Over Christmas I downloaded a free ebook of Jo Nesbo’s The Redbreast from the iTunes 12 Days of Christmas app. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to try out ebooks with something I wanted to read anyway and at no cost.

Pros

  • Capacity – we are already overflowing our bookshelves, despite a determined effort to weed our collection and decision to borrow rather than buy books. Converting to ebooks would offer a solution to this.
  • Pagination- I really like the feature in iBooks that tells you how many pages there are left in the chapter. It makes deciding whether to continue reading or go to sleep so much easier.
  • Page turning – I like that with iBooks Apple have tried to keep the authentic page turning effect, as demonstrated in the picture above.

Cons

  • Distraction – I am easily distracted and I found having my reading book on my iPad meant that I messed about on the Internet for a while before settling down to read. This limited the amount of time I spent on the book in an average day.
  • Disunity – my usual reading time is before I go to sleep, and in the bedroom we have an unwritten rule about using mobile devices. After I finished the ebook my wife confessed to me that having me in bed with my iPad felt odd because it wasn’t entirely clear what I was doing. Whereas when we usually read side-by-side there’s a sense of unity.
  • Discomfort – reading on the iPad just wasn’t as comfortable as reading a print book. I often found I couldn’t get into a comfortable position where I could rest my iPad and turn the pages.

So in number my pros and cons are equal but when looking back on the experience overall I’d say that it was a little underwhelming. Looking at my cons they all appear to relate to the act of reading itself, whereas the pros are largely about functionality. Reading for me is about the full experience, the act of reading a book is as important as the book’s content. So for the moment I’ll be sticking with print, but won’t rule out giving ebooks another go in the future.