Critical Mass

Adventures in E-Reading: Guest Post from Martha Cornog

By Martha Cornog

Over the next month or so we're going to be offering a new series of guest posts (read the first series,”The Next Decade in Book Culture here). Our question: How are you handling the rise of the e-book? Are you reading on Kindle, the Sony Reader, the Vook, have you reserved an iPad?  Are you buying e-books? Reading e-galleys? And how's it working out for you? Let us know your quibbles, quirks, happy and not so happy adventures in e-reading. This post is from NBCC member Martha Cornog, graphic novel columnist for Library Journal.

I review graphic novels and occasionally books (i.e, text format) for Library Journal. I've reviewed books more extensively in the past over a period of 30 years.

I'm not buying anything in e-formats and I don't own an e-reader of any kind. I buy physical books and graphic novels.

So far I've read all book galleys in print form. For GNs, I usually review from print galleys or finals. Once I received a GN on a CD, and I reviewed from that, which was surprisingly easy and convenient although I was stuck with reading in one location, namely my desk/computer. But the print version of this title was so large and thick that I wouldn't have wanted to read it in other locations anyway.

Occasionally, I review GNs from web pages, or pdfs emailed to me. Not ideal, but I deal with it if it seems the easiest way to go at the time.

I prefer paper for everything. You can write on it, carry it to different rooms and chairs, use sticky notes… I underline and write notes on all books that I read that aren't library books or borrowed copies. I rarely write in GNs, but I do use sticky notes. Also, with a physical book/GN you can flip back and forth more easily between pages and sections, as in “Wait a minute. Did we meet this character earlier–or not?”

There may be ways to facilitate notes and flipping on e-readers – I'm not familiar with all their features. One advantage would be that you could probably do a search in a book instead of flipping. Wouldn't work for GNs, though.

I can see the advantage of e-readers if books take up too much space for someone. Traveling with a lot to read, it would be easier to travel with a reader pre-loaded.