The iPad Mini (Finally!) Made an E-Reader Out of Me

I was doing my first ever beta read for a friend when realized I could do with a digital reading device.

My friend had written her memoir, which she’d sent to me as a PDF.  249 pages.

Reading is meant to be a form of relaxation for me, wherein I recline on my bed or couch and take a load off.  However, in order to do so with my friend’s book, I would either have to,

    1. Pay to have printed
    2. Secretly print it out at work and hope no one noticed, or else
    3. Read at my dining table while hunched over my laptop.

Because I’m both cheap and honest, option C was what I did for about 85% of the book.  Right up until my team at work became the proud owners of a few iPads, which we were allowed to take home to familiarize ourselves with their operation.

This was just the sort of trial I like.  Prior to this, I’d visited various electronic stores to look at tablets, only to have commission-hungry sales reps swooping in for the kill before I’d had even two minutes to try out some of the different features I’d use a tablet for.

But this way, I was getting to test-drive the device at my own speed, and in my own space.

I surprised myself with how readily I took to reading a book on a tablet.

I love paper books.  I love the feel of them; I love the smell of them; I love how the stack of pages gradually changes hands, as well as the magical moment when both hands hold an equal amount of paper – the equinox of reading

But in spite of all that, I’ve since come to love my new iPad Mini too.

Putting the “E” in “reading”

I opted for the iPad Mini because lying in bed with the full-size iPad from work resting on my stomach was no less heavy than a hardcover, whereas the Mini, size-wise and weight-wise is roughly equivalent to a paperback.

I opted for an Apple product, not because I’m a convert to the cult of Mac, but simply because that’s what the work iPad got me used to using, and also because I was also able to get a second-hand one in like-new condition on Craigslist.

I would never buy something like that brand new; not when people get rid of perfectly good tech every day to buy the next shiny, incremental upgrade.  Electronic waste is a global problem with numerous environmental and social justice considerations – something I want to contribute to as little as possible.

I never expected to ever own an tablet.  For a long time, I was looking at dedicated e-readers like the Kindle or Kobo.  All my avid-reader friends own them, and swear they’re so much easier on the eyes than a backlit tablet.

I fuss over and worry about my eyes a lot: I’ve worn glasses since I was 12, and get frequent headaches from lighting that’s too bright, including the sun.  My prescription sunglasses are the most expensive article of clothing I own.  I wear them all year round, and would definitely have them as my luxury item were I ever to star on Survivor.

But I experienced no ill-effects during my trial of the work iPad, so it seemed safe enough to get one of my own.

I also chose to get a tablet so as not to limit my potential future needs.  An e-reader is only for ebooks, while a tablet can be used for reading anything one would otherwise read on a computer (or their phone, though I personally never do that. Talk about fussing over one’s eyes: I’m already blind enough without trying to read off of something so small!)

Tablets can be used for more still than just reading, of course, but that was my primary motivation for getting one.  I installed the Kindle app right away, as well as the one for Kobo (Canadian, eh?)  I’m excited to now be reading my first genuine ebook, as well as work by a self-published author, which, save my friend’s memoir, I’ve never done before.

Moving forward, I’ll still read paper books, but it’s also nice to have other options.

I predict I’ll start reading more of what I want when I want.  There are many books I want to read but not have taking up space in my apartment afterward.  Previously, I was forced to either wait until these books became available at the library or else forget about them.

At the same time, for books I really want to read, I don’t always want to wait on the library.  Now I don’t have to.  I’m not adverse to paying for a popular ebook to be able to read it sooner rather than later.

Like going to the movies on opening night rather than waiting for Cheap Tuesday, the experience is worth the price.

(Image source)

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Question: How as the development of ebooks and e-readers changed your reading habits?

A/N: A new look and name for this blog is coming soon.

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10 thoughts on “The iPad Mini (Finally!) Made an E-Reader Out of Me

  1. Cripes I need to get a Kindle device one of these decades. I won’t even be able to read my own stuff whenever the heck I get it online. Right now I’m in “this is total garbage” mode as I try to finish off one last story, so who knows when that uploading will take place.

    Look, I managed to hijack your comments section and make it about me again. What I really wanted to do was ask you about the memoir, but I’d be asking you to violate beta reader/author privilege.

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    • You’re so vain. You probably think this blog is about you…. 🙂

      (I really love that song, if for no better reason than it mentions the place I grew up – Nova Scotia – in the lyrics!)

      Keep at that writing. The “garbage” stage is only temporary; there’s so much gold to be mined underneath, you just have to keep digging. And get an e-reading device, or else I’m going to read your stories before you do. Craigslist is a goldmine for people looking to offload tech they’re grown bored with.

      What is it with me and gold metaphors today?

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  2. Kudos to your awareness of the e-waste issue. It’s one of the primary reasons I’ve held off on getting my own tablet (I’m currently borrowing one from a friend who has grown weary of it).

    Despite repeated attempts, I find myself unable to get into the habit of reading from a tablet. I’m not sure what my hangups are. I think perhaps the multifunctional nature of a tablet is too much of a temptation for me. Maybe a strict e-reader would be better for me, but I’m not sure.

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    • Oh yes – I always consider potential environmental impacts in all that I do. As for your difficulties with e-reading, maybe a dedicated e-reader would help, or maybe e-reading just isn’t for you. Paper books are going to be around for a long time yet, so it’s not like you have to read e-books right now if you don’t want to. Although there are those who make the argument of e-reading being more green (personally, I’m not sure I agree with that).

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    • Congratulations. You managed to crack me up with that Carly Simon reference. That is one great set of lyrics, and a catchy tune to go with it.

      When I say “garbage mode,” I don’t mean it’s a first draft. I mean sometimes I think these stories are fun, fast-paced, and clever. Other times I think they are pure drivel that people will read thinking, “What the hell is this s***? I thought he said he was a writer.” Right now I’m in the Other Times frame of mind. I’m going to finish the collection and get it prepared for uploading… and then wait for that moment when I think it’s good to click “publish.”

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    • Thanks for the tip; I’ll take a look. The Kindle is definitely an awesome device for those who want to do nothing else but read, distraction free. A lot of my avid-reader friends have them or Kobos (the Canadian e-reader).

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  3. My husband (the rocket scientist) is tech savvy and I am not. I highly resisted the smartphone and the ereader. Now I can imagine living without either one! Ha! The whole world in my pocket. The magic of technology and think of the trees I am saving..

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    • The iPad is definitely growing on me. I still love the tactile feedback I obtain from paper books, but the convenience of e-books is nothing to slouch at either. I still don’t have a smartphone, mind you, but that too is coming. 🙂

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