Print is dead (to me)

So I bought an iPad back in April. I believe tomorrow is my 2 month iPad anniversary.

I love the thing. In principal I hate how closed iTunes is, but in practice I never find myself longing for something I can’t get. Basically I focus on what the iPad can do, and don’t worry about what it can’t. The iPad was additive with regards to my life…I didn’t sacrifice anything for it. I didn’t trade in my laptop or my netbook for the iPad, so yeah, I focus on what it can do today, while we wait for the Android competition to heat up. I’m looking forward to using the tablet that is better than the iPad, whenever and from whomever it comes.

Anyway, one of the things I use it for every day is reading books. I have iBooks (Apple’s books), Kindle and Barnes & Noble book readers on there. Right now I’m chewing through Storm Front, the first Harry Dresden book (which I got for free from B&N via a promotion). Before that it was For The Win and before that a couple of Riverworld books.

I’m looking at the stack of print books sitting next to my bedside table and find myself not wanting to open them up. I’m thinking about re-purchasing these books in e-book format. I’m that taken by reading on the iPad (I’m sure I’d feel the same about the Kindle or Nook, too).

My eyes aren’t that good. I really need to get new glasses but my job doesn’t offer vision coverage and I never seem to have the extra couple hundred $$ that it’ll cost me. With the iPad, I bump up the font. If I’m out and about and don’t have any glasses with me, I bump it up really huge. When I’m reading in bed at the end of the day, I wear my not-really-strong-enough glasses and bump the font up a medium amount. And turn the brightness on the iPad way down.

Since I always have the iPad handy, I always have my book handy. I really like that. And I always have the web handy in the event I want to quickly look something up. And I never lose my place.

I love my books but now I’m feeling this weird conflict. I don’t want to give up my shelves and shelves of books. Or the smell of an older book. And yet, I don’t really want to go back to reading tiny print on paper, either.

Same goes for magazines. I haven’t opened a print magazine since I got the iPad. I read articles on the web now.

It’s really a strange feeling. Like my world has shifted a tiny bit.

11 thoughts on “Print is dead (to me)

  1. Ah ha! I’m not advocating a Fahrenheit 451 or anything, but I’m an avid reader as well, but have NEVER understood the argument that people offer for hardcopy books. Saying that they could never go 100% e-book because they miss the paper, or the smell, or having a book on their shelf is like saying you buy the cereal for the box. To me, it’s what’s INSIDE that counts (and not in an after-school special kinda way).

    The fact that you can get hundreds of thousands of books anywhere, any time, and that you CAN take them ALL with you, that they’re (generally) cheaper, is the super big plus to me…more so then decorating my house with them. I’ll find that I hear about a book on the radio or TV or online, and I know that I can HAVE THAT BOOK in minutes via an e-reader, as opposed to getting in my car, driving to the bookstore, finding it (or not, depending on inventory on hand, or whether or not they actually stock that book) is such a PITA when it comes down to it.

  2. When it comes to newspapers and magazines, I long ago gave them up for PC desktops and portable devices.

    When it comes to Books however, there’s no comparison. Reading for long periods of time with a hard shell device, on a TFT screen (E Ink is a bit of an improvement but still not there yet), that’s just uncomfortable. There are trade-offs tho: Flipping tangible pages is fast and natural, while search is so convenient when you don’t remember which page to flip to.

    The other big plus with any digital device is when you have it with you always. Convenience. For this though, I think of the iPad as being a bit too large and a smartphone a lot more appropriate.

  3. Just told hubby I want a kindle. Had a palm back in the day and used it mostly for ebook Reading. Recently found my ebook collection and want to read it again. Think ebooks should be a tad cheaper, but so far people are buying them and the same site that does our library download for audiobooks offers ebooks too.

    As for glasses, I use, $33 for a pair. Love it

  4. “Reading for long periods of time with a hard shell device, on a TFT screen … that�s just uncomfortable.”

    I hear that so often that I accepted it as fact, but now that I have the iPad I’m finding it just isn’t true *for me*. Again, I think everyone’s eyes are really different. Or maybe habits? I’ve been staring at screens for 10+ hours a day for 25 years or so… maybe I’m just so used to it? I mean, possibly a ‘large print’ book would be more comfortable than a screen, but a screen is more comfortable than a typical book for me. Getting old sucks.

    I can’t really do e-books on a phone. The screen is just too small. By the time I push the font size up to where I can read it comfortably, there 2-3 words/line. 🙂 That’s not to say I don’t do it from time to time, but the page flipping gets a bit silly!

