Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who’s afraid of the iPad?

I have a core belief. If you’re going to write stories (which I do) you should read at least as much as you write (which I sometimes do). If writers don't read who will? But the question is what’s the best way to read novels? Well, the iPad (or kindle etc…) because you can cram so many books onto one tiny lightweight device. So why even have printed books anymore? Aren’t they obsolete? Aren’t they going away?

In this conversation someone usually tells me no they’re not going away. I love the feel of the book in my hand. I love holding the feeling of flipping through actual pages. I love their smell. I love pulling them out of my book bag so people at Strabucks can see what I’m reading.

These are great reasons to keep printed books. But I think I have a better reason—if the printed book goes away I may never finish a book again. It’s not that I have a short attention span. All things considered mine’s pretty decent, I’d say above average.

What paralyzes me is choice.

I recently got streaming Netflix on my Wii and now every time I’m watching a movie I can’t focus. I keep thinking there’s something better out there. I know I’m watching War Games but what if there’s something more relevant? They’ll probably do a remake of War Games in a year or two anyway. So then I got back to my instant queue where there ARE SO MANY MOVIES. I scroll through them and I think what is the best possible movie I could be watching at this moment.

It’s the same with an eReader. I feel like yes there are so many books but am I reading the best possible one? And honestly, I never think that when I’m reading a book in my hand. I never think: Is this the book I should be reading? It’s simply that I bought it or checked it out and so now I’m going to finish. I may not like it. I may hate it. But reading bad books is part of reading too.

How about you? Do you feel paralyzed by all the choices eReaders and On Deamnd. Or is that freeing to you?


Ash said...

well, rob, i don't own and probably won't. like you: i enjoy turning the pages in a new book, the smell, the idea of finishing what i started, the conversation starter at the coffee shop or just the new ideas that come to mind. i feel like w/ so many options, i wouldn't finish one thing, as well- and to me? it's too distracting. on the web i'm constantly jumping from one thing to another, and would the same the ipad, kindle etc. even though i'm sure they have their benefits. but there's something satisfying about putting the book on my growing library. + i have an appreciation for all the mind bending work that went into the author's writing, and printing and re-writing. how can i not turn the pages? hard-copy isn't going away and it's for the best.

Matt Nightingale said...

Dude. You nailed it. That's exactly how I feel now that I have Netflix for my Wii... It's like I'm never satisfied to just watch a movie. Same with my iPod. I have 18,000+ songs on it, but now I can't ever decide what to listen to! And shuffle is no good, because the NEXT SONG might be so much better! I haven't broken down and bought a Kindle yet and now I don't think I will. I love how you said you might not even like the book, but you're going to finish it. Same with me. I read three fiction books in the last month, from the library, just because they looked interesting. And I keep them on my bedside table until I finally get to them! That would not happen with the Kindle.