eBooks are all the rage at the moment, particularly in the states where Amazon’s Kindle seems to be doing a roaring trade. I have to say that I am not a particularly big reader and so to have the ability to carry and number of books around and dip in and out what the mood takes me appeals to me. Also I carry my netbook with me everywhere and while I might have a magazine with me (almost certainly Wired) it’s unlikely that I will have a book.
First thing I needed was some reading material. There is a wealth of free books available on the net. If you like classics then you can’t beat Project Gutenberg. If you want more technical information then try Online Computer Books.
In order to read the books I needed a reader. I have long been a fan of the Mobipocket reader having used it on both a Pocket PC and a BlackBerry. The desktop reader is easy to user, has a nice clear font and comes as as portable application (i.e. you don’t have to install it to use it).
The other essential item is an Acrobat reader of some sort as a large number of technical books in particular in delivered in this format.
So how is it in use? Well it is obviously very different from reading a book. Aside from the fact that it feels nothing like the real thing there is also the fact that in operation it is very different too but once you get your head around that fact it is ok.
One way to make the experience more book like is to rotate the screen through 90 degrees with a utility such as eeeRotate, the screenshot above was taken with this running, but holding a laptop this way just feels un-natural and is cumbersome so I’ll stick with it as is.
One way that an eBook reader scores highly over the printed equivalent is in its searching abilities, i.e. it’s got some. This is a killer feature for technical books, particularly as you are less likely to be reading it cover-to-cover and be looking for something in particular.
So in conclusion I will stick with the real thing for novels and magazines but make the switch for technical publications but even then if you are on the web a quick Google search is more than likely going to turn up what I need. Oh and I haven’t any room for yet another gadget in my kit bag!