So far in the eMerging eReader series, I've talked about devices, software, and apps. Now it's time to talk about, well, reading.
Before I get started, however, can you believe that I already have an update to my last post on apps?
Readmill / Bluefire. Just six months after I found what I consider to be an almost-perfect PDF reader, Readmill was sold to Dropbox and won't be available after July. Come summer, I'll be transferring my books to my second-choice app, Bluefire. Compared to Readmill, Bluefire fell behind in three areas: (1) it doesn't have eye-saving settings for PDFs, (2) you can't download books from Dropbox directly through the app, and (3) PDFs are not quite as stable. Fortunately, the Bluefire people are working on these problems, which may be solved by the next update.The business of eReading. When distilled to its essence, eReading is, of course, exactly the same as print reading: Turn on your device (or open the cover) and get going. There's nothing mysterious here; the only difference is the medium, but even so, many of us have struggled with making the change.
The new way of reading has a lot of advantages. The obvious perks to eReading are these: It's great to not have to use a bookmark or to remember my place, even across devices, and I love being able to increase the font size and to read in bed without an extra light. And how about those clunksters? No more lugging around 900-page hardcovers that won't stay open; it's much easier to hold a thin, lightweight device that shows a single page at a time.
There are, however, some downsides. At first glance, eReading is perfect for travel, allowing us to carry around a small library. Unfortunately, I've discovered mobile devices aren't ideal in all situations. For example, at the beach: Even without the worry of theft, I still have to think about how my reader will stand up to water, sand, salt, and sunblock. Camping raises the issue of recharging, and foreign travel means adapters and possible problems accessing Wi-Fi. Solutions? I now own a mobile charger and take a paperback to the beach or pool.
Learning to get comfortable. One of the initial stumbling blocks for me had nothing to do with technology. I was discouraged because I didn't have the same focus when reading on my devices as I have when reading in print. In retrospect, I believe the problem had to do with getting familiar with the gadgets. Once I had the controls memorized and got used to tapping instead of page turning, my concentration returned. If you're still having trouble getting used to eReading, assess your technology. If you're happy with that, then the next step is simply to practice, retraining your brain for a different kind of interaction.
My current stance. At this point, I don't see eReading and print reading as an either-or situation. There's room for both in my life, and room for many, many more eBooks than print books in my house. If given a choice, I'm still at the stage at which I'll pick print over electronic, but now that I've gained some experience, eReading for pleasure is part of my everyday life.
Next up: managing my eBook library, social reading, and tricks for reviewing,
Acknowledgments: Besides those I've already thanked, I'd like to give a shout-out to @Micahsb, from Bluefire, for being willing to listen to users' concerns.