The harsh reality of reading on a tablet
By: Michael Melville
The world is full of e-readers and tablets now. There are more than the average person can keep track of. A lot of tablets in reality are just overgrown cell phones while many cell phones are nearly tablets (Samsung Note 4). How people use these devices varies with age and necessity as well as their careers.
There is a difference between e-readers and tablets and a lot of people don’t realize they are two separate things. This is because at one point in time they were all just called tablets this was until the market got huge and new definitions were needed when capabilities were added as the tech advanced. Simply put E-readers are devices which can be connected to the internet but are used only for reading books and magazines they offer no app buying abilities or ways to surf the web. An example of an E-reader would be something like the Barnes and Noble Glow Light, KOBO Glo, and Amazon Kindle Voyager which according to CNET were some of the best E-readers of 2015. Prices range from $79.99 for the B&N Glow to $199.00 for the Amazon Voyager.
Tablets are the next step up. They do everything E-readers do but offer capabilities for light gaming, social media, and web surfing. Some tablets do quite a bit more such as a Microsoft Surface. Other examples of tablets are the Kindle Fire HDX and the Google Nexus. These last two rank in the top 5 for Android tablets in 2015 according to CNET. Price range from around $100.00 to around $1600.00 for a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Price depends on the physical size and capability and sizes range from 7 Inches to 11 ½ inches.
Many people have transitioned away from laptops and desktops completely and grabbed the e-reader/tablet phenomenon by the horns and won’t let go. For a lot of readers, however, it’s been a somewhat bumpy road. The ease of reading on these devices have gradually gotten much better. Kindles are perhaps the most popular and widely used brand of e-reader and tablets (Samsung for Tablets). For those who grew up only reading paper books (you know the old fashioned ones) it’s been harder to adapt for some.
I have a Kindle Fire HDX and I hate it, but I love it all at the same time. Myself like many other are prone to distractions while reading. I always have been. However in my past life as a reader once I found a book that really interested me and sucked me in I could sit and devour the book in a day or two. A few days longer if it was a big book. I love reading, but I have found I read less now than what I used to and I read less than what I should considering I am a novelist. Why? I’ll get to that.
With my Kindle comes the ability to get books, faster, cheaper and more often. We all know this fact and even people who don’t have reading devices know this. One would think with having this kind of quick access I would be pouring through the reading lists. I have 15 books on my Kindle currently and about another 60 in my cloud. I have read 15 from the cloud (ten are college related). Of the ones on my Kindle, I have read 1 and am currently reading 3. I have been reading those 3 for a few months. Why? I’ll get to that. I should mention now that I originally bought my Kindle for use in college so I didn’t have to lug as many books around.
Now having a job, being in college full time, being a dad to a 10 month old boy, being Stacey’s fiancé all while working on my career as a novelist leaves me little time for much. I’m an educated grown man so I should be able to sit down or find the time to sit down and read even for fifteen or twenty minutes day right; but I can’t. Why? I’ll get to that.
I look at Stacey who is a rabid reader and currently devouring everything written by Anne Bishop that has ever been written. She reads a few books a week and probably more than I realize and she is just as busy (if not more) than I am. If she can put away at least one or two books a week then why can’t I?
After much thought and soul searching I realized it’s the fault of my Kindle Fire HDX. Well, actually its fault of my Kindle, social media, games, Amazon Primes large selection of movies and TV shows, and the internet as a whole. You could add in magazines and newspaper I get on my Kindle HDX but that counts as reading I guess. Yes, I know the blame lays fully on me but in the spirit of modern America I prefer to place the blame on other things instead of my own reading failures and poor choices. Why is Stacey able to read so much and I read so little when we are about even on available time?
Again I blame my Kindle and the internet. My Kindle Fire HDX is always connected to the internet unless I am in my garage or god forbid I’m somewhere with no internet like Ohio or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I nearly always have the ability to get distracted by the internet and all the other stuff loaded onto my Kindle. Why doesn’t Stacey have the same issue? Because she has the Nook Simple Touch.
Yes, her reader can be connected to the internet but she doesn’t have the ability to get sidetracked with social media and games with a simple swipe of her finger like I do. Her reader is just that, an e-reader, meant for reading alone. Some might say it’s not very technologically forward of her but she is quite content with her Nook Simple Touch and she gets more use out it for reading than I do with mine. It does what she wants it to do and what my Kindle probably should just do.
Yes I have tried turning off the internet on my Kindle to read but it’s just too easy to turn it right back on again because I panic and feel like I’m missing something important even though I’m not. I may, in fact, be one of those people that are too connected to the internet.
Last night I was lying in bed reading a James Patterson book I just got (a month ago) while Stacey was putting our son to sleep. After about 10 minutes, I was like, “Oh look my baseball game”. Twenty minutes later I was beating the snot out of Boston with my Detroit Tigers team and the Patterson novel was nowhere to be seen. I can feel the dirty looks coming from my fellow authors now.
In all reality though I am also one of those people I mentioned earlier that have had a hard time transitioning from print books to e-books. I’ve even tried experimenting with the same book reading it on my Kindle and again in print and timing myself. Yes, it was a little laborious but proved something I had long wondered about; which is that I still read the print book nearly twice as fast. What’s more is that I feel like I am enjoying the book more and the experience of reading more. Does that make any sense? I wonder how many people have this issue; I can’t be alone….or can I?