First off – a great big thank you to Vanessa for minding the BrandFiller blog for the past two weeks! I’ve enjoyed logging on from time to time and reading your posts.
I’ve been spending the last two weeks traveling around the United Kingdom and Ireland. I think I’ve toured just about every royal palace south of Balmoral, and that includes the Royal Yacht, Britannia. It’s been an awesome experience.
While this was more of an adventure vacation than a leisurely vacation, I did manage to fit in a little reading along the way. The big difference between my vacation reading on this trip and on past trips is that I didn’t bring along a single book this time – well, not a printed book at least.
I left San Francisco with a set of digital books on my phone, determined to experience a completely digital reading vacation. Yes – I know I’m about three years behind mainstream adoption of digital reading, but that was digital reading on dedicated e-readers. While I think the e-reader devices out there are great, they just don’t work for me. I don’t want to cart along another device – in fact I’m down to three digital devices – laptop, ipod and phone. I would jettison the ipod except for the fact that I’d rather not cart my smartphone along to listen to music while I run – it’s too bulky and there is too much at stake if I drop it.
The net/net on smartphone reading is this:
- Portability and variety are great. My back pack was much lighter than it has been in past trips and if I got bored with a book I could easily search for and download another one.
- Small-screen format – this wasn’t a problem for me. I was able to adjust the size of the font to what was comfortable for me and frequent page turning was nothing more than just touching one side of the screen every thirty seconds or so – to tell you the truth I hardly noticed it after a while.
- Gap reading – the best part about smart phone digital books is that you can read when you’re waiting in line for tickets, waiting for the tube, standing around waiting for a tour to start or sitting on a bench waiting for the rest of your party to finish up in a gift shop.
- Battery life – the one downside of reading on the phone was that it tended to drain my battery faster than I was comfortable with. I also use my phone as my only camera, as a digital map and as a guide/ search engine for tourist attractions and shopping. So my battery went much faster than was convenient. I overcame this by charging two batteries each night and changing out the battery on the go as needed.
I will admit to buying a couple magazines and newspapers along the way – while I enjoy reading a novel on my handset, I enjoy reading periodical content in hard copy much more. Call me old fashioned, but I like big pictures. By the end of my trip I did buy a paperback at a Foyles bookstore in London. Yes – it’s true, there is still a little bit of charm in sitting in a coffee shop on a raining day and losing yourself in a paper book.
All in all – I would suggest a similar hybrid approach if you’re a big vacation reader. Load up your handset with a few books you want to tackle while you’re away but also bring one in hardcopy – just in case.