On Tuesday I go to Austria on my last research trip before heading home in mid-July. I will bring with me four books probably — not sure which four, but certainly Count Belisarius, Robert Graves’ Justinianic historical novel — and some history magazines. My last major research trip ended up with me over halfway through the final book I brought with me by the time I got home, and I’d’ve finished that if I’d not borrowed a couple books from my cousin to read on the train home.
This is an ongoing problem, how many books to bring.
Often too many come, but occasionally too few! How is a man to plan?
So. Sometimes I want a Kobo e-reader.
In such moments, I want an e-reader because I can bring with as many books as I want, and my suitcause will not overflow nor be especially heavy. Imagining the books I’m looking at and contemplating right now for Austria, I wouldn’t have to choose, but could say: Aha! The Blackwell History of the Latin Language, La décrétale Ad Gallos Episcopos: son texte et son auteur, The Divine Conspiracy, and The Imitation of Christ can all come with me! Yea, even the 990-page Framing the Early Middle Ages can join me with ease!
What luxury! What bliss!
Also, a vast store of public domain books are available free for an ereader. So things essential or at least highly useful for my work could be free and come with me anywhere. The old Ante-Nicene Fathers and Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series of translations. Or C. H. Turner’s Ecclesiae occidentalise monumenta iuris antiquissima. Or, you know, Sherlock Holmes.
That’s why I want one. Sometimes.
Overall, I prefer the tactility of books. I’ve blogged about books as objects before. I like books. They’re nice. With a book, visual memory makes it easy to rediscover a passage. ‘I remember it was about a third of the way through on the left side, a quarter of the way down the page.’
And, then. If I were to get one, I would want a Kobo.
Why Kobo? Well, Nook would probably be about the same. Not Kindle, though. There are some digital proprietary issues surrounding Amazon and Kindle. And I like to know that what I’ve purchased and paid for will not be sucked up into the ether outwith my consent. It sounds like Kindle gives you possession but not ownership.
Kobo and Nook, however, use open source. Anybody can make an ePub book available on those. And I haven’t heard of them snatching ebooks away into the ether.
And if I were to get a Kobo, it wouldn’t be backlit. It would be an actual ereader. A lot of the things they call ‘ereaders’ these days are actually tablet computers being produced by the people who make ereaders, such as Kindle Fire or Kobo Arc. I want one of the original-style ereaders that is not backlit at all and is used solely for the reading of books, not music, not movies. Something that reads with the feel and ease of a book and won’t strain my eyes.
These are my thoughts on Kobo.