Sunday, August 21, 2011

Books online and otherwise

For most of my life, I went to the library frequently. During some periods, almost every week. As I got older and more saturated online, my reading for information was addressed more by online sources. As the technology finally developed, I began reading again, but this time online. I have read dozens of books on my iPhone and have more lined up to read. I find that I can read at odd moments and get a lot of reading done by using time that I would be otherwise lose. This is also a way to read genealogy books. All most all my news and weather now comes over the iPhone.

As the online availability of books expands I find I can usually get a copy of a book free online or for a very much reduced price. However, whenever I mention reading on my iPhone to someone I get the same questions. So here are the questions and here are the answers:

1. How can you see to read? Isn't the type too small? The answer is very simple, the screen size has nothing whatsoever to do with the text size. All of the programs I use for reading allow me to adjust the text size, so that what I am seeing on the screen is the same size as text in a book.

2. I can't stand to look at a screen, it make my eye buggy. How can you read on the screen? This issue comes from the old TV type CRT screens that had interlaced scanning. That means that the cathode ray tube (hence CRT) sent out a beam of electrons to make the image on the screen. The beam only scanned every other line and then went back and filled in the missing lines. The screen images tended to flicker in fluorescent light and were very tiring. LED and LCD screens do not flicker. There is no real difference between reading a book on a small iPhone screen than reading one in a book.  Now, as I say this, I am certain that there will be a lot of people who will swear otherwise. My question to them is how many of you read paper books?

3. I like to have the real book in my hands. I can't stand to read online. I like paper books also, but I also like the light weight and mobility of reading on an iPhone, iPad or whatever device. I don't tend to read books on my computer screen with my desktop computer, simply because when I am at my computer, I am either researching or writing. I can't argue with the person who just prefers paper books. I don't think books will disappear anytime soon, so you can keep on reading the way you like. But don't dismiss reading on an electronic device simply because you want to be traditional.

4. I can't afford to buy books and it is too much of a hassle to go to the library. Online books were made for you. The number of free online books is now in the millions and millions on every conceivable subject. The cost of the books and the time it takes to obtain one are no longer an issue.

Just a last note, I use iBooks, Google Books, eReader, Stanza, and Goodreads to get books online.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, James, I must disagree on one little point on behalf of my local library. Maybe it's just me, but my local library is no hassle at all. I can order & renew books online at home 24/7. When the books arrive, I get a nice email and go a few blocks to pick them up. If the book is not in their system, I print-out the WorldCat description and take that to the local library with my library card # written somewhere on the sheet. When it comes (well, yes, that does often take several weeks), I get another email, go to pick it up, pay $3, and have it to fondle for 3 weeks. Some of those have come from such exotic places as the MidContinent Library, Harvard Library, and lots of place I've never heard of. It's really quite a bargain. (I like to think that this is where all my local tax dollars have been going!) Yes, sometimes they can't get it for me by Inter-Library-Loan, but it was never a hassle to find that out.

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