative's nicely designed hardback.

■ You will become an expert on the book industry. Hey, wouldn't it make sense for publishers to give away the e-copy with the print version?

■ You will accidentally turn on Popular Highlights and wonder why on earth anyone would want to see what strangers had underlined.

■ You will rejoin your local library so you can borrow ebooks, then give up when you realise how complicated it is.

■ You will read more than you've read in your life – until the novelty wears off, anyway

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