Part 1 of 3: Adventures in Reading a Library Book.
Are you like me? Do you like to read books, travel a fair amount, and like to justify expenditures on technology in whatever pathetic, desperate way you can?
In April, when the iPad came out, I offered to conduct an experiment for Ben Stevens’ The Mac Lawyer blog. The plan: read a traditional book, a second on a Kindle, and a third on an iPad, then write about it. Over the past year I’d been used to reading primarily on my Kindle and the occasional tree-based book, and was interested in figuring out the new publishing terrain once and for all.
The Library Book: Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn.
My intention, initially, was to read three volumes of Lian Hearn’s Tales of the Otori trilogy on each of the three different technologies (yes, a book is a technology). If you think you’d like Shogun with a dash of 100 Years of Solitude sprinkled in, you’ll like Mr. Hearn’s books.
Pros: I paid nothing for Across the Nightingale Floor, since I borrowed it from the public library and importantly, returned it on time, which is something you shouldn’t take for granted. I took this book on a plane with me, and since it’s not electronic, I could actually do something without getting yelled at during takeoff and landing.
I enjoyed the volume’s delightful “library book smell” which I believe originates from a combination of binding glue, paper, card catalog stickers, and the librarians themselves. I could theoretically spill water or sand on the book and it would still function fine, though librarians typically frown upon such behavior. Moreover, after using an electronic device all day long, curling up with a paper, analog device was more refreshing than I recalled.
Cons: I finished the book shortly after my arrival, meaning I had to lug dead weight around on my trip. Since I was obligated to return it, I couldn’t just dump it in the hotel’s book rack. In addition, when you read a library book, there’s a little voice in the back of your head whispering bad thoughts. It tells you someone could possibly have been reading the very book in your hands in less-than-delicate locations. Unlike an e-book, a library book requires an extra piece of equipment (some folks call this a “bookmark”) to identify my last read page, which I seem to always misplace.
In the next installment, I’ll attempt to read a book on an iPad. And we’ll see how successful I am.
About the Author
Larry Port is the Founding Partner of Rocket Matter, the leading web-based legal practice management product. A speaker and award-winning writer at the crossroads of the legal profession and cutting edge technology, Larry writes extensively for legal publications including Law Technology News, Law Practice Today, ILTA’s Peer to Peer, FindLaw, Chicago Lawyer, and others.