    Arb, thanks for that goggles4u link!! I’ll check them out!

  5. I understand that the ipad is an addition to the hardware you have, and that lets it fill a niche without having to be a choice between buying something that does A and something that does B. But I really don’t know that it’s a good argument to buy one. I don’t have a laptop or netbook, but I do have an Android phone. Would the ipad really offer me anything more than the phone does now, or is buying a netbook a better use of resources (like the $199 Eee that Woot is selling today, for example.)

    I guess I still don’t really see the attraction of it. The ipad is a generalist but limited by Apple’s choices to tie it to itunes, disallow flash and all that. I don’t see someone in my position justifying getting it over a netbook, or laptop, or ebook reader.

  6. I have an Android phone too (a Droid). If you’re young enough that staring at a 4″ screen for hours at a time doesn’t bother you, then there’s not a lot that the iPad can do that an Android phone can’t. I just can’t do that… my eyes start to tear up after 15-20 minutes of using my phone for reading off. I’m really excited about future Android tablets though… I’m all over those once they hit the market.

    I have a 23″ monitor on my computer, too. I could have saved a lot of money buying a 12-13″ monitor, but to me more space = better.

    I mean, I don’t get a commission from Apple or anything; my intent isn’t really to sell the iPad to people. What I love about the iPad is that it is a *tablet*. The fact that it is a piece of Apple hardware is, if anything, a detriment to me. But there’s no better tablet on the market, yet.

    I detest the experience of sitting in an office chair reading e-books off my computer screen. I can sit on the couch and use my laptop/netbook, as long as I have a nice bit of padding between me and it so it doesn’t cook my legs (in the case of the laptop). And it’s awkward to hold. And the screen sucks in comparison to the iPad screen. And pulling up an e-book is orders of magnitude faster than loading some e-book reader software and then loading a book on a laptop/netbook. So for me, the iPad beats a netbook most of the time. I’ve used my netbook… maybe once since buying the iPad. It just feels slow and clumsy in comparison.

    If *all* you want to do is read e-books, take a look at the Nook. B&N is giving a $50 gift certificate with purchase, effectively bringing the price down to $210.

    If I had the choice of owning a laptop or an iPad, I’d go with the laptop, for sure. I can get real work done on the laptop; it’s a computer. The iPad isn’t (in my mind at least) a computer. That decision is like “Should I get an Xbox or a laptop?” to me… apples and oranges, no pun intended. 🙂

  7. Your teasing me with your love of the iPad, Pete! My MacBook Pro purchase was well worth the monies and am glad your a little happier in owning an Apple product now 😉

  8. @Pete: I guess what I’m saying is, for me: The way you compare reading on a 4″ phone to the iPad is about the way I compare reading on an iPad to a physical book.

    Oddly, I’d be more likely to get a tablet for reading if it were smaller, because the big pivot point to me is in convenience. I never found a laptop to be convenient and netbooks have disappointingly (to me at least) gotten bigger and bigger in size. I love the idea of tablets, I always have, but they’ve never been done well enough. After trying one out in the store, I found the iPad to be too big and unwieldy for what it does.

    I read one book at a time, so (for reading at least) I compare the iPad directly to computer manuals and paperbacks. I don’t compare my phone to books, because I’m going to be carrying my phone regardless.

    Just a little bit smaller would suit me, maybe somewhere between the Dell Streak and the iPad. Actually the Streak would be a whole lot closer to what I want if it just had a higher resolution.

    I hope the iPad sells tons actually, which may seem contrary for me since I’m distinctly not an Apple fan. The more the market opens up, the more likely I’ll be able to buy what suits me.

  9. @Rog, there are some nice looking Android tablets due out by end of the year in the 7-8″ range, which might be right up your alley.

    FWIW I find the iPad cumbersome when it is ‘naked.’ It’s too slippery and I feel like I’m going to drop it. The over-priced case makes it a lot more manageable. I can hold it easily with one hand and my thumb rests perfectly for flipping pages. Well, when I say “hold it” I really mean hold it upright, usually the thing is resting on my chest or the bed (if I’m laying down). When I’m sitting in a chair I tend to prop it on my leg or something.

  10. The iPad has really captured my imagination (and sense of geekness) since I got to play with one last weekend. I’d love to get one but, alas, I won’t.

    The biggest problem for me is the lack of Flash support which kills it usefulness. For example, I think this type of gadget would be perfect for my wife as she basically only writes emails and surfs the web but (and here’s the kicker) she’s also hooked on a Flash game called Sunshine Ranch and thus there is absolutely no point getting an iPad for her to use.

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