This summer I was given an iPad and among some of the apps that I put on it was the kindle app. I already had it on my computer after buying a book that was only available in e format and I hated it. The kindle app, I mean, not the book. Maybe it’s me and my fidgety fingers, but in my opinion, the Mac and kindle app do not a happy marriage make. But I was willing to give it a go on the iPad as there wasn’t a keyboard in the way, so you could hold it like a book, and if my mother-in-law can love the Kindle, then I felt that I should give it another go.
So I downloaded a shedload of sample chapters. For years I’ve written children’s fantasy books, and all of a sudden this story has come to me that is right out of my comfort and reading zone, so I figured I would ‘sample’ some of the books in the genre I’m writing and if I like them I’ll buy them. As it is, I haven’t read a single chapter, but I did accidentally buy a YA fantasy book (oops!) And as it was a WHOLE book as opposed to a chapter I felt that I really, really had to read it.
The book was Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman and I’m not going to review it now, other than to say I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I will review the reading experience.
Firstly, one of the things I liked about reading on a tablet is that it’s thin. When you are reading on a packed metro sometimes other commuters get a bit sniffy when you shove your hoofing great book into their backs. Also given that I seem to travel around with everything but the kitchen sink, the iPad is also light compared to some of the tomes I’ve been known to shove in my bag. Once reading, the print was clear, the pages were faithfully reproduced. I eventually turned on the page turn animation, which I quite liked, it just made me feel more like I was reading a book.
But in some ways I’m an old fuddy duddy, and eventually there were some simple things that I missed like page numbers and pages. The app tells you what percent of the book you’ve read, but not being a maths genius I found that difficult to translate into pages that I’ve read and the number I have left to read. Another reason that I missed page numbers is that when I’m getting near the end, I either slow down to prolong the reading experience, or speed on to finish, here I was lacking that physical evidence.
Then there were some downright inconveniences. For instance, the iPad’s shiny screen means no daytime reading on the beach (not to mention that a beach and iPad don’t seem like a good mixture to me). Then there’s the fact that it’s an iPad and not a Kindle. I’m a bit of a night-time reader and may occasionally fall asleep reading. Imagine my surprise then when a whack in the teeth woke me up! Lastly, there were some formatting glitches. Typos and so such just pull me out of the text. I’ve read a couple of preview copies before and it was the same thing. It was only for a second, but it completely pulled me out of the text. But this time, it annoyed me a bit. This wasn’t a preview copy, I’d paid for this book (accidentally). And then this brings me to the 1-click Amazon purchase. OK, it did exactly what it said it would, but I wasn’t thinking and I wasn’t expecting to purchase the book. Needless to say I won’t be clicking on that button again! Well, unless I mean to. And lastly, I quite like passing on my books, and that’s something else you can’t do with a Kindle.
So basically to weigh everything up, I don’t think I will be giving up paper just yet (especially as I have a huge pile of books to read, and apparently my mother is bringing me more, and in the genre I’m writing in). When I go away I may stick a book the kindle app, but otherwise I think I’ll stick with my books. Unless someone were to buy me a proper Kindle.