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…


Sphinx Ink said...

Cool! I'd love to have a I-Pad. I already have a Sony Reader and a NookColor, and I enjoy using both. I'm a gadget freak, so eventually I'll probably spring for a Kindle, too. (I'd like to have one of every e-reader on the market!) But the I-Pad would be coolest because one can do so many other things on it. Barnes & Noble recently upgraded the NookColor software so users can download e-mail and access the Internet in more ways, but so far I've found it awkward to use for those purposes. Between the Sony and the Nook, so far I'm using the Nook more to read.

One thing to think about before buying, however, is the weight of the device. For people who like to carry reading material with them at all times, some devices are too bulky or heavy to carry comfortably. My NookColor is heavier than the non-color regular Nook, and weighs more than most hardcover books. Hence, it's uncomfortable to carry around in my purse because it really weighs me down.

Maybe it's just that I have weak muscles?

Steve Malley said...

One of us... One of us.... :)

molly said...

Project Gutenberg! They are always adding material and I love it. Oddly enough, having an e-reader has stopped me from flipping through books. I actually sit down and read the entire thing, cover to cover now. It's too difficult to "flip", so I'm paying more attention now. I used to start every book at the end and read backwards.

Kate Sterling said...

LOL, congratulations! Molly just pointed out what I was going to - Project Gutenberg. Tons of interesting, old books there - but be warned, it's addicting.

paz said...

I love my iPad too! But yours is probably the latest model, with camera and all. Enjoy!

As a reader, years of graduate school cramming left my with the bad habit of skimming and flipping. I end up turning any book I read into a version of Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch : yet so far, I do not feel too constrained by the iPad. Skimming does take longer, though. If you already have read the book, then it is much easier.

cs harris said...

Sphinxy, unlike you, I hate gadgets! And this one I don't find too heavy.

Steve, I know, I know!

Molly, Ah, I'd forgotten about them. This may not be a good thing...

Kate, I'm almost afraid to go look!

Paz, yes it is the latest, because Steve wanted one that would get the internet at our lake house. I probably would have been happy with the original. And I never thought about blaming grad school for my skipping and flipping habit. Hmmm.

Charles Gramlich said...

Cool. There's a lot of good stuff out there electronically.

Anonymous said...

As usual, I'm a post late. Who bells the cat sounds just WONDERFUL!! Don't let them change that one...and book #10 ideas. Sigh. I'm just in heaven at the thought. Congrats on the i-pad. It'll be fun. Sabena

Anonymous said...

Oh, forgot to mention. Sebastian was named as a favorite mysterious "badass" at paperback dolls. Yeah!!! He's my favorite too.

vp said...

I have a kindle and an Ipad and, don't hate me, the kindle is much better for reading. I love my Ipad and I can read on it, but not for hours or in the direct sun, which living in the south means a lot. I don't use my kindle for anything but reading, but I will never give it up. I thought after I got the Ipad that I might consolidate, but no way. For reading books, the kindle is the best! I do like magazines on the Ipad. Especially something like the New Yorker. It is amazing!

Looking forward to seeing you at ALA next Sunday. It looks like a great session. I've been having fun choosing restaurants for the visit. I forget how many great places there are to eat in New Orleans. Suggestions are welcome:)

Alma said...

I believe it would be great for a researcher. I do have 1 question that has nothing to do with this topic - so please forgive.

Where does the line of poetry come from, that Sebastian uses with Hero in the last chapter of "Where Shadows Dance."

I love these books!

cs harris said...

Charles, I have to admit it's fun

Sabena, I'm glad to hear you liked the title. Hopefully they'll let me keep it. And that's neat about Sebastian!

vp, I got the iPad so I could also go on the Internet on something bigger than my phone. Plus I just seem to have more luck with Apples than other electronic gadgets. I look forward to seeing you at the ALA. I'm not sure about restaurants down by the Convention Center, but the Palace Cafe on Canal is always great.

Alma, it's from one of my favorite poems by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542), They flee from me that Sometime did me Seek:

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, "dear heart, how like you this?"

It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.

Alma said...

Thank you.

Do you ever come to Houston to sign books?

le fleur said...

Congrats on the iPad! I can't believe that they hadn't heard of "Google Books".

I don't have an iPad, (I have yet to find one that has everything that I need, as well as in the price range I want to pay) but I did use one for school.
I found 2 things useful:
1 - the "search" function. I know it's not the same as flipping through, but it can still be helpful in finding things.

2 - the "sepia" use. I used to not be able to read for very long, but then I found that I could change the pages to look "sepia" (there are other colors as well), and that made a BIG difference, it wasn't so harsh on my eyes.

Have fun with it, I'm sure it will great when you take it to the lake.

Essex said...

I had to smile at your comment about the Apple store employees never having heard of Google books- my experience with most Apple store staff is that : a) it would be very hard to find one who was born before 1985. B) most of them have never seen a typewriter- either electric or not . C) most of them have a scorn for anything paper- they email you your receipt from their portable credit card scanner! D) their idea of a classic book is something written in 1950 I mean no disrespect for Apple- I use a Mac laptop, and I own an iPad, and I enjoy some of the perks of technology. Although I like electronic readers like the iPad and kindle for convenience ( you can take 200 books with you on a trip!), I still enjoy a real book, especially books with maps or pictures. And I agree- I don't skip pages nearly as much with an e-reader as I do with a paperback.
Glad to hear that you have at least 10 Sebastian books planned. For some reason I had it in my head that you were going to stop after book eight, so I am very pleased. I will read your books in any medium - electronic or paper!

cs harris said...

Alma, I was actually in Houston a few months ago! I've been twice, so maybe next year.

le fleur, thank you; I'd never heard of the sepia setting. I still have a lot to learn.

Essex, I have to admit, I love paper books. As much as I'm enjoying downloading classics that I'd like to have available to browse, I have to admit I don't feel the least inspired to buy a new book for my iPad. Now if I could get my husband to start buying HIS books as ebooks, that might be nice, since it would free up more bookshelf space in the house for me!

malita said...

Not being able to flip through the book drives me crazy - I love the convenience of my ereader (Nook) but I still buy books especially if it's a series that I am collecting. I'm a flipper what can I say...

Annie said...

When will your St. Cyr books be available as Ebooks in Australia.