July 18th, 2012
I sometimes say that I’m not against new technology, I’m just frightened of it. Some kind friends gave me a Kobo and gently talked me through how to read on it. There are some kinks to be worked out–now that I’ve finished reading my one book, I can’t seem to get anymore–but I did like the experience. And after one novel, of course I’m totally qualified to talk about it.
1. More than one book at once. Sometimes I’ll read two books at once–a “heavy” read for when I’m feeling strong, and a “light” read for when I’m too tired for the heavy one, but not tired enough to sleep. Sometimes I need to bring a second book because I know I’ll finish the first before I get home. Sometimes I wish I could check a fact from the first book in the series while reading the second. I can’t actually lug around all these books (though I do somewhat, in the second case) and the Kobo solves all these problems.
2. Surprisingly durable. I regularly bend back covers and break spines in my reading endeavours, and then I feel terribly guilty, though most books are of the same literary quality with and without a broken spine. The Kobo in it’s little leather cover does not get smushed in my bag and it lays perfectly flat on a table without me breaking anything.
3. Some things are available only in ebook format, like Found Press, the thing I tried to buy last night and was thwarted due to technological incompetence. But now, finally, I can dream of reading the estuff, somehow, someday…
1. Committment. The Kobo I have takes a few minutes to boot up, by which point the subway’s usually already arrived and I’ve wasted all my bench time staring into space. I probably read for 2 hours most days, but a lot of it is in tiny increments. That doesn’t work so well electronically. I like to read in long lines in stores, when my dining companion goes to the restaurant bathroom, all kinds of other little gaps in time. But the boot time makes that not really work. Ditto reading before bed, turning out the light for 5 minutes, realizing I’m not that sleepy, reading for 5 more minutes, then turning the light back off.
2. Fear. Even though I say above that the item is durable, I still get worried about this expensive piece of technology and put it back in its case every time I stand up. This is more my problem than the Kobo’s, but it did limit my reading time. I also can’t fathom how to read it in the bath. Sometimes I get my paper books a little damp, and then the pages are wrinkly, but oh well. I have the feeling the ramifications would be worse here.
3. Inferior quality ebooks. My one eread so far was Don DeLillo’s End Zone, a truly brilliant novel that came out in the 1970s. See where a problem might lie? I don’t know why, but apparently the Penguin folks, or whoever own the ebook rights, *scanned* a copy of the paper book and just made that into an ebook. I can’t explain any other way why there are NO hyphens in the entire book, and constant ligature problems (“Penn State” becomes “Perm State” and other hilarious examples). I regularly had to stop reading to think about what was actually supposed to be written there. I think this would only be a problem with older books, and probably there’s better QC on most, but this was a disappointing aspect of an otherwise wonderful experience.
In short, I am really really enamoured of my new reader, and despite a few flaws and things to get used to, I’m verily looking forward to reading more. As soon as I figure out how to get another book on it!!