Thursday, April 28, 2011

From pages to screen

Before my extended trip to Hong Kong, I decided that I should get an e-reader. When I have time I read a lot. As much as 1 – 2 novels a week. There was no way I would (even if I could) carry that many hard copy books with me going or coming.

In 1998 when I had an extended stay in France I did take quite a few books. I had received a book allowance for graduate school and was able to use that to buy titles for the trip. I donated several of the books to the English library at a French university. The staff of the library had let me read books there – at first, because I had no status there (not student, not faculty) they would only let me read in the library. Eventually I was able to take books overnight. I so appreciated that – and it helped me study for my exam in graduate school the following semester.

Anyway, I’m just saying that I’ve carted books overseas before and they’re heavy. It’s not practical.

This time, I started looking at e-readers. But my practical side kicked in. I really didn’t want to quickly decide on an e-reader without more time to research and well, delay the decision. I also started to understand that while I love web-based tech-related things like new social sites and multimedia tools, I am not really an early device adopter. I have an older laptop, an old iPhone and whenever a new thing comes out, I’d rather wait. I love playing on new devices and getting to know why they’re cool, but I don’t necessarily want to take them home right away.

I like to wait until the next generation comes out and I can get a deal on the first one.

So I didn’t buy an e-reader.

One of the other factors in my decision was that I just do not want one more device to carry around. I usually have an iPhone, a BlackBerry and a laptop. The electronics can weigh me down.

Just before I left I downloaded the Kindle app for iPhone. I bought one book – Victor LaValle’s Big Machine, and crossed my fingers that I would enjoy or tolerate reading on the phone screen.

I wasn’t able to try it out until a couple of weeks into my trip. But when I did, I really liked it. I’m sure reading on a bigger screen is better in some ways. I know that carrying one less thing is better for me right now.

And I can use what I would have paid for a Kindle to buy lots of e-books. That I love.


Ernessa T. Carter said...

We're like opposites! I got a first gen Kindle, then turned around and got a first gen iPad. I have the Kindle app on my phone, but I just can't bear reading on that small a screen. I'll say that the iPad is also nice on trips, b/c you can play videos on it. When my 60-something uncle was visiting and we were w/o cable for a couple of days, he fell asleep watching an old western on my iPad. Also, if all else fails w/ my daughter when we're out and about, I just put Yo Gabba on the iPad and let her watch that while I finish my errands or my meal. Totally worth the price tag, and it was my best friend during my summer and fall book tours.

Literary Marie said...

Very practical, economical way to read eBooks. I downloaded Kobo on my BlackBerry, but cannot stand reading on such a small screen. Like Ernessa, I am the opposite. I am quick to jump on a new device. For example, I purchased the NOOKcolor soon as it released. I'm very pleased with it. eReaders are great for traveling purposes and health reasons. (Carrying multiple hardcovers take a toll on your bones.)