Saturday, October 23, 2010

A few words in favor of ebooks

I almost made the heading "A few words in defense of ebooks," but that seemed a bit harsh.  I don't think they need defending.  They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves.  Beyond the standard necessity for the first amendment, I don't think that they need too much in the way of protection.

My next choice was "A few words in praise of ebooks," but I don't know that I am really being laudatory.  More like pointing out the somewhat obvious or a handy benefit of the versatility of ebooks.  (Not sure that versatility is the right word there.)

Anyway, my point.  I have one, I promise.  I sat down with one, and I am going to get to it.

The other day I wondered "aloud" on my Facebook page what I should read next, and I got a recommendation from a somewhat surprising source.  It turned out to be a rather good recommendation actually.

In the past, I would have made a late run to the bookstore, but instead I downloaded the book to Gertrude the nook and started reading almost at once.  (It is rather amazing how slight a connection is required to download an ebook.)  But that benefit/hazard is already pretty well known.  In fact, it is a major component of most ereader advertising campaigns.

The next day I managed to leave Gertrude at work buried under some papers.  Oh no!!  My reading material for the evening was missing!  What to do?  I considered driving back to the office, but really wasn't excited about that prospect.  I had plenty of reading material.  Surely I could find something else.  But I didn't want to find something else.  I wanted to find out what happened next!

Then I thought to myself, "Well, I could turn on the computer and read the rest of the book that way, even though I am not much good at reading backlit screens full of text for hours on end."  I sighed heavily.  Such tragedy.  To be without immediate, preferred access to my drug of choice.  Woe was me.

But wait!!  There was an alternative!  I have downloaded the nook application not only to my PC and laptop but also to Saraswati the Droid phone (just as any overly-gadgeted geek would do), and the Droid screen can easily be dimmed within the nook application to make reading easier.  Although it was a bit odd to be turning "pages" every few sentences, the smaller screen was actually less of a strain on the retinas, so I was able to finish reading the book from the comfort of the magic chair.

Not ideal circumstances, but I managed to survive the hardship with minimal trauma.  Had I been reading the book the "old fashioned" way, I would have been completely out of luck and would have either had to be patient or find something completely else to read or do with my evening.  Technology saves the day!!  Or at least staves off a few hours of boredom.

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure about "versatility" either. Given the dénoument of the forgotten nook difficulty, the work might be "accessibility." At least that is where I stopped my list: flexibility, malleability, convenience, availability, (possible) ubiquity.

    P.S. Having had to look up the spelling of malleability, that might be the word, given the "stress" or "load" of forgetting Gertrude: "The property by virtue of which a material can be extended in all directions without rupture by the application of load." definition from Wikitionary.