The Lesbian Lit is Online: To Buy or Not to Buy an Ereader?

After my post wondering where to find lesbian writers and their works, I was thrilled when several authors, like Paula Napier (Salt Spray) and Rachel Eyre (The Governess), let me know about their books. The problem? Their books are both only available as Kindles. And I don’t have one.

I like reading physical books, palming their heft and weight, feeling the grit of the paper.  Hardcovers are rather pricey but they have a sense of importance and permanence. Paperbacks are more affordable, portable, and easy to pass around and share. The books on my shelves are the contents of my mind (more or less) and each one tells a story. I always beeline to a new acquaintance’s bookshelf. You can tell a lot about a person by what they read.

So an ereader didn’t have much appeal. I like the idea of them—the lower prices, the ease and immediacy of purchasing, the number of books, magazines, etc., available on one small device—but I sit in front of a computer for work all day. Reading on a screen, even an e-ink one, felt a lot like work. Ugh. I’m also not comfortable pledging allegiance to a particular retailer.

But am I missing out? As digital publishing and self-publishing has boomed, there are so many more books only available as an ebook that I can’t access with any ease, particularly by new, little known, or as yet undiscovered lesbian writers.

To buy an ereader or not to buy an ereader?

For those of you who have ereaders, check out these suggestions from autostraddle for under $5 titles. (and most, like I Can’t Think Straight, are available as physical books, too!).


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8 Responses to The Lesbian Lit is Online: To Buy or Not to Buy an Ereader?

  1. Kim says:

    Hey Julia! I know how much pleasure I get from a physical book, it just can’t translate to an e-reader. That said, as I now live where books are incredibly expensive (average $29 for a paperback, $45-50 for a hardback) my book buying habits have changed drastically. I still buy just as many books as I used to but I do it in very different ways. If it’s a hardcover book of an author I really like/collect I will get it from Amazon. Few books that are published in the States or UK in hardcover are ever printed in hardback here. Even with the shipping charges added on it is still cheaper to get books from Amazon than to buy them new here. And of course new titles in the US and UK can take a very long time to even make their way down here, if at all. We have a great used bookstore in Auckland that gets a tremendous variety of books so I check out her selection regularly. And for books I know I probably won’t read more than once, and don’t feel any need to keep hold of, an e-book works well. That portability for travel is a very big plus. Obviously as long as we have options we’ll choose what works for us best, I’m just happy I have access to all my favorite writers and new ones to find.

  2. Kim says:

    P.S. Janet loves her kindle……

  3. Liz says:

    You know I am an AVID ebooks reader so be warned: biased. 🙂 You don’t need a device if you don’t want one; all major retailers have free apps. With that said, I found ebook reading lifechanging in terms of ease when traveling and commuting, which is all the time. I remember with a shudder those days of packing for the commute with a hardcover I’d ALMOST finished and then a NEW one, so, maybe 4-5 lbs just of books.

    You can also get ebooks out of the library – there’s a wait (they have to keep friction in somehow) but it’s a good way to try books you’re not sure you’ll like.

    I’ve also found that I tend to buy more books now; the average price of ebooks seems to hit some sweet spot where my desire to support authors and the ease of purchase overwhelms my thrifty desire to go to the library or borrow from a friend.

    Just sayin’. Carrie has my Nook Tablet now, but I have the Simple Touch and am absolutely in love. (Would also be good for manuscripts! No more printing & lugging!)

    • Readers, I bought a Kindle. Like Casey, I’m not altogether thrilled with aligining myself with one particular retailer and it hasn’t arrived yet so I have no idea whether or not I’ll actually like reading on it but I am excited to check it out and decide for myself. So more to come! Thanks for all of the comments, feedback and experiences. All really helpful!

  4. I share a lot of the same misgivings about ereaders! I don’t think I’ll be getting one anytime soon. I also know a lot of small, independent publishers (especially Canadian ones) don’t have ebooks, and those are often the publishers whose books I want to read! I’d like to support these kinds of publishers instead of the big multi-national conglomerates.

  5. Pingback: Lesbrary Link Round Up: August 2-7 « The Lesbrary

  6. Suzanne Stroh says:

    Books are marvelous objects, absolutely. Ebooks will never have the same pleasures, and their own pleasures may well be of a lesser order. But as Liz points out, they’re a new way to engage with writing. I just read the novel you recommended, The Last Nude by Ellis Avery, on Kindle and I have to say that I cannot imagine my pleasure in that being anything less than what it was. So I’m pretty open to this brave new world, but I get why you (and so many of my friends) want to draw the line at bound books. However you read them, though, we’re all happy you’re writing about it here!

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