E-books make me read more

March 26, 2011 in Blogging, Misc, Study by pacejmiller

About 12 months ago, I was a staunch opponent of e-books and e-readers.  Nothing against the people that read or purchased e-books — I just didn’t think I could do it because I didn’t like looking at a computer screen and I preferred the sensory pleasures of a real book made of paper.

Towards the end of last year, I got an iPad for a present.  An Apple product for a guy who never bought Apple products.  It wasn’t the first time.  I had received iPods and an Apple TV as gifts on previous occasions.

Over the months, I slowly became an Apple convert.  Well, I should say iPad convert.  I loved using it wherever I went.  Mostly playing the plethora of games available for free and at bargain prices, but also to send and receive emails, to surf the net, the watch and listen to live NBA games and to write blog posts.

Naturally, I also downloaded stacks free classic books (from Project Gutenberg) for the iBooks app and also downloaded the Kobo (which is owned by Borders) and Amazon (for the Kindle) apps — just in case.

Recently, I started using the iPad to read books.  The first was Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner (review here), which I needed to read for class.  The hard copies were all out on loan at the university library, and I was about to fly out to China.  I decided to purchase the e-book version for around $11 (with Kobo, which was cheaper than iBooks, but my Amazon account stuffed up so dunno if it’s the cheapest).

And you know what?  It was surprisingly easy to read and use.  I toned down the light, which helped, and maybe it’s because my eyes have become accustomed to the iPad, but it didn’t strain my retina at all.  I breezed through the book in record time, and I have since moved onto my second book, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas.  It’s a bloody long book, but I’m smashing it.

Come to think of it, the iPad is making me read more than I ever have.  Books in particular, but I’m also reading a lot more articles (online and in PDF), news, short stories (on my Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe app and Ghost Stories app) and manga (on my manga reader app).

Perhaps it’s because it’s the iPad, so I feel like I’m not really reading, I’m having fun.  Another reason is because the format is very reader friendly — you can enlarge the font, and the formatting is not the same as traditional books as new paragraphs are double spaced, so pages are extremely short and it makes you feel like you are making tremendous progress.  For me, the biggest momentum killer is feeling like I’ve been reading forever and I’ve only progressed a page or two.  With the e-reading apps, I get the illusion that I’m flying through it.

Maybe it’s also because I carry it around with me, so whenever I get a spare minute, I pull it out and do a bit of reading.  I could be stuck in traffic, or on the treadmill, or brushing my teeth, or eating lunch.  When you combine all those tiny blocks of time when you’re not doing anything, it actually adds up to quite a bit.

I’m loving it.

Any iPad or Kindle or Kobo or other e-reader owners out there having the same experience?