Sunday Salon: finding an old friend

In the late 1990s I began to yearn for a device that would let me read books electronically. The advent of the iPod meant I no longer had to lug CDs and a bulky player plus spare batteries with me on holidays or business trips. I could now carry thousands of songs in the palm of my hand but still had the weight of many books in my suitcase. I discovered that an electronic book reader sundaysalonwas something the big technology companies were working on. It it seemed a long way off before they would ever get anything to market.  And then a solution materialised from an unexpected source with Amazons launch of the Kindle.

I wanted one immediately but couldn’t really justify buying one at around £400 for the UK version. I waited and waited for the inevitable price drop but it was very slow to materialise. In the meantime Sony launched their own device at a much more acceptable price.  It was light but not that easy to use since downloading books involved complicated manoeuvres. Still it was a big advance and I enjoyed using it for about six months until it badly malfunctioned and had to be replaced. (To their credit, the service from Sony was excellent). But I’d seen a Kindle in action and it was definitely superior to the e reader. The price came down, I went for it and enjoyed another year without the risk of excess baggage charges from too many books in the suitcase. My Kindle proved ideal when I wanted to sit in a park since I could easily fit it into my handbag and was discrete enough I could read while in a restaurant.  I proved to be a fickle user however because as soon as an iPad came my way one Christmas, my poor Kindle became the unwanted child. Soon it was the IPad that traveled everywhere with and the Kindle became relegated to a dark shelf somewhere.

And that stayed the case until just a few weeks ago when I was packing for a holiday in Spain and remembered that the one big drawback of the iPad is that the screen becomes unreadable in bright sunshine. Not much use then for reading on a Spanish balcony or in the piazza. I began to think that maybe the Kindle was a better option after all. It was more lightweight than the iPad, the screen technology worked significantly better in bright light and I could easily download any new books as long as I had an Internet connection.

The upshot is that I ended up bringing both devices with me. I  can carry the Kindle in a small backpack during the day for the occasional opportunities while sitting at a pavement cafe for example but I still have the iPad for emails and webs surfing.  Neither device is ideal in itself but  I’m hoping one day soon some techno experts will be able to combine the benefits of both these approaches.



About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on September 7, 2014, in Sunday Salon and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. I’m with you, I use both interchangeably. I love my kindle for reading at the beach and outside. I also have the paperwhite with the back light which is nice in a darker room. The iPad is also a little bit too heavy to read comfortably everywhere (for me occasionally).

    Thankfully, Kindle syncs across devices and I can pick up wherever and even surreptitiously read in the office occasionally! 😀

    • We’re not allowed to take devices into work (intellectual property considerations) so no reading at work for me, secret or not. Yes the iPad is also a bit too heavy to carry around for the day on the off chance you might get some time to read it.

  2. Even if I am not in the sun I find there is too much reading on my iPad and I it makes my eyes tired. I like the basic Kindle/e-ink e-reader best because you can read outdoors and there is not the distraction of email and the internet! But then if I were going on vacation in Spain there would be lots of things to distract me from reading!

  3. Lately my tablet has been broken, the charger isn’t working, so I’ve been reading on my phone and it actually hasn’t been that bad. It’s been pretty good, to be honest. I’m not sure about the sun, though, because I’m usually a vampire ;). Well, somewhat of a night owl anyway.

    • I’ve sen people reading on their phones and wondered how they could do that. The text is either too small that I couldn’t read it or if they make it bigger it means clicking forward repetitively. Maybe it depends on what phone you have. The Samsung screens are much larger than other makes it seems.

  4. Perfect. Enjoy your iPad and your Kindle. Two of my favorite technological advances.

    Here’s my Sunday Salon!

  5. A kindle paperwhite is backlit so can be used in bright sunlight or in the dark. Mine is reconditioned so less expensive. I ‘killed’ my previoius straightforward kindle by leaning against my bag that I’d slipped into the small of my back for comfort while on a plane flight.
    Repairing the screen was costly so beware.

  6. I love to read in the sun so my Kindle goes with me everywhere. I bought a Fire a few years ago, which is like the ipad, but don’t really use it. When I’m reading I don’t want to be getting emails or surfing the web — I prefer not to have the distractions. Plus my phone does all that, and why carry around three devices? Hope you enjoyed Spain!

    • Actually I am carrying four devices which seems ridiculous. I also have my phone ( though it’s a work one) and an iPod. I should really get around to combining some of these. I didn’t know the Fire had those capabilities. I will have a look at that when my current one bites the dust

  7. My iPad is just 6 weeks old but already my Kindle has been relegated to the shelf (although I do feel guilty about that, and keep it synced). I find myself wanting to read in dark places (e.g. the car at night) and the Kindle was useless, while the iPad works perfectly.

    I hadn’t given any thought to the sunlight issue, though. I’m glad you brought it to my attention before we leave for Europe in 3 weeks; I might just have to take both devices. Thanks for the heads up!

    • I bought a clip on LED light for the kindle – it’s a but of a fiddle but does solve that problem. Glad I could give you the advance war I g about iPad and sunlight. I have adjusted screen resolution and brightness levels but still doesn’t get any better. It’s a big flaw in my view.

  8. Maybe it’s because I don’t spend very much time sitting in the sun but I have now completely moved over to the i-Pad mini which is as light as the kindle but gives me the option of going on line if I need to. I haven’t yet had any problems with the screen.

    • I wonder whether Apple did something with later versions of the iPad so the problem no longer exists. I have a generation 2 version and the technology could have moved on.

  9. The cynic in me says the techs have already combined them but the profit experts are holding it back!!! But your description made me smile as I recognise the ‘journey’ myself!! Although at times when I’m on the Tube to work with my work iPad, detachable keyboard and Smartphone and then my personal iPad and iPhone, I can’t help wondering if we’ll ever reach a point where the weight of all the technology I carry will drive me back to pen and paper!

    • Steve Jobs would likely come back to haunt his team if he heard they were getting into bed with Amazon and jointly developing technology, it was very much against his whole ethos.
      I now have this image of you on your commute getting all tangled up by connection leads and cables. That’s the other problem with these gadgets, not only do they weigh more than you think, but they all have different power cord fittings.

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