Having finally succumbed to a Kindle, and reluctantly agreeing that it’s better (if uglier) than the sleek steel Sony eReader, there remains one massive obstacle for me to overcome. It has no riffle-factor. If you read long novels which are quite complicated (try David Mitchell’s ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet’) it’s impossible to riffle back through the pages and figure out when you last met a particular character.
This is especially problematic if you’re reading crime novels – forget being able to remind yourself about the suspects…
E-Readers live very much in the present, and going backwards is liable to send you into a world of page confusion. Interestingly, recent research has revealed that schoolchildren prefer physical books, which is odd – I thought they’d be the first to dump them.
A friend bought the Kindle Fire, a fat, heavy, slow slab that gets its dimensions wrong and looks like the iPad’s ugly sister. Except that iBooks function better without a touch facility because you can hold them by the screen, as you would a book’s page, instead of gripping them at the edges.
The tech is still evolving, but I can’t help thinking we’ve a way to go. I am, however, abandoning stupid giant airport editions of books after I fell asleep and dropped one on my nose last night.
In the autumn, I’ll be producing a mass-market paperback you can slip in your pocket – more on that later.