Tuesday, October 03, 2006

An (Electronic) Book at Bedtime.

Some clever devils in the electronic business (bet they’re Japanese) have come up with a device that lets you read E-Books on a screen about the same size as the real thing, just a couple of centimetres thick.

And, not only that, it lets you store a bunch of books on the gadget. So now you can climb aboard your flight with a virtual library clutched in your hot sticky hand, just the thing for a long airplane ride.

At first glance it sounded like a wonderful gizmo to me – but then I got to thinking. Like many, I suppose, I’m a flâneur when it comes to reading. If it’s not a book that I need to read and study seriously, I’m likely to be flipping from one to the other the way many view the channels on their television. Hardly conducive to concentration and it’s bound to annoy the person in the next seat who’s trying to read it at the same time.

The idea of choice is great. After all, I have a pile of books alongside my bed since I never know what fancy might take me for a bedtime read, although in the event I almost always nod off after a couple of pages. Some books are better than others for insomnia, I find, but I won’t name names or titles.

So that’s a plus for the electronic reader. Sounds ideal for bed as well as for Boeings as long as you remember to switch it off before going bye byes, otherwise you’ll wake up to a flat battery, I suppose.

Not having seen one of these, I can only assume that there is some magic method of marking your place. This must be a positive step and an enormous advance on traditional methods which involve business cards, paper clips, odd scraps of torn off paper and, horror of horrors, turning down a corner of the page (Nota Bene: Not on my books, thank you).

So it would seem that the pros outweigh the cons and I had already placed my order with Santa Claus before I had second thoughts about it.

It’s going to be one of those modern technological marvels that's going to require a learning curve like most of new devices that depend on micro-chips. Barely had I figured out how to use a video tape machine than they threw them away and produced DVD players that still remain a black hole of mystery to me. And then I’m sure some genius will produce something that will render my black box, loaded with literature, totally redundant, putting me in the same situation as the Egyptians found themselves when they lost the library at Alexandria.

It’s just another technical worry in a world that becomes increasingly loaded with electronic claptrap.

So when you next see me boarding an aircraft, I suspect I will still be clutching a paperback (I don’t do hardbacks en route).

Then, when I’m ready to take a nap, I can just place it face down to keep my place. I bet you can’t do that with an electronic reader.

“Dear Santa,

Further to my previous correspondence of the 1st. inst, please cancel order for Electronic Book Reader.

Hoping this finds you as it leaves me at present.

Love to the missus and Rudolph,



Post a Comment

<< Home