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Ike Adams

Last week’s paper hadn’t been on the street for more than an hour before someone sent me a Facebook message saying they would give up reading before they’d do it on an E-reader. Almost simultaneously another message bearer wanted to know what brand of Android tablet I’d recommend.

As I’ve already mentioned, I have a Kindle Fire that is 12 years newer than my first kindle. Brother Andy is still using the first one. It is over 15 years old, and still running great, on the original battery! It did not have a lighted screen, was only useful for reading books sold by Amazon and we had to use a reading light.

The new Fires (Amazon and Kindle are identical) will run any android/smart phone application as well as serving as book readers and they don’t need a reading lamp. There are at least a dozen other tablet brand names out there, but size was the most important consideration for me. I find the 7 or 8.1 inch screen sizes to be ideal for nighttime reading because they are book page size and much more convenient, size wise, for my particular reading tastes and habits. I have 2 larger (11.5 inch) tablets but it has never occurred to me to try reading a book on one that large. They are simply too cumbersome.

On the other hand, if you insist on reading books that are only printed on paper and can’t find one to borrow, there are dozens of mail order used book stores online. I’ve had better luck finding what I wanted at great prices on ebay. I haven’t bought a paper book for myself in over 10 years but I frequently shop for friends and kin folks. Amazon also has tons of used books but they are usually much higher priced than ebay sellers. Both places will usually have almost any title or author you may be looking for.

I just did ebay searches for 20 different titles, randomly selected off the top of my head. Every title had at least half a dozen listings and every one had at least one listing priced less than $5.00 including shipping and handling. Several were hard cover even at the lowest price point.

I actually saw three different listings for much pricier books with same titles where the sellers claimed that their book had only been read one time and, presumably, that made it worth far more than one that had been read more than once. I have yet to find a book that was good or bad because the paper was fresher or, conversely, showed signs of heavy use.

I have previously touted the advantages of reading digital books, for free, from your local library or one of the free online libraries but I must confess that I get far more books from online book sellers than do from the libraries. My kids usually give me Amazon gift cards that add up to over $200.00 each year. Most of it goes to authors like Robyn Carr, Carla Neggers, Donna Leon, Elizabeth George or some other author whose latest book will not be available at the library without getting in a 6 months waiting line.

I’ve also acquired a couple or 300 titles from BookBub.com, a free and/or heavily discounted seller. At least once a week I will get a free kindle title, read a couple pages and decide it’s not my dose of medicine.

Deleting the entire book takes less than 2 seconds. On the other hand, I often find free books that I can’t put down. Invariably they will turn out to be one in a series of anywhere from three to more than a dozen titles that continue a story line. I will wind up spending anywhere from $10 to $200 buying and reading the entire series. I have never once regretted getting hooked by that first freebie.

Jan Karon’s “The Mitford Years”, a 13 books, series started out as a freebie and easily cost me over $200 between 2005 and 2017. Sometimes touted as “religious” books, I think of them as simply clean and very entertaining reading. They certainly are not sermons. The lead character does happen to be a preacher but he spends scarce time in the pulpit.

Set in fictional, rural, Mitford North Carolina, two of the main characters, an adolescent boy and girl will appeal to young readers and a large cast of eccentric town folks will appeal to adult readers. If you don’t find yourself realizing that you know someone like some of the “laugh out loud” characters, you have lead a very, very sheltered life.

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