Friday, October 19, 2012

Kindling a love for e-reading

I had an Android Tablet thingy for my birthday back in August. I wanted it primarily as an e-reader. It came preloaded with Aldiko and Google Books and I downloaded the king of e-readers, Kindle. One of the reasons why I wanted an e-reader was space. My study is packed with far too many books. Some shelves are double-stacked and others have books lying horizontally on top of rows of vertical volumes. Another reason is cost. While some e-books are not much cheaper than their paper equivalents, many titles are available  at bargain basement prices.

From Kindle I have bought: In Christ Alone, by Sinclair Ferguson for £0.99, Spurgeon's complete Treasury of David for £2.01, Expository Thoughts by J. C. Ryle was £1.98, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, was only £0.49. The Fullness of Christ by John Preston was free. Aldiko has a free range (sorry if that sounds a bit like eggs) called 'Great Books of the Western World'. I downloaded Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton. The witty author anticipates and critiques postmodernism a hundred years ahead of time, "A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed." I also got The Travels of True Godliness  by Benjamin Keach and Grace and Glory by Geerhardus Vos from Aldiko for free - and Melville's Moby Dick. "Call me Ishmael." Well, please don't.

I resisted getting an e-reader for some time partly because they are a bit pricey. You have to be prepared to shell out on the kit before making savings on e-books. But also because I like the traditional book as physical object. You can't beat the look and feel of a decent quality hardback. I wouldn't think of parting with Bavinck's handsome volumes of Reformed Dogmatics for an electronic version. No way. I was also a bit concerned that I might be tempted to "skim read" e-books, a little bit like you are probably skim reading this post. Books have a weight and substance to them that demands serious attention. E-stuff doesn't have that. But so far that hasn't happened. I'm currently 19 chapters into In Christ Alone and have found it as absorbing as reading Ferguson in regular book-form.

Of course there are drawbacks. Books don't need recharging or give off screen-glare in the sunshine, or crash mid-chapter. But you can't listen to your music collection via Amazon Cloud Player on a book, or browse the web and the like. Besides, carrying all the titles mentioned above around with me would be a bit heavy going. With Kindle I can quickly access them all on my PC, Tablet and Phone. The app even bookmarks the last page I read on my PC, say, so I can pick up where I left off using any device. Cool eh? So, I won't be abandoning good old fashioned books just yet, but a love for e-reading has definitely been Kindled. 


AMR said...

Indeed. The Kindle also seems to fit my method of study. I pick up a book, read a few things, then jump to another, say, a commentary, and then go back to what I was reading. In fact, I find the Kindle environment being more suitable for me than my pricey investment in Logos and other specialized software with all its many open windows clamoring for my attention.

Guy Davies said...

Yes, Logos is rather expensive. I tend to use the package for its exegetical and study tools rather than for reading books from its library. As you say the screen is to 'busy' with different windows to facilitate concentrated reading.

Gary Benfold said...

I'm addicted, too; though I too like the 'feel' of a real book, I now resent actually having to read one! A Kindle is so much lighter! And clearer!