NPR logo The Anti-Kindle eBook Option


The Anti-Kindle eBook Option

I like the idea of getting access to literature online but I haven't been enamored with the idea of spending 300 or more bucks to buy an Amazon Kindle. The latest debacle over the recall of 1984 made me feel more likely to resist the call of the Amazon universe (audio story).

Today, I made a visit to an alternative world for eBooks. For my book group I'm reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories. I was thinking how great it would be to be able to do a bit of reading while on the go. The best place for that would be my Blackberry since I always have it with me.

Recently, I learned about a website called Shortcovers. I found a wide selection of eBooks there for purchase. What is really great is that I don't need to have a particular device to read these books. My copy is stored online and I can access it from any Internet connected device— my laptop, my desktop, my Blackberry, my iPod touch. Another upside to Shortcovers is that if you step on a plane and no longer have access to the Internet you can download the book onto your device.

On you can purchase e-books to be placed on any mobile device. Screenshot, Ryan Kellett/NPR hide caption

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Screenshot, Ryan Kellett/NPR

The downside to Shortcovers is that it still isn't great to read a book on a laptop or Blackberry. But, a reliable source says that Shortcover books will soon be accessible on Sony's eReader.

Shortcovers is an offshoot of the Canadian bookseller Indigo. Indigo is considered the Barnes and Noble of Canada.

I admit I'm still a lover of the physical paper book. I want to turn the pages and hear them crinkle under a lamplight by my bed. One thing that bothers me about the Shortcovers model is that I still had to buy a paper copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories along with the eBook and that cost me a total of 25 bucks. But, I'm liking the fact that Shortcover lets me pick my device instead of doing what Amazon has done by keeping me tethered to their Kindle and their bookstore. The universe I'd like to see is one in which I can buy a physical book and then for a few extra dollars I can also own an online copy.

Hey publishers out there, what do you think of that idea?