Admittedly, these days, I tend to read in fits and starts, depending on how much time I can squeeze away from doing mundane things like eating and sleeping. Fortunately, it is possible to read whilst eating and a little light reading before going to sleep is usually a good way to wind down. I say usually, because it is not unknown for me to read all night, or at least until the chorus of over-enthusiastic avian abuse hurling that heralds the dawn reminds me that I probably won’t be much use to man or beast unless I get at least a short power nap.
Anyway, this should give you an inkling of how much I enjoy reading, particularly at night. For this reason, I have been way ahead of the ebook revolution, beginning my foray into the convenience and portability of electronic text at least 10 years ago, probably more. Long before the advent of the Kindle, Nook and iPad, I was reading on my Psion organiser, then on my Palm and more recently on my iPhone. Now, those of you who know me, will be aware of my gadget geekery; so why have I not jumped on the Kindle wagon as it thundered past, you may ask.
Well my previous gadgets all have one major advantage over eInk readers like the Kindle: you can read in the dark without needing a light. This is a huge advantage if you don’t want to keep your OH awake or if you want to read in the depths of your sleeping bag when camping out. If you’re going to have to shine a light on the page when you’re reading in bed, you may as well shine it on the paper copy.
But, what about the iPad? That’s backlit so you can read in the dark, and also very funky.
Yes, it is truly funky and I yearn to have one just for the joy of possessing it, but in truth, at over £400, the iPad is simply too expensive a toy for me to justify. (It is basically just an oversized iPhone, but without the ability to make phone calls, if we’re honest).
I’m pretty much joined at the hip with my laptop and iPhone and we also have a netbook for compact portability, (less than half the price and with the advantage of being able to run actual software that I use), so I can’t see what possible niche the iPad would fill. It’s too big to lie in bed reading with and the battery life isn’t great for taking away on weekends in the field. So I content myself with a little light lust, with a sprinkle of occasional envy and covetousness where the iPad is concerned, while wondering when Apple will produce an eReader that ticks all my boxes.
So, we come to the Kindle. So far, I have resisted it, preferring the funtionality and aesthetics (though not the imported price) of the Nooks. In the age of touch screens, the kindle
has had an array of buttons! The latest offering, though, is easier on the eye and both a Kindle Touch and the newly unveiled Kindle Fire are also in the offing from Amazon. As far as I can see, these are direct rip-offs of the Nook Touch and Nook Colour, though, like the Nooks, not yet available in the UK. (Boo!)
Nonetheless, I could hold out against the lure of a new gadget no longer and I have ordered the new Kindle. My recent reading activities were seriously denting my iPhone battery (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it, so there). So it doesn’t have a touch screen or backlight, but it is affordable, at least in the sense that it didn’t cost me very much real money, the majority being paid for by accumulated Amazon vouchers. Besides, with the Kindle app (my goodness, it’s primitive compared with the eReader app) now installed on my iPhone, I can at least just pick up where I left off from one gadget to the other if needs be.
So, I am busily converting my extensive ebook collection to MOBI format in anticipation of its arrival. I figure that if it’s not fit for my purposes, I can donate it to the children and let them fight over who gets to read on it. At least we won’t have to take two bags full of books whenever we go away. I kid you not, on our long weekend trip to Firejoust, DS took six books with him – full length, fat paperbacks! DD took about four books. Under the circumstances (see Wheel of Misfortune) we could have done without the extra weight.
I don’t think we’ll be consigning any of the books to the flames or even to the charity shop just yet, though. Text and reference books, particularly with pictures and diagrams, are often larger format and still much better to read and flick through in the flesh (or should that be “the pulp”?) Besides, I like the feel of real books too.
Of course, with NaNoWriMo only a few weeks away, it is debatable whether I will have the time to read at all :0
10 October 2011