Old School Rules

Monday, June 13, 2011

When I have some spare time to myself (which isn't often lately) there are two things that i enjoy doing.

I love to read. I'll read just about anything that's put in front of me. I love a good book more than anything else. I can find myself getting completely lost in them, losing track of time and just reading until i reach the last page.

The other thing I do when i'm relaxing on the couch after work is to play on the iPad. I'm completely addicted to it. Mostly it's scrabble or card games (pretty low-tech for such a high-tech device) and also a lot of web browsing and IM-ing.

Given these two uses of my time, one would think that the concept of a book that I can read on the iPad would be ideal! They've been advertising pretty heavily lately the great features of the ipad and how you can buy thousands of books without leaving your house, so it was really only  a matter of time before I would give it a go. I wasn't much interested in the idea at first, because I spend my entire day at work reading things on an LCD screen, so the idea of coming home to do the same thing didn't really thrill me. But the idea of having any book i decided i wanted to read in a matter of seconds was something that did appeal to me. So after failing to find a book that i wanted at the local bookstore, I bit the bullet and bought it as an iBook.

At first, it seemed kinda cool. I mean, reading on a brightly lit screen was a bit odd at first, but that aside, being able to change the font style and size was great. Not having to hold a book open while I lay in bed was also pretty great. I could read without moving a muscle, which is really what you want when you read. There was also the added bonus of being able to read while KJ slept, which is harder with a regular book because you need to have the light on.

But after a little while I began to miss the feel of the paper in my hands, and the satisfying feeling of flipping through the pages, watching the heavy side of the book move from the right to the left as i made my way towards the end.

Then I came across the biggest flaw in the entire ibook concept, something that would put me off iBooks altogether.  Something that no amount of touch screen and processor technology could overcome. It's the reason why ibooks will never replace the trusty old paperback. The reason that the iPad, the Kindle, the Nook will never ever take the place of beautifully bound sheets of paper with plain, black type.

After a particularly long and draining 11 hour work day, I came home and ran myself a nice hot bath. As I was preparing myself to get in, I realized that the ridiculously over-rated iBook had left me in the lurch. When all I wanted to do was relax by soaking in a hot bubble bath and reading a good book, I found myself without anything to read - because you can't take an iPad into the bath with you.
A paper book - yes. Sure, it's not waterproof, but if you drop it in the water, you can still dry it out and use it again. At worst, you've ruined a $10 product. If you take an iPad into the bath with you and drop it in, no amount of drying can repair it. You will have killed a $700 (minimum) product by trying to use it in the way you would a regular book. You can't even really take it into the bathroom with you at all, even if you keep it well clear of the water, because even the steam of a hot bath has the potential to ruin it.

So, Steve Jobs, you may have invented a product that was not so long ago just a thing of science fiction books, but you haven't created the greatest product the world has ever seen, like some Mac-Obsessive fans will claim loudly and regularly to anyone who will listen. Because until you make that sucker waterproof, it's just a toy that will never be as good as a couple hundred sheets of paper bound together.

Old School still rules.


Freelance Search said...

I couldn't agree more with this. I do prefer a good old paper back in hand. I can imagine my self reading a book through an iBook tough. But I still love the smell and flipping the pages of great and imagination feeding book.

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