On Saturday I picked up a printed hard-back novel I ordered from my local public library. When I got home I sat down to read. And read.
I read for five hours straight. On Sunday morning I woke early and read for another three hours without disturbing my sleeping wife.
Which is more than I can do with an ebook
Neither activity would have been possible with an ebook. I know, I’ve tried three specialist ebooks plus Apple’s iPad 2 and my Android phone. None of them work for me when it comes to a serious reading session.
This is undermining my attempt to become a paperless journalist.
I’ve found I can’t read an ebook for one whole hour, let alone five. There are three problems, two are physical, the third may be a personal failing.
Blurry vision, headaches
First, my eyes go blurry after about forty minutes. They weep. I don’t mean I’m crying, I mean water fills my eyes and runs down my cheeks. On some occasions the ebook experience also gives me headaches.
When this happens my eyes stay blurry for some time after I stop reading. At least an hour, possibly more. I can’t drive or do much that requires good vision.
This doesn’t happen with printed books.
If I read a printed book last thing before switching the light off, I can usually fall asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow. If I read using a screen I struggle to sleep at all. I suspect the colour and brightness of the display has something to do with this. You may have another idea. Please share it if you do.
My third problem with sustained ebook reading is I quickly get distracted. This may be a failing on my part or it may be directly related to the discomfort I described above. Either way, I find it hard to concentrate with an ebook. This isn’t a problem reading novels, it is a problem when I’m reading non-fiction.
I’m in a race to see whether I lose my concentration or my vision first.
When I read a printed book in bed early in the morning, it doesn’t disturb my wife. When I tried reading an ebook early one morning, it woke her.
At this point I should confess I haven’t tried a specialist ebook device in months. The technology may have improved. Perhaps I should try again. I have spent time in recent weeks reading books on an iPad – I took one loaded with a library on recent trips away from home.
If you know of any ways to get around these problems, please get in touch.