A personal plunge.

Apple_iPad_iBooks_1645855cThe current Australian national reading initiative seems little different to the many similar promotions that have preceded it. What sets it apart for me is its synchroneity with the announcement that Encyclopaedia Britannica will no longer produce their illustrious and time-honoured 32-volume publication. This concurrence prompts me to finally relax my Canutian resistance to the sea of eBooks. This inevitable and tremulous personal milestone will mark my participation in the National Year of Reading 2012.

Before I take the plunge however, I will first dip my toe in the water. No rushing to eBay for the current trending eReader-de-jour and a subscription to Amazon. In spite of my tendency to try new technology, I am prepared to accept that the practical experience of digital reading represents a Rubicon (perhaps I should begin with Heller’s Catch-22?) So I will select some eBooks from independent resources and put them on my iPad* to road-test the experience. In real terms this approach is impractical (a dozen hours of battery life against an eReader’s dozen or so days) but I am aware that this method will actually allow me the transitional tactile luxury of making page-turning motions with my hand on what “feels like paper” (whatever that means) rather than the sterile equivalent of pushing a button with a forward-facing arrow (and accompanied by a rather annoying ‘click’ I’m told.) Hence a semblance of the evolutionary literary instinct can be retained and if my choice of books is astute I may hopefully become absorbed enough to find that reading is all about the matter, not the method.

*The writer wishes to clarify that he did not pay good money for this device of contestable usefulness but was awarded it and being polite…well…

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