A while back I wrote a post about taking books on vacation and implied, with a somewhat superior tone, that reading books in paper form was better than reading books electronically. An anonymous reader responded:
"Meh--sort of a silly distinction. The thing worth being snooty about is whether someone reads or not, and what.
If someone reads Portrait of a Lady, I'm going to be impressed. i don't care whether it was on paper, a Kindle, or written in wet sand with a stick."
I really like my ipad. I can't say I love it, because if it went away I would be over it in about 48 hours, but I really like it. It's handy. But, at the time of the original paper/pad post, I hadn't read a book on it. So I did. In fact, I've read two. I've read Game Change and Bossypants. My original sense of what I would want to read electronically held up. There are some books that I a) want to read, b) don't want to keep, and c) don't want to wait for a the library.
There are some annoyances. I have the original ipad and, and I know this seems unlikely, it's heavy. It's heavy like War and Peace even when you're reading Bossypants. Also, you basically have to sit up. Not lean to or lie* on one side, because the text stays upright. (Maybe there is a way to correct this that I don't know.) I did read on it outside and the sunlight/glare thing did not affect me.
At the same time I was reading Game Change I was reading A Passage to India. You will find my copy still on my bedside table with a couple of pages turned down. (I don't underline as I have a silly schoolgirl aversion to writing in books.) And, I will go back to these a couple of times before I put it on a shelf. You can highlight passages in the ipad, but I feel quite sure that I will never look at them again.
While reading Bossypants, Tina Fey mentions David Foster Wallace, and this is maybe the fifteenth time the universe has presented me with this author, whom I think I want to read. It was incredibly easy on the ipad to click over and preview his books, read reviews and buy. Still, I didn't. I had a feeling that I would want to maybe turn down a page or two. Put it on the shelf. Paper isn't necessarily better, but for me, it's different.
And, by the way, reading Portrait of a Lady in any form isn't all that impressive to me. Mill on the Floss? The Tin Drum? Yeah, those you can be snooty about.
*I have to look up the lie/lay thing every single time. For whatever reason, my brain does not retain number facts in any form or this rule of usage.