Thursday, July 18, 2013


When I first got my iPhone, I thought "I'll never be able to read on that tiny screen,", but that was then, and this is now.  As I spent more time with the phone (yes, perhaps too much time, my friends), I got more used to reading even pieces longer than a tweet or Facebook note on the screen.  I got better and better at the tiny keyboard, too, thanks in part to my totally nerdy subscription to the New York Times Crossword Puzzles. 

The New York Times, the New Yorker and Sports Illustrated provided copies of the electronic versions to their print subscribers, and I downloaded them, for those times when you need something to read and don't have a book with you.  I usually read them in  print, but I've read several articles and even whole special issues of the New Yorker on the phone.[And you get extra cartoons!  Don't tell the marketing people how easily I'm swayed]

McCormick Place Chicago
I downloaded all the library ebook software, so I could practice checking out a book and be able to describe the process to my online clients.  However, I had not read a whole book online until I was headed to Chicago for the ALA conference.  Yes, taking books along to ALA is a coals to Newcastle experience, since you will come home buried in ARCs and free books and sample books. . . but my thought was -- I'll be in Chicago, I'll be commuting on the El, and I won't want to carry a book, so I should download some library books.  I borrowed three and finished one -- when the others returned themselves [Bonus!  No fines]  I realized I should have prioritized my reading by due date, not that I do that with print books, either. [You can't renew them, per se, but you can borrow them again if there's not a waiting list;  I chose to let these two go.]

ALA Exhibit floor
While I didn't read a lot in the city -- too many people to see, things to do, ARCs to collect -- I did find that ebooks are perfect for camping.  The phone is lightweight and provides its own light, and I finished my first complete library ebook.  I was trying to read in different genres for my public library's adult summer reading game, so I read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn.  I didn't like it as well as Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, but parts of it were very funny.

Point Beach State Park

In addition, I have sent a Kindle book to a friend as a present (not without a lot of discussion with Amazon customer service, enough that I don't plan to try that again) which she did get a few months after the intended occasion.  Today, I gave in to the iTunes advertising and bought two books [for just $3.99!! see note above]  I did follow the rule that says "if you wouldn't buy it at full price, don't buy it on sale."  Maybe now I'll finally read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which has been recommended to me by a surprisingly varied group of people. 

I still prefer print books.  I love the library new book shelf, from which I plucked seven books from two different libraries today. I like being surrounded by books, though I admit I'm in the public library today mostly to take advantage of the air conditioning.  I don't think beach or bathtub reading works as well with a screen.  [Though for your beach and ebook reader fans, try putting your reader in a self closing plastic bag].  I charge my phone at night, and I don't really want it in bed with me, if I'm not in a tent.  And I now know I should check ebooks out one at a time, because I forget they are there (less likely with the stack of print books from the library).  I'm only a partial convert, but I do see the appeal. 

Do you read ebooks?  Do you borrow them from the library?  What makes them more or less appealing than print?  Have you read any truly interactive books, like The 39 Steps

A selection of fascinating ebook innovations

Point Beach Driftwood

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Fortune Cookie

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best.
Frank Zappa