I love gadgets but I love physical books. Going on holiday with only cabin luggage seems an ideal opportunity to learn to love the ebook.
Reading on the iPad rivals reading a real book – real books give you a more immediate physical indicator of how far in you’ve got, but then the ebook remembers your place even when you forget the bookmark. Sometimes I don’t flick the page definitely enough – but then I’ve not had two pages stick together yet on the iPad. And I haven’t encountered Fay Weldon’s problem in skipping passages – partly it’s not my habit to, but also I cannot see why it’s anymore difficult. I don’t have any problems reading on screen even in bright sunshine (the iPad’s screen is perfect for it) and although the device has a bit of heft to it, it’s no weightier than a typical hardback.
In terms of avoiding the bag of books syndrome, it’s been a mixed success. I used two books as test cases: David Nicholls’ One Day and Alastair Campbell’s Prelude to Power. I had no problem finding the former on both the Kindle and iBooks store. Incidentally, I can see no advantage in iBooks: Kindle seems to be cheaper, allows you to purchase in any web browser and transmit the book to your device of choice using whisper sync, and keeps your place in your book across multiple devices (iPhone, Mac etc.) so you can continue reading on whatever’s most convenient. It had already won me over with cheaper.
But Prelude to Power I couldn’t find in either store. I ended up buying it in the airport bookshop and it’s big. And so far it’s the real book I’ve been reading most – but I’d attribute that to the quality of the words rather than the appeal of the format; it’s utterly compelling.