I make no druthers with how you wish to consume your printed word. I grew up with paper and ink and have a fascination with the smells and feel of a book. The things just work magic on me, put me in a place of comfort where I settle down and my mind opens up a little more and off I go.
That being said, for the last week I have had my hand at various “eReading” experiences across a few different mediums. I think they may have swayed me, folks.
I love the cloud syncing, cross platforming wizardry the ebook landscape has become. I have long had a tablet and a smartphone with the Kindle, Google Books, and other apps on them. I have read a few books with them and enjoyed them. Same with the desktop computer. The computer was the easiest transition for me to be honest, because half of what I have read in my life has been on a computer/television screen (and most of that from Elder Scrolls games). The leap was not difficult.
But something always felt a little off. The glare on the screen. My reflection from the gorilla glass screen. The random notices and distractions that these technologies have that pull me out of the wonderful world the books are trying to create. All of it made reading a book hard and bad sauce.
Then I got a Kindle. I got one of the cheap ones with the ads and no keyboard or bells or whistles or anatomical parts. I got it because I really like Amazon Prime and was curious about the lending library program. I am keeping the damn thing because I can read off of it. Dude, eInk is awesome. Trying it out in a store is one thing, but sitting down to take on a full on book is another. If anything, I felt myself reading faster and enjoying the books more than before and that’s crazy talk banana pants.
Also, to be fair, I do not restrict this to just the Kindle. I think this experience could be universal to any eInk device.
I may be late to the party on this, but this dedicated little reader is my new reading implement of choice.
I am a comic collector. I like going to the comic store, talking with my guy, getting my fix for the week, going home, reading them, putting them in their little bags and boards and archiving them away. I like that there’s a metric ton of white archival boxes that include my entire collection and that they are evidence of a decade of collecting and loving and reading.
That being said, the Marvel and Comixology apps are the best ways to read comics*.
Yeah, I said it.
Like I said back in the book part, I love holding, smelling, seeing, and all that crap. But the “Guided View” is awesome. The apps black out everything on the page except what the writer/artists want you to see first. Then with a swipe you see the next thing. Then the next. And it works. Sometimes the shots start close and pull back to reveal the whole picture. Sometimes the shots start wide in a splash shot and then pull into a face and a dialog bubble. It works so well because the story is being told the way the artist wants you to see it, flowing from image to image.
Some are going to argue that this takes away from the experience, that it holds the hand of the reader. I am fine with that. I read comics for the stories and the art. If anything, this Guided View method enhances both of those by giving me reveals and surprises that I may have ruined for myself by glancing ahead. Yeah, I’m defending it because “spoilers.” Take that, Internet.
Also, if you want to read it the other way, just turn it off. From what I can tell, I have had to turn it on for most of my books.
I also love that I can zoom in on the art. I have yet to read an eComic (I am so tired of putting “e” on everything, but I still have to give clarity so I apologize) where the images are poor scans of original artwork or dull. This does take some of the uniqueness and human element out of some comics, but mass laserjet printers did that long ago.
Now I know I just went on a big ole rant, but here’s something I do believe in: a sleeve of some kind for you eReader/tablet. Remember, when you read a book, you advertise the author. When you read an eBook, you advertise the eReader. Cover that thing up with something stylish without a dumb product name or at least slap a sticker on there. Unless you really like your eReader, I guess. Do what you want, I’ll still like you.
*To be fair, I have not tried the DC app for reading.