Writing Awards, eBooks, and other thoughts

So, I’m back from a short vacation and while I was gone most of the major awards, Huge, Nebula, Prix-Aurora, and so on have announced their lists of nominees. There are several stories that I haven’t read in the lists so I’ve been trying to snag the ones that are available. Luckily I have subscriptions to several of the magazines (but haven’t read them all yet, as I have such a huge backlog of unread books and mags). But some of the stories I’ll be reading the online versions. And that’s the problem.

I hate reading stuff on my computer. I spend most of my time in front of the monitor¬† that I like reading somewhere more pleasant. Not that I dislike “digital reading”, quite the contrary I do most of my reading on my iPod or PDA (Dell Axim). So, what’s the problem then? Most of the nominees (not all, thankfully) only have an HTML version of the story. I could certainly setup a wireless access point and connect my mobile devices to the Internet that way, but that’s just annoying. And it leads to my second problem.

I very much dislike the way stories look when formatted online. I’m actually surprised that so many electronic publications exist (and survive) this way… I generally don’t even read free online magazines because I dislike this so much. Scrolling down to read text is just weird, and those sites that format/break their content into multiple pages are generally no better because they involve both scrolling down and pressing links. Just annoying. I much prefer mobi format or something that I can download and read offline.

What I’d love is if more online sites offered both html-viewing (because I’m assuming that some people must be liking this) and a download, whether a pdf, or another book format like mobi. I can certainly do it manually myself, but that just eats into my precious ‘reading’ time. Some more options here might also have the potential of increasing subscribers.;There are several online mags I’d subscribe to if they offered a download in addition to the online reading.

And as an aside, I’m about 25% through all the different award nominees. A stand out so far has been Kij Johnson’s 26 Monkeys (http://www.kijjohnson.com/26_monkeys.htm). The sense of wonder, combined with Aimee’s journey was quite compelling. I’m bad for not remembering writers, even of books I really enjoyed…it took me a few days to discover that Kij also wrote The Fox Woman, which I really enjoyed when I read it a couple years ago.