There have been three or four books I've quite wanted to read in the last month that weren't available in DRM-free electronic editions. (For various reasons, mainly to do with not owning the right operating systems, I can't read DRM'd books at all right now.) Tempting as it was to say "what the hell" and find pirate copies, I bought the paperbacks. This was in part because these were from authors that I particularly like and I wanted to signal the publishers to give them contracts for more books.

I've always got several books going at any one time on my Sony Reader (currently a PRS-505). It was interesting to compare the experience for things I could have been reading there rather than in paperback.

Perhaps there is something about the experience of a paper book: I find myself going to those rather than the many unfinished novels in the Reader. But at this moment I'm not entirely clear on whether it's because there really is something better there, or because the paper books I'm carting around with me at the moment are ones I am particularly desirous to read. Perhaps a bit of both.

I can certainly say that going back to paper books for a bit made it quickly clear what the problems are. They're not infrequently large and heavy, and inevitably your hand starts to hurt pretty quickly if you're holding them one-handed while reading. And when you're reading at the dinner table (which must be OK; I saw it in Brideshead Revisited ), they don't stay open as easily (or at all) on the table beside your plate. (And you can't just wipe off a bit of soup spilt upon them.)

The e-reader, though! The worst thing is the speed, or lack thereof. Page flips aren't instant, which I can usually live with, but my reader is currently taking considerably longer amounts of time to deal with chapter boundaries in technical books, if not in novels. Perhaps it needs a reboot. And when switching between books, well, ouch.

I also do seem to get slightly less material on the page when the typeface is as apparently readable as a paperback (it's hard to say, since I can't set the size exactly, and the leading always appears to be different).

And there may or may not be an indefinable thing that I'm not getting from it that I get from paper. It's hard to say. I may never know until I read the same book on both , alternating every few pages.

I suppose now I'm stuck always thinking of the advantages of one when I'm using the other.

Oh, yes, and I've also gone more than a week without a post. This isn't quite in violation of my New Year's resolution (which was to average at least one post per week), but it does a little bit miss the spirit of it, I think.

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