Bear with me here. I know that per the last polling around 45% of you would rather be tasered than part with your paper books in favor of e-books, and thus I would imagine that reading a blog post about the bizarre e-book reading habits of a blogging literary agent can’t be much fun for you.
Sorry about that. I would enliven the post by relating the topic to some reality show like The Hills, but, well, I’m sad to report that The Hills and I have officially broken up. It’s over. It wasn’t The Hills, it was me. I’m just at a different place in my life now. We tried couples counseling and I asked if we could still be friends, but The Hills was like, “THAT NEVER WORKS!” and then stormed off and went in a completely different direction. Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
So… you’re stuck with a post about my bizarre e-book habits without television show references to save you. Sorry about that.
Ahem. As you know I’m an e-book aficionado. The convenience! The portability! No more printing out of manuscripts!
And I really took to both the Kindle and the Sony Reader: the Sony Reader for its sleekness, touch screen, night light, and overall design, and the Kindle for the insane convenience of e-mailing manuscripts directly to the Kindle, where I can download them wirelessly and read them anywhere. E-reading has changed my life and I feel like it’s the way of the future.
You know which e-reader I like the best?
Um. Would you believe the iPhone?
I really, really resisted reading on the iPhone. Just too small of a screen, my brain said. It doesn’t have e-ink. Too hard on the eyes. I had an iPhone for a year before I really tried to read a book on one (nevermind that I read blogs on it all the time via Google Reader).
But then I was on the bus one day, I didn’t have my Kindle, and I started reading a book on via the iPhone Kindle app.
It wasn’t an instant love connection. The screen really is small and took some getting used to. But gradually I began to feel that reading on the iPhone is ultimately the superior experience. Imagine my surprise.
It turns out I really love instantaneous page turns. The Kindle and Sony Reader both “blink” when turning pages and there’s a noticeable delay. Not so on the iPhone. It moves quickly. Just tap the side of the screen and the page turns instantly. Or you can swipe the screen and mimic a page turn with your finger and the next page slides smoothly into place. You can also turn the phone sideways and the Kindle reader goes into landscape mode, which I found perfect for reading.
As a result, the iPhone really disappears in your hands like a book.
I also thought it would hurt my eyes to read on a small screen, but I never actually found that to be a problem. Probably this is due to an important iPhone function: the screen automatically dims or brightens by sensing the ambient light, so it’s always comfortable on the eyes whether you’re in bright sunlight or in the dark. Not so with the Kindle, which needs good lighting to read because there’s no backlighting.
What does this mean? Well, I used to think that dedicated e-readers were the future of book reading. But the problem with extraneous devices is that you don’t always have them handy precisely at those times when you have some down time and want to be reading. It’s also pretty darn expensive to buy a device that does just one or two things. And that brings me to the main benefit of reading on the iPhone: I always have it with me, and although it’s expensive, it also comes with, you know, phone capabilities, which are kind of important. It’s insanely portable and always there whenever I have ten minutes or an hour and want to read.
I realize that phone reading is not for everyone. But to me it just goes to show how the future of e-books probably doesn’t lie in one category-killing e-book reader, but probably some mishmash of devices depending on a reader’s particular preferences. Including those strange devices printed on wood pulp and bound in cardboard.
In any event, just wanted to share. Tell The Hills I said “hi” if you happen to run into it. No hard feelings, I hope.