Wednesday, August 17, 2011

iBook

A few years back, when the Kindle became all the rage, I did what I normally do when things become all the rage. I judged. Why? I'm not sure, but it was a harsh enough reaction (not quite at the caustic level I reach when I hear "granite countertops and stainless steel appliances" but pretty close) that I had to stop and consider what was it about the electronic format that made me cringe. I think my initial reaction was based on two things: the profile of the early adopters and inefficiency of the medium itself.


EARLY ADOPTERS

If I saw one early twenty something girl in an airport with a Chihuahua in a small mesh crate, oversized Dior sunglasses, a bottle of water and an Rx of Prozac with a Kindle I saw 30. And each time I wanted to figure out a way to either shorts them in public, or spill their water on their electronic device, rendering it useless.

And please don't even get me started on the hipster boys wearing their girlfriend's jeans. Are you kidding me? I'm bloody gay and nothing has ever made me want to say "Man up!" more than this unfortunate, dreadful occurrence.

THE MEDIUM

Sometimes you just don't need to eff with something that works. Books are practical. They're easily accessible. To read a book you do one thing. Pick it up, open it, read. You can also do nifty things like obtain a public library card, which allows you access to an amazing world of literature and guess what ... it's free. And it also is fun because you're bound by time, and this encourages you to read more. I think that's a pretty swell thing.

With the electronic rendition you have a few significant barriers to entry. There's cost, and there's technology. You pay for every book you download (usually), and you have to ensure your device is sync'ed and, more important, charged. What could suck more than wanting to read and having it say "Oh girl not now, I'm too drained."

THE CONCLUSION

Not gonna lie, when I got my iPad2 earlier this year, I decided I would at least give myself an objective opportunity to validate my judgment. I actually bought a book and have been reading it since. That's what, 4 months? 5 months? I'm nearly finished, and the book is quite good. It's "The Paris Wife," by Paula McLain, by the by, but I do think I'd have finished it much sooner had I begun it in traditional printed format. I probably consumed the lion's share on a recent flight to and from Los Angeles. I do love the little bookmark feature, and swiping to turn pages does feel a bit like reading. And because I have my iPad with me at almost all times, it's usually pretty easy to access.

I have some other books I want to read, and think I'll revert to my traditional, "old school" library card option. I like the library. It's a relaxing place with an amazing purpose.

No comments: