An eReader Story

Reading & Writing

Stranded on snowbound Sevenoaks station in Kent over Christmas without any sign of incoming trains, all I could do was wait for something to come along, so I did what I always do in trying times and turned to a book. I had grabbed a mass-market paperback from my shelf before leaving the house – it was small and neat and fitted my pocket – but it was about six years old, and as I folded the pages back the dried-out spine cracked and half the pages fluttered out – into the wet snow. So I searched for the story I was reading on Stanza, the iPhone’s excellent reading app, downloaded it and continued reading the story.
It might become a generational thing, but I can now see that this is how I’ll be using eReaders – as a back-up to books, not the other way around.

6 comments on “An eReader Story”

  1. I.A.M. says:

    As much as I advocate the acceptance of e-books (granted, with my own financial interest weighing on the side of “please…?” in the matter) this is the single-best example of ‘why e-books have an actual place in a reader’s life’. One has a book in one’s hand, and then it’s dropped in the bath / into the sea / fallen apart on the platform / you forgot the thing / whatever. It’s not a book one values per se, it’s merely filling one’s time whilst awaiting trains / planes / buses / mates / etc. The electronic version will do fine here, as it is not only immediately available to read, and just as easy to be rid of once done. Likewise, one could easily spend a fiver on a book you’re feeling middling about, but twice that for the same title in the form of a ‘real book’ would be more than you’re willing to spend; Dan Brown, say. Public Libraries are good for that typically, but not always open, or even available when you’re in an airport / train station / holiday week-end / etc. Magazines are rubbish, newspapers typically awful, and you’ve got your smart phone there in your pocket, so…?

  2. I.A.M. says:

    One last point, and entirely e-book free, this one.

    Do not put mass-market paperbacks in your suitcase when flying. The glue or paste in the binding can chemically fail when the æroplane reaches altitude, and the baggage compartment cools. You can then have a bundle of loose pages, just as the book on the platform became in the cold (possibly it was finished by the lack of heat during the holiday travel). If you put the books in the very centre of you baggage, you’re reducing the risk of this happening, just as ‘the newer the book, the lesser the chance’ will help.

  3. Mike Cane says:

    Shakes fist at your Bryant-like clinging to the browning papers of yesteryear.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    I have a few 50 year old paperbacks and when I dispose of them (fairly soon, probably) I will throw them into the garbage, not put them into the Bookcrossing system, because any book published after 1850 and before we started the ph neutral, archival quality publishing will turn brown and brittle from the effects of the acid in the wood based process. Baking soda solutions will neutralize the acid, but I’ve never actually done it.
    We must have been lucky on our recent trip because high mass things, such as books, I put at the back (bottom) of a suitcase so they don’t crush my frillies. No problems.

  5. Well, I suppose it’s nice to have an e-books when one drops a regular book in the bathtub, provided one doesn’t then proceed to drop said e-book in aforementioned bathtub.

  6. Steve says:

    Don’t think it’s generational in my case. I’ve got a book – a decent story – I bought at the Miami Airport a couple of months ago. I read it on the plane……and it’s sitting on the bookcase, unopened since. Good book, just….a backup.

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