Other posts in this series:
Over the past few months I have been reading books on different devices, to explore the reading experience in ways that I haven’t yet tried. Up until now, I have tried audio books, reading on my phone, and reading on my laptop. None of these experiences were bad, and I actually really appreciate the benefits of all of these formats. The only thing I had left was to try reading on a e-reader or tablet. I purposely left this one until last. I think that a tablet or reader will be the most similar to an actual book, and that my reaction would therefore make or break electronic reading – because I was either going to love it or hate it. For this test I used a touchscreen tablet with Windows 8, reading with both Kindle and OverDrive.
Reading On A Tablet
I was expecting to like reading on my tablet, much like I generally liked reading on my phone. I was not prepared for how much I like it. I love it. My tablet is the same size as a typical book, so holding it is incredibly comfortable. Plus while reading in bed, it’s actually easier to curl up with than a large book – I don’t have to struggle to hold the pages up! The weight is really nice too, maybe a bit heavier than a paperback, but lighter than a hard cover.
I was surprised by how much I liked the look of the book on the device too. It looks like a book. Even after reading for a couple of hours, my eyes didn’t get tired from reading on the screen. I also really liked that there were different settings for lighting and page layout, so that no matter where I was sitting to read, I could adjust the settings for comfortable readability.
The Reading App
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I would enjoy the tablet as much if it weren’t for OverDrive. Not only do I love reading with this app, but it’s the ability to access library books instantly. I love how fast and easy it is to go from browsing books on the library’s digital shelves to reading them. I can choose a book and download them to my tablet immediately. This way I can still use the library and access books for free, but I have the ease and convenience of using the internet.
My only complaint about reading on my tablet wasn’t even to do with reading – it was setting up OverDrive on a Windows 8 tablet. It was not an easy set up. I had to download extra parts and tweak others, and in the end could not open any .pdf format book. I had to email a librarian, who had to email an OverDrive representative, only to come back and tell me that OverDrive on Windows 8 cannot open .pdf books. While that’s not a problem, it does create an extra step to make sure books I want to read are in a compatible format – something I wouldn’t have to worry about with a paper book! ;)
Technical issues aside, I am very happy reading on a tablet – I have read more ebooks than real books lately. While I was never against ebooks before, I suddenly understand why people prefer e-readers; it’s not necessarily that I’m choosing ebooks over paper books, I’m choosing the convenience of them. Don’t get me wrong, I will never give up on real books – but for right now I am really enjoying the experience of borrowing digital titles from the library and reading them on my tablet.