Rod Dreher

Sarah Peyton tracks the ups and downs of learning to live with the iPad — and because she’s in publishing, she wonders if it will kill the Kindle. Excerpt:

I’ve owned a Kindle for about 6 months and it’s my trusty companion whenever I travel. The Kindle, my headlamp, and my iPhone sit on my bedside table. I’ve always got at least five or six new novels on the Kindle. I like the Kindle’s e-ink, the easy-on-the-eyes screen, compact size, and comfortable weight. When I have trouble sleeping at night, I grab the Kindle, strap on my headset, read a few pages or so, and drift back to sleep.Enter the iPad. For my weekend reading test on the iPad I purchased Next by James Hynes. The novel, depicting the day in the life of a man who has flown to Austin, TX, at the height of a terrorism scare, has garnered rave reviews. Much to my surprise I enjoyed the iBook interface. I quickly settled into the book and enjoyed advancing the pages with a swipe of a finger and watching the animated page roll up. I didn’t think the iPad was too heavy. I set the screen to the lowest brightness setting. But, compelling as Hynes’ book is–and it’s a fast paced romp–I grew distracted. I interrupted my reading to check Facebook, my email, and Twitter several times. Plus, reading on the iPad made me want to write on the iPad. I wanted to write notes on my iPad books. Worst of all for me, once I set the iPad down and turned off the light, I couldn’t go to sleep for hours. Was the light from the iPad too stimulating?

Her conclusion? Yes, the iPad will kill the Kindle, if it becomes her all-in-one entertainment device. But she’s worried about the light messing with her sleep.Funny, but the reason I don’t like the Kindle, but do like the iPad, is the latter’s backlighting capability. I find the Kindle too hard to read; it strains my eyes to read the relatively dark display. Others, though, report that it’s a pleasure to read precisely because a backlit screen causes eye strain. Hmm. Alan Jacobs says one thing he likes about his Kindle is that it only does one thing, thereby limiting distractions while reading. By the way, have you read Ken Auletta’s ruminations and reporting on the fight between Apple/iPad and Amazon/Kindle over the future of book publishing? Jason Kottke says the whole thing puts him in mind of Clay Shirky’s aphorism: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”The Kindle is in the book business. The iPad is in the reading business — and because it can incorporate interactivity on the web embedded within the text of books, is built on a delivery platform that can greatly expand the notion of what a book is. My money would be on the iPad. Can your Kindle do this?:

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