The e-reader experience

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So that's it, I have read my first full length novel in the digital format and I loved the experience, to the detriment of my shelves that will probably grow heavy in a less frequent manner.

The book I chose was a big door-stopper, The Crippled God by Steven Erikson, standing at almost a thousand pages. Hence, more so than in the case of a mass market paperback novel, the difference in holding the book and traveling with it was more apparent.

The weight and size of the e-reader being as it is, I have to admit that the portability is incredible. Even though I didn't have a pocket edition, my reader being the Sony Touch PRS-650 with a 6 inches screen, it could easily fit in my coat pocket. Keeping the e-reader in hand for a long period of time is effortless, it stands conveniently on most of the training equipment I use at the gym, the page turning is swift and I don't have to hold it when I read in bed.

The fact that you can put so much novels on it at the same time is not really a plus for me since I don't read more than one novel at a time but it's always nice to have spares when you finish a book. I would probably change my idea on this characteristic after my next vacation.

The e-ink screen is soft (without back-lighting) and I never grew eyesore. It felt about the same as reading a real book and it's easy to clip a small light to the cover. The touch element of the reader is not a necessity but still it's enjoyable, mostly in the case of the on-screen keyboard.

Since I'm not a native English speaker, the integrated dictionnary was useful but then I didn't need it more than a couple of times. I liked to be able to take notes with the touch screen keyboard and highlight passages, that's really helpful for a reviewer.

The only kind of negative aspect I found was the number of lines on a page with a font size that I thought was comfortable. About a third of a real paperback page from The Crippled God was displayed. That's not much of a problem but somewhat, I would have preferred more lines. However, I would not trade the number of lines shown on screen for a larger size of e-reader. To benefit from all the aspects I mentioned earlier, I think that a 6 inches screen is the right size.

Taking everything into account, I think that the switch to e-books will be easier than I thought. There is simply too much positive elements in an e-reader to completely remain nostalgic or attached to the physical book sensation in my hands. Even though the availability of e-books is far from perfect (if you don't own a Kindle...), I can see myself reading more e-books than physical books in the next year or so.

I will finish with a little stat. Since November 2010, the percentage of Americans owning an e-reader grew from 6% to 12%. That's a bigger growth than the tablet where the rate grew from 5% to 8% during the same period. That rate could go up to 23% in 2012 (meaning 54 millions of e-readers in America alone...). Thanks Kindle!

So, have you begun to go digital?

3 comments:

Michael Offutt said...

I went digital quite a while ago. I've read all of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire as ebooks, Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith, Suck It Wonder Woman, and several other novels. Go Go ebooks. Paper is so 2008.

El Commutador said...

Yes, I already began 1/2 a year ago (iPad), and right now I read both digital & paper (the same for books & comic books). But this is only 'cause not all the books & comics I like are digitally available (either in English o Spanish or Catalan - the last two, my native languages).

As for "Even though the availability of e-books is far from perfect (...), I can see myself reading more e-books than physical books in the next year or so.", I completely agree.

Grant said...

I have not read a physical book since getting a Kindle in September.In total I have read about 35 books on the Kindle now. I love it! The biggest plus for me is not having to hold the book open. Great for reading in bed or when holding my child.

I also only buy a book after I have finished the one I am reading. This has cut down on the problem of buying 4 books at a time and only actually reading 3 of them before some new shiny book comes out.

The only thing I miss are the book covers. I wish the screen saver on my Kindle would show the book cover.

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