‘Hooray for the Future’ is an ongoing series of musings by Found Press Media Co-Publisher Bryan Ibeas, on anything and everything related to the interactions and intersections between literature, technology, and culture.
When we first began discussing the FP concept with people, one comment we heard often was “Why do it in ebook? Why not just do an online journal? There are plenty of those, and they seem to do well.”
My response then – as is usually the case when I’m confronted with a tough question – would be to mumble something about “shifting paradigms”, then gesture emphatically and declare “YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!”
Since then, I’ve had quite a bit more experience with ebooks in general and e-reading devices (that includes my iPhone and iPad) specifically. Hopefully this means that my take on the whole browser vs. ebook issue will sound more practical and less like that of a frightened wildebeest.
Unless I can somehow get a very rare evening or weekend off, almost all of my casual reading takes place while commuting. I spend so much time on transit, let me tell you. And when I’m on a streetcar at the start/end of a long day, I find that nothing beats being able to sit down/stand up, pull out my iPhone, and immediately begin to read. No fuss, no muss. There’s just something so gratifying about starting a story when I first take my seat, and finishing it just as I roll up to my destination.
That option is even more appealing when I’m on the subway, where establishing a wireless or 3G connection is impossible. I really don’t have much of a choice: it’s either dive into my pocket library of literature; pick up someone’s discarded free newspaper and laugh at their half-finished and hopelessly-wrecked Sudoku; or suck at Angry Birds. Usually I go with the literature.
In fact, I’ve become so accustomed to reading ebooks on the TTC, it’s become part of my FP workday. If I have to guess, I’d say that all but a handful of the submissions I’ve evaluated for FP were ones that I’ve loaded up on my iPhone before a long commute.
All this isn’t to say that my own reading habits are representative of anyone but myself. Not everyone has a portable reading device, not everyone takes the train, and not everybody sucks at Angry Birds as much as I do.
But hey – isn’t the fact that reading is such a personal experience, one of the things that makes it so great? It’s definitely something we believe in, not just for our readers but for ourselves.
The freedom to read what we want, when we want, wherever we want: it’s not just a business model, it’s a lifestyle.