Confessions of a Techie Book Lover

Photo credit: Witer on Flickr
I am very picky with the things I love, namely: writing, reading and technology.

I’ve talked about being picky with my writing. It’s called perfectionism

I’ve mentioned that I’m picky with what I read when talking about my epic TBR pile (which I REALLY need to get started on).

Technology…now that I haven’t quite covered. You’re probably thinking, well duh Ava, this is a writing blog, not a geeky technology blog. And that’s true. Except as well as being a reading/writing/movie/CG/X-Men/Harry Potter/Photoshop geek, I also happen to have a love for all things technological and it totally relates to writing/reading, I promise.

Before I buy any new technology, I read the reviews. Actually, that’s a bit misleading; I live and breathe the reviews for at least a day (usually more like a week) before I make any decisions. And if the reviews are bad, guess what? I’m not spending my money on it.

I also have this really bad habit of falling in love with technology I totally can’t afford (can you say MacbookPro?), but that’s another matter entirely.

So what does this have to do with all things literary, you ask? One word: e-reader.

The e-reader combines two things I love the most into one boss item, so you’d think I’d totally jump onto that ASAP, right? Well…

As of right now I don’t buy e-books. It’s not because I thumb my nose at self-publishing (I definitely don’t, I have mondo respect for all you indies out there), it’s not because I think e-books are inferior to actual books (even I will tell you that it’s the writing that matters, not the format), it’s not even that I love the new book smell so much I don’t know what I’d do without it (ok, maybe it’s a LITTLE bit that). The reason I don’t buy e-books, guys, is just that I’m really picky about the way I read.

Technically, I have an e-reader. It’s called an iPod Touch and it’s a little bit frightening how addicted I am to it. I take it everywhere and I don’t even use it to listen to music half the time. And yes, I’m fully aware that I can buy e-books on it, in fact I’ve even downloaded a few free samples to try it out. And although the samples were all fine, I wouldn’t read anything more than quick excerpts on it. Why?

Two reasons:

  1. The screen is too tiny. I don’t know how many of you have an iPod Touch or iPhone or have played around with one (I’m willing to bet it’s most of you, though), but that screen is tiny. It’s fine for playing games, for listening to music, even for jotting down little notes. But reading? I don’t know guys, I just don’t buy it.

    I have pretty decent eyes, I can deal with the tiny type (and I know I can make it bigger if I want to). What annoys me is only being able to read about a paragraph before I have to flip to the next page. The reading experience goes from flowing through an entire page (or two, depending on which page you’re on) to something like this:

    Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl. The girl met the boy and…

    …decided she didn’t like him very much but the boy liked the girl very…


    Ok, lame story, I’m feeling a little lazy right now but that’s not the point. The point is that having to “flip” to the next page every few sentences drives me crazy.

  2. The battery life. I don’t know what the official count for iPod Touch battery life is (I don’t have the newest one either, so it’s probably not as much as the newer models), but I do know that if I read on it all the time, it wouldn’t last very long. As it is I often have to charge it part-way through the day because I’ve overused it and it’s 3:00 and my iPod only has 20% battery left and it keeps giving me these little notifications that say I’M RUNNING LOW ON BATTERY and I’m like OK, OK iPOD I’LL CHARGE YOU IN A MINUTE and it’s like CHARGE ME NOW I’M RUNNING LOW, MY BATTERY IS RED, SEE?

    Now imagine trying to read while having that (totally normal) argument when your iPod. Maybe you could deal with it, but I can’t.

Now technically I have another e-reader, too. It’s called a laptop. And technically I could download e-books for reading onto it. And I’ve tried.

But guys, six years of reading work that needs editing on my computer has trained my brain to think if I’m reading it on the computer it isn’t finished and I know that’s seriously nitpicky and I’m sorry but that’s what it feels like to me. Not to mention that reading on the laptop screen gets tiring pretty quickly anyway.

Ok, ok, so obviously my solution is to go out and buy an e-reader. And I’ve tried a whole bunch of them out in the stores to see how I like them.

