Many people I know have no interest in reading longer-form works on a screen when printed books have always served them well, and that’s completely fair enough.
Obviously I’m not hostile to the book as a printed object. There are hundreds (thousands?) of them in my apartment. No doubt there will soon be hundreds more.
Nor, however, am I averse to reading books electronically. My first successful attempt came by accident early this year, when I ended up tearing through most of my friend Marie’s novel manuscript on my iPhone.
My train stalled on the way home from work that night, and after I finished the pages I’d printed for the ride, I was left the middle of a suspenseful scene. The “sick passenger on the train ahead of us” (i.e., did she fall, or was she pushed?) situation dragged on. And on. Finally we crept into an above-ground station where I could get reception. I whipped out my phone and downloaded the attachment.
Although grumpy and self-conscious at first, soon I was so drawn in that I forgot to be annoyed. Everything — where I sat, what I was holding, the fact that we were now speeding toward my stop — fell away, except the world of the story. (Granted, I am probably not the best test case.)
Since then I’ve tried Stanza (free) and Ereader (free). As you may remember, my phone plummeted to the subway tracks in September while I was engrossed in (what else?) Twain’s nonfiction. When the MTA guys handed it back to me 45 minutes later, I hadn’t even lost my place.
Of these, Classics offers, overall, the most pleasant experience once you get the hang of the page-turning. I intend to keep using it until I can get my hands on the next thing, which might happen very soon.
For now, a few links that may be of interest: