As someone who reads a lot and loves gadgets I’ve been intrigued by e-books and e-readers for some time. I decided to conduct an experiment: between October last year and the beginning of January this year I read books only on an e-reader, not on paper.
I felt that I needed to spend some time doing this so I read ten books – nine of them on a Sony Reader Pocket and one on the Amazon Kindle. I would have liked longer with the Kindle but Amazon’s review units have been in high demand so I had to make do with one title.
The result of the experiment? I’m back to reading books on paper. I’ll explain why in a moment but here are five things I learned from my e-reading experiment.
1. The weight is a nice advantage
E-readers are remarkably light, weighing less than all but the flimsiest paperback. You can hold the book and turn the pages with one hand. Admittedly, holding a book is hardly the most awkward task but an e-reader is definitely more comfortable to read in bed or lying on a sofa. More importantly, the fact that e-readers can store hundreds of books makes them ideal for travel. I took mine on a few trips last year and it was great to have all my reading with me, in one lightweight device, instead of cramming a selection of titles into my luggage.
2. Page turning is less irritating than you’d think
One of the first things you notice when you start using an e-reader is the small delay in turning pages. The gap between pressing the ‘next page’ button and the screen refreshing to show the page is one of the limitations of e-ink displays. The Sony Reader Pocket seemed to turn pages more slowly than either the more powerful Sony Reader Touch or the Amazon Kindle. However, you do get used to the delay. You get into a rhythm of pressing ‘next page’ a moment before you finish the last line of text and the reading experience remains smooth. It sounds far from ideal but it didn’t really bother me.