Well guys, I found one I like. Remember that bad habit I mentioned? The one about falling in love with technology you can’t afford?

Yep. I decided that the iPad is the best fit for me. Crap. (I’d go into huge detail about why I think the iPad will suit me best, but this blog post is long enough as it is.)

Seeing how I’m still saving up to replace my laptop, I don’t think I’ll be buying an iPad any time soon. Will I cave in and dish out money for a cheaper e-reader before then? I don’t know, it’s certainly possible. We’ll see how I feel around Christmas, I suppose.

One thing’s for sure though, I have a nice list of e-books in my head that I will most definitely be downloading when I do get one.

So what do you guys think? Am I being too nitpicky? (It’s ok, I know I am). What e-reader do you use if you have one? (I like reviews, remember?) 


Lori said...

eBooks are a beast of a different matter. I've had an ereader since the beginning. I'm one of those who looks at the reviews, but I like to stay up on technology. I bought a Sony years ago that I should have kept, but sent back after two weeks and bought my netbook, which, in, I love my netbook (currently being utilized by the hubby while on deployment) but it's not an ereader. Since, I bought another ereader by Sony, it's not as nice as the original but it's still one of the best for a reader/writer. That said, I'm about to sell it because I rarely use it. I also have a Samsung Galaxy S phone that I read on all the time and you'd think you don't edit while reading on one, but recently I have found I do. Here's something to consider in all the hubbub of the new ereaders. Sony's will read almost every format, it has flash card expansion slots, it has a stylis and can make notes as well as has dictionary and some other cool stuff. The battery life is supposed to be two weeks, it usually last me one. Just something to consider.

Francesca Zappia said...

My sister has a Kindle, and I cannot, for the life of me, read something off of it for more than a few seconds. I think it's mostly because of that thing you brought up--if I see it on a screen (any screen, not just my computer) i think it's unfinished. Plus, it hurts my eyes. new book smell. >.<

Dave said...

I read occasionally on my iPad, but my eyes are tired after about an hour of computer screen usage, including the iPad (I usually even break hourly when writing). I have a Nook that I love, and I've found that reading for extended periods of time on an e-ink display has no eye strain for me.

Honestly, though...I miss physical books, sometimes.

Gabe (Ava Jae) said...

I feel like no matter what I'm going to miss physical books and I'll probably keep buying my favorites in print as long as I can. Amazon is a wonderful thing.

BUT I'm fully aware there are plenty of great books out there that are only in e-book format...and I don't want to miss out on those selections forever.

So far it looks like there are many varying reviews on e-readers. Very interesting. :)

Jennie Bennett said...

I buy books on my droid because their cheep or free, but you are so right about holding a book in your hands and breathing in the smell. I only buy e-books if I'm not in rush to get them read. It's nice to have around because I always have my phone with me and if I need a book to read in a pinch it will do, but it is certainly not my first choice.

DD said...

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab and I love it. It's about the size of a DVD case -- or dare I say, a book? I've been able to download several books and I enjoy it so much as it helps me relax.

Krista said...

I have given you an award on my blog. So stop by to claim it. I Take the Pen

Gabe (Ava Jae) said...

I never thought of reading on my phone. I don't have internet on my current phone so it's not yet possible, but I'll be upgrading in a few months. Hmm. Interesting.

Samsung Galaxy Tab, huh? There are SO many tablets out there right now, I find it a little astounding. How do you even choose? O.o

And thank you Krista! ^_^

S.P. Sipal said...

I'm hoping I'll need to revisit this post soon, Ava. I don't have an e-reader yet (except for the computer!), but would love to get one soon. Maybe Christmas for me too!

Thanks for giving me some ideas to consider when I do. said...

I have been reading books on my Palm Pilot for nigh a decade or two. I love it (even with the small screen). It prevents me from considering justifiable homicide at the DMV or the supermarket, when I am waiting in line. It's the perfect size for those waits.

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