If you follow NJATB on Facebook, you may know that I have been considering using an eReader – or ebook reader – for a while now. But are those reading machines, said to « offer a reading comfort close to the paper’s », really worth it?
Reading « Comfort »
First of all, let me say that paper books still have a long and happy future. Reading on an eReader is certainly more comfortable than on a PC screen, but it is still far from the real paper. Mine (Sony PRS600) doesn’t allow you to set the contrast, and the touch screen makes it less easy to read than other systems. Also, reading under a bright sun can be difficult because of the reflections.
These drawbacks apart, I admit that the thing is rather nice to look at, lightweight (less than 300 gr), small enough and easy to use. Its biggest advantage is that you can carry thousands of books at the same time, which is really neat for travelers (no need to worry about weight limitations on plane) or linguists (forget about expensive postage fees, just download your foreign-language book on the Internet!). Every book published before 1923 is now in the public domain and available for nothing. Also, news readers have 3G and wifi connexions, which can come in handy.
What about the work?
I recently realized what an enormous potential these gadgets have for my work, and especially the Sony reader. With its touch screen, you can take notes on the book and documents you’re reading… And since you can upload PDF and Word documents on it (you see it coming?)… you can proofread your texts directly on your reader, wherever you are (watch out for sand and water, though, not sure the reader’s safe on the beach). Furthermore, readers’ battery can last up to two weeks and you can change the size of the font to spot any typo. Finally, think about all the trees you will save by not printing your translations anymore!
After just a week, I am already an ebook-addict. And these machines will certainly get more sophisticated in the years to come, with a better reading comfort, more contrast, and probably the possibility to modify the text directly in the document. Tablets PC such as the iPad already allows this, but their price, battery life and reflections are real drawbacks to that kind of use.
What about you? Would you be ready to use an eReader for your translations?