Annals of E-Reading January 15, 2011Posted by Peter Varhol in Uncategorized.
Circa 1993 I started to use laptop computers. I didn’t think they were going to change my working habits substantially. I still had to sit and focus on my work, whether it was writing code or words,
But it was a very busy time of my life. I was an academic, and taught a number of courses at a couple of different colleges. In addition, I was a technology writer and consultant, and spent most of my waking hours in front of a computer, writing or coding, or in front of a classroom.
As I drove around the local area for my academic duties, I often had fifteen or twenty minutes between classes, or waiting for an appointment, and I needed to use that time more effectively. I started carrying a laptop computer with me, and found, to my surprise, that I could be very productive in short bursts. Laptop computers changed my work life. More to the point, they changed how I was capable of working.
E-reading, using my new Nook, is similarly bringing surprising changes to my habits. One of my problems with laptops is their short battery life. I never felt comfortable just letting it run while I thought about my work. Right now my Nook continues to be powered up, even as I pick it up only here and there during the afternoon to read a few pages at a time.
The Nook is about the size of a large paperback. It’s easier to carry than a book, although I worry about dropping it. I take it with me to a variety of places, including places I might not think to bring a paperback.
One thing sure to please publishers and booksellers is that e-readers make it absurdly simple to purchase books. Despite the somewhat klutzy way the Nook navigates BarnesandNoble.com (I find what I want to buy on a computer first), once you find a book, you’re already logged into your account, so you simply select “Buy Now.” A minute later it’s on the Nook and reading for reading. There’s no friction in the process, like there is in the store, or online for physical purchase and shipment. Such a process will almost certainly result in more books sold (if not read) in the long run.