I’m a pluralist kind of a guy, on the whole I think it’s best to leave others to buy and use whatever kit they want for the job at hand.
The only times I go out of my way to intervene is if a friend of relative is thinking about buying something I’ve had a bad experience with or know that someone else has.
Not everyone is so hands-off.
A few days ago a very tech-passionate acquaintance launched into a lecture on why I was wrong to use my iPad as an eBook reader.
This admonishment largely consisted of a list of supposed failings which you’ll find repeated all over the web:
- The iPad is too heavy/big for use an ereader
- ‘Poor’ text quality means an backlighting means LCD displays aren’t suitable for ‘long-form reading’
- LCD displays are reflective and suffer from screen glare
- The iPad is too fragile to just ‘chuck in a bag’ like one would a book
There may have been others but let’s look at these most popular objections in turn:
The iPad’s too heavy for use an ereader
I’m currently reading Jeffery Deaver’s superb 007 reboot Carte Blanche which is available in physical form as a hardback. I confess I’ve not taken my kitchen scales into the local Waterstone’s to double-check but I suspect the paper version of the book weighs in at a lot more than my iPad 2’s 1.35 pounds.
It’s also bulkier and less likely to be in my bag or rucksack whenever I have an expected chance to read a few more pages.
A clear win for the iPad!
Poor’ text quality means an backlighting means LCD displays aren’t suitable for ‘long-form reading’
This is one of those highly subjective claims which get repeated as unassailable, inarguable fact when they’re nothing of the sort.
Like most people working in 2011, I spend much of my day looking at a backlit LCD computer screen and have no problem doing so. How is reading a lengthy document on a laptop screen any different from reading a book on my iPad?
As for the supposedly ‘poor’ text quality – my iPad let’s me pick the font and text size I find most comfortable for my particular needs.
Of course, some people may have sight or eye issues which make a backlit screen less suitable for them but the ‘one size fits all’ nature of the assertion is simply absurd.
LCD displays are reflective and suffer from screen glare
Living in London means there’s always plenty of shade so this is rarely an issue for me. Yes, on occasion bright overhead lights on a train have meant the screen is more reflective than normal but I’ve generally found that adjusting the backlight level solves it.
Again, I appreciate some people may find a reflection or bright spot troublesome but it’s a matter of personal preference/tolerance.
It may be a reason for SOME PEOPLE not to read on an iPad but it’s not a reason for NO-ONE to do so.
The iPad is too fragile to just ‘chuck in a bag’ like one would a book
This one always bemuses me. It seems to be a subconscious repetition of the message presented in Amazon’s advert that your dog can lick your Kindle screen and you can place keys on it with no ill effect.
I paid something like £600 for my iPad, when I carry it in a bag it sits inside a memory foam case to protect it against the crowds of rush hour train users who might cram against it. It takes about 10 seconds to put it in the case and do up my bag.
I don’t see this as a big deal.
Why does it matter what we use?
I’ve never really understood why it matters to anyone what other people buy and use.
Personally I wouldn’t want a Kindle, I have no use for something I have to carry in addition to the kit already in my bag but, while I have doubts about the longevity of grey screen devices in an increasingly mainstream marketplace, I don’t feel any need to lecture people I meet on why they’ve made a ‘wrong’ purchasing decision.