Friday, September 9, 2011

The Book or the Device?

Working in the book field all my adult life I am a book junkie. I love the feel of a "real" book in my hands. So how do I feel about all the digital readers out there? I am actually not sure!

My girlfriend is a tech junkie and wanted a Kindle right when they came out. Although I argued that my field relies on the printed book I could understand the appeal and bought her one for Christmas.

So at night before we go to sleep, I curl up with my printed book and she turns on her reader. The Kindle was easy to operate and within a few clicks she had her book downloaded and was reading. The down side I saw right off hand was that it didn't feel like a book, if that means anything. You couldn't bend back the paperback to fit more snuggle into your lap, or dogear the corner. But we were both happy in our choices.

When she finally finished her book she wanted the sequel and after a few clicks she had it. "Humm", I thought. "that was easy".

A few months later we were both on a plane trip. We settled in and took out our readers of choice and got down to business. Of course she had to turn off her "electronic devices" before the plane would take off but I could go right on reading my book (one for our side).

But I will say my feelings started to change with another little invention-the IPad. Say what you want about the glare on the screen as compared to a Kindle but as a Mac nut I am for all things Apple. So when my girlfriend got an IPad for work I had to play with it. And getting books on the IPad is just as easy as the Kindle and I like the "natural" feel of turning pages. But it still felt odd to get cozy in bed and curl up with a flat, rigid computer. I work with them all day long so at night I wanted something simpler.

With talk going around about the filming of The Hobbit I decided to reread the book I last read twenty something years ago. I saw I could easily download it onto my IPad but I just couldn't do it. My girlfriend had a small, yellowed paperback edition that had not moved off its shelf for decades. Somehow reading about woodland elves and furry hobbits just seemed better that way!

So where am I now on all this? I do have my own IPad (come on its just cool) and I sometimes read with it when its more convenient to download the book at night. But I still turn to the printed book most times. It just feels right.

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