Friday, June 08, 2012
On Reading an eBook
More and more I'm being offered books to review in ebook format. They crept their way in as an option - do you want print or ebook? - but now it's a case of ebook or no review from some publishers. I can't lie; I've turned down several books for review because I didn't want to read them in an electronic format. That's not even me being a prude, it's just not practical. I don't have an eReader, and I don't plan on spending any money on one any time soon. Still, I accepted the book in a pdf file anyway, just to see what it was like.
Reading changed for something comfy, to something very uncomfortable. I couldn't curl up on the sofa or lie stretched out any which way because I had to read the pdf file on my laptop. That really bugged me because I couldn't take the book outside to read, or just pop it in my handbag for a train journey. Then I realised that I could access it on my phone, so that solved that problem. Kind of. My phone is your average Android powered phone, but a far cry from an iPhone or anything of that ilk. With the screen as it is, it meant I could only read a paragraph at a time so I was pressing my screen to turn the page more often than necessary. Quite annoying. Even more annoying, it meant that I couldn't keep track of the pages properly, because each actual pdf file page equated to five or six screen pages. A pest.
More than likely, all these pesky issues would have been solved with an eReader. So in terms of how to read an electronic file, then yes, I can see that Kindles and their friends would be really useful. But the book still didn't feel like a book, or smell like a book. Thankfully, the book I was reading was very short or it would have driven me beserk.
As a reviewer, I'm expecting more of this. It's quicker and cheaper for the publisher to send, and I respect that. But the whole experience was hampered by being so awkward. If someone bought me an eReader, then brilliant, I could use it for electronic book files. But in the mean time, I really should keep to my print books.
On Reading an eBook