Wednesday, 30 April 2014

#papervspixels April Challenge: thoughts

I have a Nook that I bought in order to use Netgalley.  I read far too much to buy every book so rely on libraries a lot and, if I were to ever pay money to read a book, I would always rather buy a 'real' copy so that it could live on my shelves at home rather than only exist for as long as the technology does...perhaps that is silly but when the power goes out who'll be laughing eh?  I've only read a few dozen books on the Nook in the year or so since buying it so when I saw the #papervspixels challenge on twitter I decided it would do me good to try and use it more!  So for the month of April I only read electronically...

Expecting to really struggle and be tempted to my massive TBR pile at home, I had a look on Netgalley  and requsted some titles.  I was pleased to see a couple of titles I had on my shelves so that I could kill 2 birds with one stone: 'Smart' by Kim Slater, 'Vango: Between Sky and Earth' by Timothee de Fombelle and Roddy Doyle's 'Brilliant'.  Some, 'Cuckoo Song' by Francess Hardinge, 'The Finisher' by David Baldacci and 'Echo Boy' by Matt Haig, I wanted to read anyway and others, 'Don't Even Think About It' by Sarah Mlynowski and 'Half my Facebook Friends are Ferrets' by J.A. Buckle I just liked the look of.  I also read a book that I'd bought in a K*ndle sale months ago on the app on our iPad, the wonderful 'Mr Penumbra's 24hour Bookstore' by Robin Sloan.

  • I didn't miss the feel of books as much as I thought I would because the convenience of having it lying on the table made it really easy to read at the same time as eating
  • much lighter bag to carry around
  • easier to hold on a busy train or while waiting for one
  • no panic about having a second book in case I finish the one I'm reading when nowhere near home or a library!
  • I actually found it easier to decide what to read - in fact I just read them in the order in which I downloaded them
  •  It was great to get round to reading things I'd intended to read for ages but because they're not physically in front of me other books kept taking precedence!

  • constant fretting that the battery might die or the book corrupt (it has only happened a couple of times, but never happens with paper!)
  • because they were proofs in some instances the formatting was wonky which could be distracting
  • pictures never look as good electronically as they do on a real page
  • I missed looking at the cover and reading the blurb before beginning reading (but often with proofs you miss that anyway)
  • I might have skim read a little more than usual, and frustratingly often accidentally tapped the screen to turn the page before I'd actually finished reading the page...
  • I can't pass it on to another reader (or wave the library copy under someone's nose)
  • If I hadn't had access to Netgalley, i.e. I were any normal non-library/publishing/blogging person, it would have been a far greater struggle to find something worth reading because the library selection of eBooks is currently rubbish and I have a long term book buying ban that I will only break in extreme circumstances (e.g. when a new Pratchett is available for pre-order...)
I don't think the process of reading these books electronically affected my enjoyment of them although I definitely didn't prefer it to reading hardcopy books.  I actually preferred reading on the iPad to the Nook when sitting eating breakfast but when travelling the Nook was far easier.  I guess the point is that no one format is perfect for every occasion.  From a purely practical point of view eReading is easier but from a purely aesthetic point of view 'real' books are far superior.

What I liked best about the challenge was that I had a set list of things I would read that month so I'm thinking I'll do that again.  The books in my bedroom are always library books + those given to me that I want to read asap, but I often get distracted by the bigger pile downstairs or by new arrivals.  So for the next few weeks that pile is only going to shrink as I am not going to let myself look further than the bedroom set when choosing the next read until it is empty, then I can enjoy refilling it!  What should I pick first though?