Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kindling the Fire

My husband bought me a Kindle Fire and I've been loading it with books to read and reading books on it for the past few months. We've set the dates for a European vacation this fall and it will be nice to have books to read without having "books" in the carry on--I even ordered a couple of guidebooks.

I've also read two scholarly books on the Kindle, wanting to get a head start on them before the printed book came out: Eamon Duffy's Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition and G.W. Bernard's The Late Medieval English Church. I don't think I'll do that again--try to read something scholarly in this virtual format. How do I cite the text? It's hard to move around in the text and it even irritates me that I can reach the end of the book and the Kindle still tells me I've only read 99%--I can't find the last 1%--I'm at the end of the text! Then when I go back to the text, the Kindle tells me I've only read 35%--I've finished the book! It hurts my sense of accomplishment. Perhaps these are my failings in using technology (and otherwise), but I find that reading these books in this format limited my use of the text.

The Wall Street Journal published this story from very tech-savvy reader, disenchanted by his e-reader:

I BROKE UP WITH E-BOOKS last year after a flight from Los Angeles to New York. My first-generation Kindle and I had been together for five years, but I knew we'd have to go our separate ways when, an hour into the journey, it completely shut me out. Or rather, it shut down. I'd forgotten to charge the device before I left.

Upon arrival in New York, I coolly walked into a bookstore and bought a paperback version of the book my Kindle wouldn't let me read in the air. It felt good to be back on paper, turning real pages. I realized then: E-readers are needy, but a paperback will always be there for you.

I used to swear by my Kindle. I bought the original model the day it came out. But over the years, we grew apart. Ultimately, our needs were different. It's difficult to think back, but I see now how a match seemingly made in heaven turned sour.

Joshua Fruhlinger doesn't have the same complaint I do about the e-reading experience, but he points out several limits with the technology and the experience of reading books on his Kindle. I'm sure I'll continue to read books and use my Kindle, but not this type of scholarly book in my field of interest.

What has been your experience with e-readers, readers? Do you find them effective for any and all reading material? Or are you selective in your use? Thanks for your input.

No comments:

Post a Comment