Sunday, 30 June 2013

The temptations of an e-reader

I finally succumbed to the temptation of buying an e-reader. I didn’t buy a Kindle or a Nook as neither is sold in a big way in Mumbai. I have seen just one Kindle model in retail stores and not a single Nook tablet anywhere. Amazon has now formally entered India and it remains to be seen what the world’s largest online retailer has to offer to probably the world’s most e-gadget obsessed nation.

At first, I thought I’d buy an inexpensive tablet without a “phone” or “calling” option because all I wanted was to read ebooks. I went through the lineup of tablets like iball, Dell, Sony, and Acer with 10-inch screens, selling for anywhere between Rs.5,000 and Rs.10,000 ($83 to $166). The dollar recently bummed Rs.11 ($.50) off the rupee.


Unsure of just how good these tablets were, my son convinced me into buying the popular Samsung Galaxy Tab2 with 7.1-inch screen, 16-GB built-in memory, and a calling option. He said it cost more (Rs.16,000 or $320) but it was more reliable than any other tablet on the Indian market with excellent after-sales service. I’m glad I heeded his advice. 

An illustrative picture of an
Aldiko book shelf
The tablet, backed by lots of free and exciting stuff from Android, has plenty of features that I haven’t explored yet. The first thing I asked my son to do was to download a simple but efficient ebook reader from Android and he showed no hesitation in choosing Aldiko for my proposed ebook library. It’s a terrific application and I couldn’t have asked for a more uncomplicated reader. I have now stacked up the “book shelf” with lots of copyright-free ebooks across categories I like reading, including non-fiction.

I also downloaded a couple of apps for my trivial pursuits like chess and scrabble. I haven’t played either of the two yet and I still have to get around to films and music.

An e-reader has lots of advantages and almost no disadvantages that I can think of. If there is one, then it is choosing between a real book and an ebook to read. I often find myself putting away a torn and tattered book midway for the pleasure of reading an ebook on a sophisticated device. My books in the real world are crying out to be read.

10 comments:

  1. the main advantages to an ereader are 1) a lot of good stuff these days is only being published in ebook, and 2) you can carry a whole lot of books in a very little space. Otherwise I still prefer a print book just to sit down and read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charles, I have downloaded some early books that I have been meaning to read. Besides, Kindle works well on this tablet and I have included some of my purchases from Amazon. I agree, there is no substitute for reading a print book.

      Delete
  2. I have the aldiko app, as well as Kindle & Google's own play books on my nexus. Between the 3 of them I can carry an stupidly large quantity of books with me.Yet like Charles I also still prefer physical books, although I wouldn't be without my nexus because I can use it to edit posts, store information & ideas about what I'm reading which I couldn't do with a hard copy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Parrish Lantern, I know what you mean by a "stupidly large quantity of books" because I didn't know which copyright-free books to import on the tablet. I wanted them all. I have never been methodical about my reading. Physical books have their own charm and I continue to read at least two at a time. I'm also looking for a good word processor app for the tablet. Any suggestions?

      Delete
  3. Well done, I don't own one myself, but use an e-reader from my laptop. I don't think you can beat the feel, look and smell of a paperback, whether it's brand new or aged. But availability and price has a lot to do with how my library grows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Col, thank you. I feel normal now! Before the purchase of the tablet, I read ebooks on the laptop and desktop which has certain limitations. Most of my ebooks are stored on the two computers. Now I can download those same books directly onto my tablet which supports pdf, epub, txt, and doc formats; though, epub works best. True, you certainly can't beat the feel of a good book in your hands.

      Delete
  4. I am in agreement on reading paper is better, more comfortable and I love the covers (mostly). But... we also bought a Samsung Tablet to be our first e-reader. Later we bought a Kindle paperwhite, and it works well for us to have both because my husband enjoys using the tablet for reading email and etc. too. But I usually prefer the tablet as a e-reader because I like the size of the screen although not the weight. I am reading an e-book right now, only about my 5th one in nine months. But I have many more books on there I want to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy, apart from Aldiko I read some ebooks on a Kindle app on my tablet, which I also use to check emails and surf the internet. It's quite a handy device and the point and type face of the printed matter is easy on the eyes. The weight doesn't bother me; it's about as heavy as a 300-page book. I continue to read physical books already in my possession. I usually read two books each in both formats. However, certain books like the classics I'll always read in print form. Reading has become innovative.

      Delete
  5. I hope you enjoy your reader, Prashant. I use mine rarely but it is still useful for travelling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, I'm enjoying the experience of reading on an e-reader, especially while commuting by train to and from work. I read physical books at home.

      Delete