Friday, September 21, 2012

Are You Experienced?

Obviously those aren't my hands or legs. You get
the idea, though. Image attribution.
A couple of weeks back I acquired an iPad. (Yes, I'm an Apple victim. Have been for years.) And for as long as they've been around, I've resisted ebooks, too. In general, I don't want to read for an extended period on a screen so sitting in front of a computer to read my favorite author wasn't something high on my priority list.

This year, though, I should 'fess up and say that I've read half a dozen books on my computer. They were all by friends who had written novels for NaNoWriMo and the experience wasn't as bad as I'd thought. Then I got the iPad.

And I started reading my friend Rachel's book Monster in My Closet. A book I'd already read on my computer earlier in the year on my computer, although in substantially different form.

The reading experience on the iPad is quite different and very much like reading a book. I use the Kindle app. It's not the same thing as reading a book, but it's not what I imagined it would be. The device itself has a nice weight to it and I can turn it any which way. If I'm sitting upright the device in my lap feels like a good-sized hard-back. If I'm at the table, perhaps eating breakfast, then it sits sideways with a nice double-page split. The font is very readable, the page-turn action is simple and comes with a little swipe sound if you want it. All in all, it's similar to reading a quote real book unquote.

But that's all technical stuff. As a reader of long standing, I resisted the switch on a number of levels: I didn't have an ereader and didn't want to spend the money on one; I couldn't envision wanting to read on a screen; and finally I loved physical books so much I didn't want to see them go away. The first thing I see when I go into my office at home or walk into my living room is a shelf of books. I like having books, being surrounded by them. One of the books on the shelf is one I wrote. Another has a story I contributed. (Full disclosure: I have an ecopy of the book on my shelf, too.)

Where I'm going with this is that I don't want physical books to go away, ever. But now - because reading on the iPad is so easy and even convenient - I'm willing to delve into ebooks. Price point is definitely a consideration, ebooks are generally a little cheaper, but I shop at used book stores, too, so that wasn't everything. I guess that finally what I've realized is that once I took the plunge and bought the device it made sense to read books on it.

If you're wavering at all, go ahead and flop in. You don't have to abandon traditional books, and I would encourage you not to. But it doesn't hurt to open up to a new experience.

My next step? I'm thinking about comiXology and reading comics on the iPad. It may take me a while longer to do that, but I imagine it'll work out just about the same.

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