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April 18, 2011

Calibre-E-book management

The Kindle Reader (A Young Girl Seated), after Renoir

 by Mike Licht
 When it comes to e-readers, I'm a little behind the times.  I hate reading long text on my computer and have clung to the idea that books with paper pages to flip through my fingers provide a reading experience e-readers can never match.  The smell of a book, the ink on the page, the dog-eared edges my own fingers have worn--those sensual aspects of reading are part of the joy.

What could compete?  A Kindle.  No, it doesn't smell like old book, but the text is as easy on my eyes as any ordinary page.  And the darn thing is so light.  My hands don't cramp when I hold it.  My backpack weighs next to nothing these days--I might even get by with a purse or a hot little messenger bag and still be carrying around a virtual library.  I love it.

And last week I found yet another reason to embrace my e-reader.  Using Calibre e-book management software, I converted my current drafts to MOBI format and loaded them onto the Kindle.  Now, instead of hauling around my laptop or a giant three-ring binder of printed draft pages, I can read my drafts on the Kindle.  Not only does it lighten my load and enable me to work on my drafts almost anywhere, reading them on the Kindle allows me to see my work with a fresh eye.  It looks like every other text on my e-reader.  It doesn't seem like my work, and so, I've been reading it with more acceptance than I usually grant myself.  Because I tend to criticize and over-edit and not accept anything I write as good enough, I think this psychological distancing from my work will help me shape a solid final draft.

Even if you haven't thought about getting an e-reader, I suggest you check out Calibre.  It's free.  It can convert text to multiple e-reader formats, manage your electronic library, and sync with your chosen device.  Or, you can use it to read the e-texts on your computer if you prefer.  You can even use it to fetch news from websites.

Isn't technology great?

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