True confessions of an e-book reader convert
OK, my mother was right…“Never say never!” I swore up and down that I would never buy an e-reader because I’m strictly a “real book” person. Even though professionally I’m totally immersed in new technology, when it comes to reading for pleasure, I swore I would never give up reading from those old-fashioned objects called books. For goodness sake, I was an English major in college and have spent the last few decades schlepping around my collection of moth-eaten, moldy classics each time I moved to a new location. In fact, one of my greatest pleasures has always been to curl up with a compelling novel after a hard day’s work at the computer salt mines.
But that was yesterday
Today I am a convert, and like most converts, I am passionate about proselytizing my new belief (hence this blog post). I must confess that my main purpose for trying out the e-reader was for professional reasons. I’d been investigating e-book technology, and I’ve created a few just to see what’s involved. So I thought it was only fair to actually dip my toe in the water and buy one (OK – it’s the Nook Color).
Wow – what a shock – I loved it! I thought I’d have a hard time adjusting to the ergonomics of holding the tablet-sized device but, amazingly, it felt completely natural. And what I adore most is the ability to change the font size and have the text flow accordingly (see our blog post entitled Creating e-books and reading them on mobile devices). The ability to significantly enlarge the font size has allowed me to read while I’m on the treadmill – I just prop the thing up on the treadmill’s console and start walking and reading. And this has given me a whole new half hour of uninterrupted leisure reading during my jam-packed day. I also initially thought that the page-turning swipe action would be annoying, but I’ve gotten used to it (just like many years ago when I got used to physically turning pages).
How else do I love my e-book reader? Let me count the ways
On a recent trip to Stockholm, I did not need to lug my usual portable library of books for the eight-hour flights back and forth. This has been my long-standing tradition, and I was glad to dispense with the lugging part and still retain the reading part. Instead of filling a bag full of books, I simply downloaded a bunch of e-books onto my lightweight reader and dumped the device into my purse.
Also on that trip, when they dimmed the lights on the plane, I was able to keep reading without shining the harsh overhead light onto my reading material. I simply flipped the e-reader button to its night setting and voilá, the background turned dark, and the text turned white, and I could easily continue reading without bothering anyone next to me in the flying sardine can.
I also really like the fact that you can search for, highlight, and annotate text. I am a big fan of audio books, but these features are obviously lacking in that medium. With physical books you can, of course, highlight and annotate (if you own the book) but searching is a tedious process. How many times have you wanted to search for something in a book you’ve recently read or in one whose contents you vaguely recall from the past? This happens to me fairly often so it’s a real pleasure to finally have the search capability (which I’ve always had for work documents) now available for leisure reading.
And then there are all the other goodies. My e-reader (like many tablets) comes with WiFi, web access, e-mail access, and a number of apps. I particularly like the e-mail access because it means I don’t have to lug my laptop home every night. And certainly the web access is great because I can get my quick hit of the New York Times every morning without booting up my ancient desktop, masquerading as a paperweight on a cluttered table in my home office.
I could go on singing the praises of the e-reader, but I’ll leave it to you to try for yourself. Right now I have to get back on the treadmill and finish that novel I started on vacation.
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