The Steve Jobs Biography
The Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson is a very revealing look at arguably one of the most influential entrepreneurs of the late 20th and 21st century. I have strong feeling about what I’ve read thus far. We’ll review the container now and the content later. That will also prevent any spoilers for those still plowing through the 600+ page tomb. For now, we’re reviewing the content What we will look at is the experience of purchasing and reading it digitally.
I purchased the digital edition of the book from Amazon. I first considered the option of buying it from Apple’s iBook store. After all, it was a book about ‘Mr. Apple’ himself. However, I wanted the freedom of reading it on either my iPad or Kindle. Since only Amazon could fulfill that request, thanks to its Kindle app on the iPhone, I chose it.
I could have gone to my local bookstore and purchased a pbook (physical or paper book) or I could have ordered the pbook from an on-line retailer and waited for its delivery.
Instead, I opted for instant gratification. I ordered the ebook from Amazon and began reading within minutes of clicking the 1-click Buy button. I was given the choice of downloading the book to my Kindle keyboard, iPad or iPhone. I chose the iPad.
The Environment Determines the Device
It was evening when I began reading, so the iPad was best suited for the low light conditions. However, when I retreated to my back yard, and later to a coffee shop to read outdoors, the Kindle was king because of it’s non-glare e-ink screen. Since I only have Wi-Fi on my iPad and Kindle, I can also read it on my iPhone, which is always with me and connected to the Internet. If you’ve never read an entire book on a mobile phone, it may sound like an untenable feat. I thought so myself until I read a 300+ page book on it without any discomfort. Thank God for the ability to turn a digital book into a large print book.
Built-in Ebook Extras
I enjoy learning new words as I read. I also like to underline interesting passages or making notes in the margins. I also find myself going back into the parts I have read to refresh myself on a character or situation in the book. When I read a pbook, I usually have a dictionary, pad and pen nearby. The ebook has its strengths and weaknesses for looking up words, note taking and more. The iPad is my choice over the Kindle. The Kindle can perform all the tasks above, but it is easier to navigate the text with a touch screen than with keypads. The Kindle Fire will likely close the gap.
iPad… Heavy Man
When Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple, the expression, ‘Heavy man’ was a compliment. I can imagine, because I haven’t gotten to chapter 38 where Iaacson writes about the iPad, that there were heated discussions about the weight of the iPad. The pleasure of the lean-back experience of reading does not include quick on-set muscle fatigue. Unless you have a knee or desk to prop your iPad against while you read, you’ll likely grow tired quick and switch to the Kindle. It’s weight is similar to a paperback book.
The iPad, Kindle and paper books offer rich reading experiences. Which do you prefer?