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There’s no wrong way to…

Written by Kirsten on May 19th, 2009

… read a classic! I’ve just finished J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, my first ever e-book, read entirely on my iPod Touch. Given how quickly I read it and how small my screen is in comparison to a standard paperback, I need to purchase a copy just to be sure my e-book wasn’t condensed! (At least, this is the “logical justification” I will use regarding the necessity of a hard copy. I think it makes perfect sense, don’t you?)

Even though I’ve been online for well over ten years, I’ve only recently entered the electronic age of literature; I ended up listening to more of Jane Eyre than I read last semester (though I still fully intend to read the book, I promise!), and listened to most of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland for one of my history book reports this semester, as well, but those and my very recent e-reader application on the iPod are my only forays into non-print books. While I love being able to multitask, I’m VERY picky about the voice of audiobook readers, and have a difficult time tuning out any background noise, so if I’m at the office, those are probably best for re-reads. The nice thing about the e-books on my iPod is that if I’m in an unexpected situation where I wish I’d brought a book (like my 45-minute wait to see a doctor last week), I have several from which to choose without having had to think about it ahead of time. Which, as any of you who know me can attest, is a good thing. Really.

What about you, do you e-book, or are you a paper purist? Do you read full-length books on your computer, an e-reader, an iPod, or other hand-held device? How about audiobooks? I’m currently using Stanza on my iPod Touch, which has multiple sources for public domain books; I’ve used LibriVox for audio on the computer, and am familiar with Gutenberg, as well. Have any favorite sources I’ve not listed?

 

8 Comments so far ↓

  1. I’m a big Project Gutenberg fan. Keeps me from going insane on my downtime at work. I’ll also read the occasional book on google books, but that’s more difficult to make look like “real work” and it’s hard to find whole books. You can also volunteer on gutenberg as a proof reader, which is fun.

    I’m not a big audiobook person, for many of the reasons you listed above. I used to listen to audiobooks while playing video games though, it helped me to feel like I wasn’t completely wasting my time!

  2. Kirsten says:

    Ahhh, to have down time at work! I spend a few minutes on LT here and there throughout the day to keep my sanity, but it adds up to less time than I would take if I actually left my desk for breaks and lunch.

    I can see audio-bookin’ while gaming – never thought of it, but it serves the dual purpose of feeding your brain AND avoiding the earworms of video game soundtracks!

  3. Exactly! Unless I’m playing a heavily story driven game with actual actors doing the voice work (ex. Kingdom Hearts), I have no need to hear what’s going on, they write everything on the screen anyway. May as well listen to something worthwhile!

  4. Kerian says:

    The closest I’ve been to reading an e-book was reading ten plus versions of Cinderella on one webpage. I really don’t like the idea of reading a book on anything electronic. With electronic books you don’t just miss having an actual book to hold and place amongst your other books on a shelf – you miss things like illustrations. Just picture the Harry Potter books without the chapter illustrations! (The UK has theirs that way – aren’t we lucky in the US.)

  5. I don’t know that that’s necessarily true, K. Many of the books I’ve read on gutenberg.org have the original illustrations. There were some beautiful ones when I read Jane Eyre for instance. As for having them on a shelf, I agree to a point. Once I’ve read a book online, if I love it and know I’ll be reading it again, I buy it for my shelves, otherwise, I’ve not spent money on a book I’ll never read.

  6. Kirsten says:

    I bought Oliver Twist last night and am buying Peter Pan tonight, and will probably purchase a collection of Sherlock Holmes, as well; I agree, bib – knowing a book is worth having ahead of time is a great benefit of e-reading and audiobooks.

  7. Kerian says:

    Wow! I’m really glad to hear that about illustrations, bib! Now I really want to look for Gutenberg’s Jane Eyre. The book is one of my absolute favorites.

  8. foggidawn says:

    I’m trying to catch up on my neglected blogroll, so chiming in late-ish here:

    I mostly read books in hard copy still. I listen to audiobooks in the car (Goblet of Fire right now) — for those, I prefer to listen to books that I have already read, so if I get distracted, I’m not missing something vital to the story. Like you, I get irritated if the voice on the audiobook doesn’t match up with the voice in my head (this happens often as I’m listening to Harry Potter, as those characters have definite voices to me already, though I’m not quite irritated enough not to listen).

    I don’t have an ebook reader, though I’m going to have the use of a Kindle in August, when I have an overseas flight. We’ll see how that goes.

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