Over the past few years I’ve become an ebook devotee. I started acquiring ebooks as a solution to my bulging bookshelves that had no room to expand, but after adjusting to reading books on an ereader or tablet I quickly came to prefer them to hard-copy books. With ebooks I can adjust the font size to suit my eyesight and I can look up words in situ while I’m reading. Not to mention that I can mark passages and find them easily after reading. Plus I can store an entire library in a handheld device.
My first exposure to ebooks came when I bought a 2nd-generation Kindle and began buying books through Amazon.ca. Buying a book and having it delivered to my device seconds thereafter still amazes me. And what I found is that I was reading more than ever, partly because it was so convenient.
Later I got a Kindle Paperwhite, an ereader with a lamp that can be switched on at night. I got in the habit at bedtime of reading in the dark until I fell asleep. The reader switches itself off after 15 minutes of inactivity to preserve the battery. Not that that is a major issue; the E-Ink technology ereaders get tremendous battery life.
The next phase of ereading brought me to the iPad Mini with Retina display. The crisp, evenly-lighted text is a pleasure to read, and with an app called Overdrive I can also check out ebooks from my public library. I thought I’d reached the ultimate in ereading.
There was, however, a serpent in the garden. With the iPad I found that I was reading for short bursts at a time, then checking my email, Flickr, Flipboard, and Facebook accounts to see what was new. My concentration was slipping. The addictive nature of the Internet was making me easily distracted. I wasn’t reading with a good attention span.
At the same time, I’d begun to have some reservations about Amazon and its relationship with publishers. Amazon, an overwhelming force in the ebook industry, appeared to me to be trying to bully publishers into accepting its terms. Further, I had seen a well-documented instance where Amazon cut off access to a Norwegian lady who had a large library of purchased ebooks over a mistake Amazon made about her account that she was hard pressed to get reversed.
Also, as a computer jockey, I’ve never been pleased with Amazon’s proprietary .azw ebook format when the industry standard is .epub. I like standards. They help advance the industry.
So, long story short, I purchased a Kobo Glo ereader from my local Indigo bookstore. It reads ePub format, is lighter to hold than either my iPad or my Kindle Paperwhite, and the screen has pleasing resolution. Even better, its night lamp shines more evenly over the page than the Kindle Paperwhite.
Next, to protect my fairly significant investment in ebooks, I converted all my Amazon AZW formatted books to ePubs, using the excellent Calibre conversion software.
I wouldn’t say I’m through with Amazon.ca because I like its selection and services, but I’ll take measures to protect my library collection of ebooks from some arbitrary change of policy.
Meanwhile, I’d give the Kobo Glo an A in terms of usage. Not quite an A+ but it gets most things right, and I’m very taken with its compact size and light weight. More to the point, I’m finding my concentration returning because I don’t use the device to check Internet sites while I’m reading. I’m becoming less distracted.
Call me a happy camper with a, well, Glo.