My newest travel companion
As I've mentioned before, I'm a true bookworm and reading is my favourite pastime. But because I travel a lot, I'm always looking for ways to pack lighter. Books are often the heavyweight in my luggage, but I would never travel without one (or three)...
The joy of reading
I have hundreds of books at home, and like all good bibliophiles, I love cracking that new cover, smelling the pages, admiring the font, not to mention getting lost in a good tale. But this past holiday season, I made the leap to an electronic reader.
Right off the bat, let me be clear. I’m not replacing actual paper and ink books. Gadzooks, I’d never dream of doing such a thing! I’m merely supplementing my reading experience, and lightening my luggage load, with electronic books.
Santa heard my pleas this Christmas and brought me a Sony Reader Touch Edition. I eagerly downloaded books from both Chapters’ ebook store, Kobo, and from Sony’s ebook store, Reader Library, to my laptop and then transferred them over to the Reader. (The interface is fairly intuitive so it’s easy to do.)
The average book costs between $9 and $20, but both sites are constantly sending emails advertising discounts. So if you’re in the market for electronic version of your reading list, it pays to wait for the deal alerts.
All ebook readers are not created equal
Both Santa and I did some extensive research into the matter and I ended up asking for Sony’s Reader over the Amazon Kindle for the Sony’s ebook availability. Because Kindle is Amazon’s proprietary digital ereader, you can only download books from Amazon.
With Sony’s Reader, you can download books through many different websites and also those that are in the public domain. (This usually means books that are over 80 years old. So if you want to delve into the classics, Sony’s a wise choice.)
One downside to the Sony is that it’s not wireless-enabled, so I can’t download books directly from the web. It all has to go through a computer.
Test drive: vacation time!
I took my new Reader, with its snazzy black leather cover, with me on my trip to Mexico and read two books on it. It took me about 40 pages to get used to it and then I was lost in a particularly engrossing ghost story (“The Little Stranger” by Sarah Waters), with no thought to the fact that I was reading a book on a screen. (I also read “Await Your Reply” by Dan Chaon on this trip. Excellent.)
There’s a lot to like
For starters, an eReader is much lighter than a hardcover and less bulky than many paperbacks. The Sony Reader Touch holds 350 books and only takes up minimal space in my carry-on bag.
I was worried about glare on the screen but had no problems reading it in bright sunlight. Also, it’s easy to hold and turn the pages, all with one hand. And when you turn it off, you don’t lose your place.
It has a built-in dictionary, just tap the word with the stylus. You can type text memos or handwritten ones. (You can download pictures and audio files too, though I haven’t used those features yet.)
The battery lasted through an entire book, though the longest one I’ve read on it thus far is 395 pages. I’m going to need to juice it up for a longer read.
Real books vs. ebooks
I have a couple downsides to mention about ereading in general:
One, when it comes to beach reading, you want to avoid getting sand in any of those little crevices. (Hard to do when the sand is talcum power fine. Ah, the tribulations of relaxing on vacation!)
Two, you can’t share reading material unless you want to part with your ereader for an extended period of time.
I’m ready to jet!
I have two upcoming trips and I’ll have my Sony Reader loaded up with a bunch of new titles to keep my addiction to reading well-fueled. Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that they don’t outlaw ereaders in carry-ons!
Tried an ereader?
If you’ve used any other ereaders (e.g. the Kindle, and how about that brand new Apple iPad?), I’d love to hear your thoughts and comparisons. And if you know more ebook sources please share!