So I live on the west coast, and many library conferences are on the east coast, and I attend many library conferences which means a lot of long flights. And I’m a fast reader. Which all added together equals this one conference last year where I found myself carrying nine books with me on the plane.
Lest you think that was excessive, okay that was totally excessive. But the thing is, I don’t really like to fly. My legs are too long for the plane seats (and I’m not super-tall. What do super-tall people do?), the air is too dry and I get headachy from the engine noise so my strategy of choice for dealing with all of that discomfort is to find something engrossing to read, and I never know exactly what it is I will find engrossing in the moment.
Plus I never know exactly how much I will get through, and I live in fear of finishing all of my books and being left! on a plane! without a book!
On that flight, I started and finished four of those books on the plane (one was a quick-read young adult novel and one was a totally mindless mystery that my traveling companion started and finished after I did). The other five books included three things I read in the hotel: two comics collections in trade paperback, a novel I had started before and finished after the trip. One book I started on the plane and didn’t have time to finish and the last one was a non-fiction book I never did pick up.
So that’s a long way of explaining why and when I decided that I needed to seriously pursue the idea of e-books. And this video I came across today is the first thing that really kind of gets at why I have been so happy with that choice. It’s in french, but even my lousy french is good enough to follow along.
(I suggest going to YouTube itself to watch, and watching in high quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK75RSQBZYs)
Happy except for the ever-present issue of e-book DRM. My french isn’t up to telling if they really talk about DRM in the video or not, but even if they don’t that sure looks like what replicating open-formats aspects of the print world would look like. I’m also on a small group looking at the issues surrounding circulating Kindles in the library, which has given me some experience with Kindles even though I didn’t go that way myself — because I couldn’t deal with the DRM issues, that just keep coming up.
At Menucha last year my colleague Terry recommended checking out the iPod touch as an e-reader, so that’s the way I went. Of course, that doesn’t mean avoiding DRM altogether, though Fictionwise’s might be softer. And also of course now Amazon owns Stanza, which is the Fictionwise-connected reader I have been using, so how much longer will that be true?
But beyond the DRM, the movie also reminded me of an issue I am having with the device itself. I have also noticed since using the Kindle for this project, that I am really having trouble using it because it doesn’t have a touch screen. I don’t know if it is because I am trained to use the touch screen on the iPod, or if that is just what we are coming to expect? But it’s been a while now and I keep trying to make that screen work by touching. I don’t think it’s going to get any better.
This, though, this looks like what’s fun about the Internet with books added back in. And as a book lover, I like that picture.