Let me begin by saying that I am a devoted fan of the old fashioned, hard-copy book made from the remains of dead trees. I love the feel of them. I love the whole tactile experience of holding them. And yes, I love the smell of them (both the musty old book smell and the first-opened new book smell). But I recently used an iPad for some reading. So, of course, here I am telling you about it.
I have not had any great desire to move into the digital realm for my reading pleasure. I do enough onscreen reading on my laptop for research. But…
Last Christmas we bought an iPad as a family present — mostly because my daughters have been wanting one ever since they played some games on one at a friend’s place. In the months since our acquisition of this device — this handy-dandy, compact marvel of technology — it has been mostly used for game-playing by my daughters and Pinteresting by my wife. Although I’ve occasionally used it to IMDB an actor while watching television, or even play the odd game of Chicken Invaders (Yes, there really is a game called Chicken Invaders… go look it up. It’s rather awesome!), I’ve done little else with the device.
And then, last month a friend sent me a PDF of his upcoming book, asking if I would consider reading it and providing a back cover quote (I’ll blog about this when the book has been released). I decided this was the time to finally make proper use of the iPad. I put the PDF onto the device and off I went… reading!
So… what was my first iPad reading experience like? It was okay.
On the positive side —
- I didn’t have to bother with print-outs.
- It remembered where I was up to each time I picked it up.
- I didn’t need to use my newly acquired reading glasses (yes folks… I’m getting old).
On the negative side —
- It was heavier and more cumbersome than a paperback (not wonderfully comfortable for reading in bed).
- The backlit screen was not as comfortable to read as print on paper.
- And, of course, it didn’t feel or smell like a proper book.
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the iPad reading experience felt more like work than pleasure. I realise that this is due to my own subconscious associations — that is:
Computer screen = work
Print book = pleasure
This is something that will, undoubtedly, change over time. Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks… it just takes longer.
Overall, I was not emotionally scarred by the experience as I initially feared I might be. And, in fact, I went back for more. When my publisher sent me a PDF proof of my upcoming novel (Gamers’ Rebellion — out in June. Remember to buy a copy!), I immediately stuck it onto the iPad rather than printing it out. It turned out to be a good way of proof-reading it.
So, I guess there is hope for me in the world of digital reading. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll even buy an eReader.
Catch ya later, George
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