Thursday, August 5, 2010

Marking your place

After seeing a selection of fantastic bookmarks with noses and hound dogs (you can download a template here) via Craftzine.com, I got to thinking about how we mark our place in a book.

This week , I took my iPad with the Alice App (which is brilliant - I'm particularly fond of the floating cupcake page) to Honours class. Since I was taking the iPad and felt a little lazy about also taking my well-thumbed copy of Through the Looking-Glass, I downloaded the free eBook and took that instead (the use of eBooks will be tricky in terms of citation and reference, though I have to admit that finding early editions of Jane Austen on Google Books is exciting and may alter how we consider scholarly editions). However, there was one catch. Each time there was something I wanted to refer to, I had no worn page, no aging post-it note, no penciled scribbling to go by. I was without the marks of my previous readings.

Apps on iPads and Kindles etc are catching up. There are apps so that you can highlight and notate pdf documents. There are bookmarks in iBook. Yet, how often do we find our favourite place in a book by feel - by touch, in effect? There will be spots along the spine where the construction of the book itself has become accustomed to being opened and has consequently adjusted itself. Or has simply fallen apart. I have a copy of Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades that has finally given up and reverted to a pile of loose pages and tattered cardboard covers. Yet, I won't give that copy up. It contains my first reading experience of Heyer. It's wrapped up in ribbon and still read.

Will the iPad contain our first reading experiences so well? Even with electronic bookmarks and highlighted passages?

I do enjoy the iPad, despite the splash a recent survey caused. It's easy to use, it makes it easier to read lots of pdf articles and to search through Google Books (incidentally, if you do need a page from a Google Book, you can always screen cap. and then print that image), and it's suitable for quick typing and watching downloaded videos. I'm a fan. I'm currently debating whether to download Chuck on the iPad for weekend viewing.

On a final note, the academic programme for AussieCon 4 is coming together and there are quite a few Monash names associated. It should be good!

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