I recently bought my first ereader, a Nook Color. I was a little afraid of it at first (new technology!) but now that I have the hang of the thing, I really love it. It's sort of like a combination ereader/tablet notebook, with Internet browsing capability and apps that even allow you to read Word and Excel files on it, among other things. It costs a little more than the low end ereaders, but that touch screen tablet-style functionality is exactly what I was looking for, at a much lower price than an Android tablet or an iPad.
That said, I have been reading ebooks long before I got an ereader. I used Adobe Digital Editions, a free application that works on your PC. Unfortunately, it won't read Kindle books. But that's okay—Kindle also offers a free app for PC. (Kindle for Mac is more problematic—see below).
Which is getting me around to my point. As any of you who've read my blog in the last couple of months know, I recently self-published a couple of novels in ebook format only. Right now, I have no plans to make them available in print because the cost would be prohibitive, nullifying my reasons for choosing to self-publish in the first place. But that doesn't mean that those of you without an ereader can't buy them and read them.
There are at least two and a half good programs for computer that allow you to purchase, download and read books on your PC or Mac. Best of all, these programs also allow you to move those downloaded books to your new ereader if you buy one. (Well, in the case of Kindle, I believe you'll have had to downloaded the file as a Kindle first).
All the books I downloaded to my Adobe Digital Editions program on my computer are now safely on my Nook, readable (though in the case of some older .pdf files, not perfectly formatted).
So if you haven't yet bought an ereader (and maybe you're not sure you will), but you still want to buy ebooks that you can't buy in other formats—such as the Harlequin Treasury books now available in ebook only—you can do it. All you need is a computer and the free apps available.
Hey, I'll even help you out! Here are the links so you can check the programs out yourself:
Nook for PC
Nook for Mac
Kindle for PC
Kindle for iPad
Kindle for iPod Touch/iPhone
Adobe Digital Editions for PC or Mac
As you can see, if you own a Mac desktop machine or Macbook, you may have problems with Kindle unless you also have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. But the Nook for Mac option takes care of that, and the epub format offered by Barnes and Noble (Nook's parent company) is readable on other ereaders such as Kobo and Sony readers.
I'm not trying to proseletyze against paper books. I love paper books. I have shelves and shelves of them at home and one in my purse right now. But with so many authors putting their books out themselves in ebook format, controlling content as never before in ways that I believe readers would truly enjoy, I hate to see anyone missing out on the fun, especially when there are cheap, easy ways to get your hands on these stories.
Do you own an ereader? If not, have you tried software such as Kindle for PC or Adobe Digital Editions?