Saturday, June 18, 2011
Candy Joins the E-Reader Revolution
So I finally did it: I broke down and bought an e-reader. Well, not a dedicated e-reader, but an iPad.
After years of watching one after the other of my family and friends buy e-readers, what finally pushed me over the edge? This thing:
It’s the published report of a Parliamentary committee that interviewed dozens of London magistrates, public office clerks, constables, pub owners, and clergymen in 1816, and it contains a wonderful wealth of information (more about that later). But after sitting at my desk and staring at my computer screen for something like 16 hours, my eyes hurt. My back hurt. My shoulder hurt (took me a while to figure that one out, until I realized it was from constantly making the same motion to turn the page). I download a lot of these old nineteenth-century texts from Google Books, and they are collectively a pain to read. Now I can sit out on my porch swing curled up with my iPad and read away.
My thoughts so far?
• The ready availability of free classics that I’ve always meant to read—or read long ago and would like to read again—is deadly. I was up until 2am last night playing with my new toy. And no, I don’t mean playing games on my new toy; I mean downloading free old books.
• You can’t comfortably flip through an ebook. I like to flip through poetry books, looking for old favorites or new ones that appeal or catch my eye. The first book I downloaded was Keats: Poems Published in 1820. I quickly realized that my style of reading poetry was not very compatible with the electronic format.
• Most people who buy iPads are not interested in reading books, or at least, they’re not interested in old books. I dealt with two sales reps in the Apple store, and neither had even heard of Google Books.
• The National Library of Australia is also a great source for old books.
Now excuse me, while I go play…