03 April 2014

The eMerging eReader #5: Let's Get Reading

The eMerging eReader © www.BethFishReads.comSo 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.


(Diane) bookchickdi 4/3/14, 7:45 AM  

I signed up for Readmill last week and got their email this week; what a shame. I use my ereader mostly on the treadmill, it's so easy to read while walking. I also will throw it in my bag if I am taking the bus or subway for long distances or if I attend an event where I will be waiting a long time (like this week's seven hour wait for Bette Midler's signing.)

Meghan 4/3/14, 7:48 AM  

The solution to my charging abroad problems has been accomplished by having a plug with USB socket for all the places I might travel to (pretty much just the US and Europe for now). The Kindle really usefully comes with a USB charger that also works for both of our mobile phones and my husband's tablet, so we pretty much just need one plug for all of our e-readers, tablets, and phones. The only challenge is deciding who gets to charge when! ;) Doesn't solve the beach or camping issues, though, and I agree on those, paper is probably better in both those cases.

Agree on the patience for changing your method of reading. Even switching from a button clicking to a touch screen e-reader took a few hours of reading before I adjusted properly. Now if I go back to my husband's with the button, I forget that I need to push a button and try to touch the screen.

This is a really great series of posts!

rhapsodyinbooks 4/3/14, 7:56 AM  

Totally agree with your "Current Stance."

shelleyrae @ book'd out 4/3/14, 7:57 AM  

Like you I just discovered Readmill , really liked it and I'm annoyed now it's going. I was using Blue Fire and really don't like it much so I'm going to have to look at alternatives.

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

bermudaonion 4/3/14, 8:13 AM  

Another downside to eReaders is they make you cut them off at the beginning and end of flights - at least they did the last time I flew. I am reading ebooks more this year than ever before.

Unknown 4/3/14, 9:57 AM  

I bought an e-reader prior to using it for reviews, and I've had two, and now have my ipad, which i like reading on the most..except for it's weight. I'd also like an e ink reader vs the nook tablet I bought. I'm sort of rambling, but for me the ease of carrying books around on my reader or iPad is nice. I have bought e books but I read more e galleys that purchased e books. It's helped me read books I might not be pitched but what to read. I've been white listed by several publishers so that's a perk. I would still say I prefer print in books, but I do read a good percentage of my books digitally.
Loving this series from you :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) 4/3/14, 10:13 AM  

Reading my kindle on the beach or near water makes me nervous. I've also realized you can't read it on a plane at the beginning or end of the flight. There's got to be some sort of good balance between reading e-readers and hard copies, I just haven't figured out exactly what it is yet.

Beth Hoffman 4/3/14, 10:59 AM  

I worry about exposing my iPad to sand and water, and I'm thinking about buying the dry case made by Lifeproof.

Heather 4/3/14, 11:00 AM  

I read on my phone, tablet and ereader. my only problem is that the software support is not there for them. Adoboe Digital editions does not support my tablet, so the purpose I bought it for, to load books from NetGalley, can not be done. I still have to read those on my laptop. My dedicated ereader won't work with my newer laptop because I have windows 7 . Nook can't fix the problem because it's a Window's problem and Window's has no interest in fixing it as they have moved on to Windows 8. The only way I can get books onto my Nook is from wifi to the B&N site. Still doesn't solve my NetGalley issue. oh darn, I am surprised by how comfortable it is to read books on my Blackberry Z10. I thought the text would be too small, but it is quite comfortable and the bonus is that I always have my phone with me, so if I am stranded unexpectedly I have a book at hand.

Kailana 4/3/14, 12:04 PM  

Yeah, when we went to Florida I brought my e-reader loaded up with books, but I also brought two paperbacks. I didn't end up really reading, but I wanted to be ready for anything. Plus, my e-reader died on the plane and I had paper back-up!

Anonymous,  4/3/14, 3:29 PM  

I am a fan of both e-reader & print, but since I move an average of every 5 years, it is not feasible for me to keep collecting books, so I just buy used paperbacks or if I win some in a giveaway, etc. Then I donate them when I move. However, I understand the conflict. I had a Nook Color Tablet and you can't read in sunlight outside. So I now have a Kindle Paperwhite for reading, plus always have a stack of paperbacks for times they come in handy--travel, poolside etc. Thanks for this informative post.

Marg 4/4/14, 8:12 AM  

I definitely agree that there is a place for both ebooks and paper books. Doesn't have to be either/or.

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