Last week a friend of mine loaned me a book to read and I was somewhat surprised. Not so much by the gesture, for my friend is quite generous, but by my reaction to his offer. I realized that I have become more comfortable with eBooks and eReaders than with volumes of dead trees.
Do you remember the way the apes in Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, reacted to the black monoliths? That was how I felt looking at the printed book, trying to remember the last one that I read.
The Times, They are a Changin’
I started using the Kindle app on my iPod back in late 2010 after I decided to get my feet wet and read an eBook. In the beginning I was nervous about losing my place in the book between readings and not having my device with me when I wanted to read my book.
The Amazon app for Apple devices is easy to use. I learned to bookmark my place and to highlight memorable passages. This led to me carrying the iPod as a matter of routine and no matter where I went, I had a compact book to read.
The keyword here is “compact”. Small fonts on small screens are a problem for aging eyes on the older iPod/iPhone platform. I learned how to increase the size of the font and had to put up with fewer words on the screen/page. This slowed down my reading speed on the pocket-sized device, but had no effect when I used my iPad. More Real Estate on the Screen = More Words per Screen + Faster Reading Speed.
I got an iPhone in 2011 and this has become my default eReader because it is always with me. Amazon has made life simple with the Kindle’s Whispersync feature which syncs all devices to the last page read. I can read a book on my phone while I am out and about then continue where I left off when I switch to reading on my computer or iPad at a later time.
The Circle Game
Apple (iBooks) and Amazon (Kindle) have had their share of legal problems lately. Both companies received fines and had to compensate consumers.
Over the last year or so I have noticed that the prices of eBooks have been creeping higher and staying there longer. Used books seem to be a cheaper alternative to the eBook version of many publications, especially the classics.
I have reached my current age without once reading Ernest Hemingway. Last week I picked up a copy of The Sun Also Rises for a third of the price of a Kindle version.
The paperback is thin and easy to read when I cool down on the treadmill or stationary bike at the gym. I do not worry about dropping and breaking it like I would if I used my iPad to read.
Time to Chime In
Life is chock full of choices and, sadly, one size does not fit all.
I am interested in hearing your experiences at this juncture in history:
- Do you prefer eBooks, or printed books?
- What kind of experience have you had with an eReader?
- For the published authors out there: What is the paper/plastic (electronic) experience like?