Just to get this out of the way, “Things Are Looking Up” by Jason Mraz is my Song of the Day. You can hear it on YouTube.
Today it is not about music though, today I’d like to speak about books. For a pretty long time (can’t look it up right now, because my mails are in the cloud and I have flaky Internet connection here on the train), at least two years, likely more, I have read almost nothing but e-books. I’ve “bought” most of them from Amazon and I read them on my Kindle (currently my second, a second generation Kindle Paperwhite 3G), the Kindle apps on my Nexus 7 tablet and my Galaxy S2 mobile running Cyanogen Mod, and recently, when it is a book about programming, I even use the Amazon Cloud Reader on my laptop’s browser. The latter makes sense when I use a book as a tutorial while programming.
I read more than I’ve ever read before. To keep track, I “share” each finished book with myself via email. That’s a function of the Kindle apps. It basically posts a message that I’ve finished the book on some social media system or, like I use it, sends the message as email. When I receive it, I tag it and can easily find it in GMail. Should GMail ever go away, I have always the local backups, saved to a RAID system. It’s a primitive and not very sophisticated way to keep track of what I’ve read, but in case of books, the sheer numbers are much smaller than with music and songs.
I first sent such an email on May 10 this year, and in the meantime I have 14 mails in my “A book read” folder. 14 books is not bad for a third of a year and I am sure that this is more than I ever read on paper.
It’s easy to see why. Regardless of where I am, I have always at least one device with me, and although one would think that reading on a phone is inconvenient, in fact it is not. Networking and automatic synchronization make switching devices seamless and convenient, dictionaries and the option to look facts up in an offline Wikipedia and geography in an offline maps application open up a depth that I’ve never enjoyed before.
Recently I was swimming. I read a book where a certain verse from the Gospel after Matthew was mentioned. My reading device was the Kindle Paperwhite 3G. It gives me access to Amazon’s shop via 3G networks and in complete absence of WiFi. It just works and it does so in most countries that I’m likely to ever travel to.
What did I do? Of course I went to the shop and bought a cheap copy of the Bible, looked up the verse, switched a few times between book and Bible, and now I have another source for reference available whenever I need it. It’s so cool 🙂
OK, meanwhile I’ve looked up when I bought my first Kindle. That was at the end of April 2011. Wow!
I have 114 books in my Kindle collection. Not all of them I’ve read, but the ratio is better than with printed books. All in all I’d call that a big success.