IVP - Andy Unedited - I Finally Read My First e-Book

May 1, 2012

I Finally Read My First e-Book

I finally read my first e-book.

OK, call me late to the party, late adopter, troglodyte. Tell me, "Welcome to the twenty-first century." Ask me if I have indoor plumbing.

So, here's how it went.

Last Christmas I told the family, "If you want ideas, you can get me an e-reader or a submersible blender." As the presents went around, a Kindle Fire came my way. The first thing I did, of course, was download a bunch of free books, one of sherlock holmes.jpgwhich was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. On the long drive home, after the sun had set and conversation had waned in the car, I pulled out my Kindle Fire and started reading. The backlight feature was nice so as not to disturb sleeping passengers.

Over the next few months I pulled it out and kept reading at the book on different trips. Since each each of Sherlock's cases stand alone, it worked well to read over several months. And, as they say, being able to carry much reading material around in a compact device is a plus.

One problem was special characters. Every time £ appeared (which you would expect, in a British book, to be frequently) or French words with accents, the codes appeared rather than the symbols themselves. No one bothered to take time to fix them. Then again, perhaps you should remind me not to complain since the e-book was free.

I also downloaded some manuscripts and other documents that needed review for IVP. This was a less satisfactory experience. I had no way to make notes on the device (I was working from a PDF not an e-pub file) or to do searches. But using the keyboard for notes even with e-pub files was as tedious as texting with a keypad. But the main problem, I think, was not having enough text available in front of me in one view.

I've also downloaded magazines for which I have print subscriptions. I've read whole issues in e-format. I don't find it a particularly better or worse experience. Reading in bed and not disturbing my wife with a light or my page turning was an advantage. All things being equal, I probably lean a bit toward print, but that may just be habit.

For years I've been saying that e-books are the new mass market paperback--great for light reading but difficult for most things more serious. That was the pattern of e-book sales. Now my personal experience confirms that too.

Now in case you're looking for birthday ideas, remember I'm still in the market for a submersible blender.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at May 1, 2012 8:46 AM Bookmark and Share

Comments

I resisted both the submersible blender and the e-reader. Having now tried both, I vote for the blender. It doesn't do everything a pitcher blender does, but it's easier to clean up - unless you hold it wrong and splatter the entire kitchen.

As for the e-reader, may heaven bless those who love them. Me, I like a book to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. When I've finished reading it, I like to put it in my guest room for friends to enjoy. Then I like to pick up another book, with a different cover, different interior design, different paper, different smell, different heft. I lose all those sensory experiences with an e-reader. Worse, when I finish a book I still have the same e-reader, so it doesn't feel like I've finished at all. It's like a whole library without punctuation. Nothing ever starts or stops. It's all still there, like Sisyphus's stone.

Comment by: LaVonne Neff at May 1, 2012 9:44 AM

LaVonne, bless you--on both counts. May your tribe increase, though the force of technology suggests it will be otherwise.

Andy

Comment by: Andy Le Peau at May 1, 2012 10:37 AM

I've yet to purchase one of these technological curiosities. And, unlike you, I haven't added it quite yet to my gift list. The shortcomings you identified are the main reasons for my reluctance to procure one.

I have, however, added the Kindle app to my desktop mac. Used it to purchase several volumes I already have in my physical library. Why? So that I can conduct swift and comprehensive word searches for several research projects. So far my results with this process have been quite good.

Oh, and I did download a few free public domain works that I've not had time to begin reading. Primarily I've downloaded fiction by George MacDonald. I figure that anyone so admired by C.S. Lewis is an author worth exploring . . .

Comment by: Rob Stroud at May 1, 2012 11:26 AM

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