Reading on your Treo
March 20, 2007
I admit it. I’m a hopeless bookworm. Always have been since I was in 1st grade. I read fair mix of sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, espionage, and even romance (I’m a sucker for strong female characters). I was buying a couple books a week — yes, even with two young kids. I was still reading in the bathroom (shhh!), on the Metro on the way to / from work, or during breaks. But the problem is that these books kept piling up. A couple years ago, I ended up having shelves upon shelves, boxes upon boxes of (mostly paperback) books — too many books. I hated donating books — it was as if I was ripping a part of my heart out. But I had to donate, or else we’d have no storage space left.
And then I discovered reading on my Palm Treo 650.
Suddenly, I could whip out my Treo and read a few paragraphs just while walking from my office to another, or while in the elevator, or while standing in line to buy something. And I didn’t look like a mousy bookworm — I looked smart and busy (or maybe I looked arrogant and business-like — but just humor me here). I didn’t need to remember to lug a book with me — instead, at any time I could just snap the Treo out of its holder and check my email and then read to my heart’s content. Oh, and new releases are usually simultaneously in paper and e-book formats, so the timing is good. Not all books are released in e-book version, though — Harry Potter’s never been in e-book format, dangitall. Took me a couple days to get used to reading on the electronic screen — and then I was hooked.
I’ve been reading e-books for the past three or so years. I buy 1 to 2 e-books a week, for prices that are comparable to those for “paper” books. I buy and download the book, transfer it to my Treo, and read. And when I’m finished, I just delete the book from memory. Blip, it’s gone. (I still have the book saved on my hard drive, or it’s still available for re-downloading should I want to read it again.) No stacks of books to worry about anymore. In the same span of time, I have bought maybe 3 or 4 actual hard-copy books. Just 3 or 4 “physical” books in the past several years! Peace of mind, actually.
There are numerous types of e-book reader software out there; Wikipedia’s e-book article does a fair job in covering them. But here, since it’s my article, I’m focusing on e-books read on Treos and other PDAs using the Palm Reader. There are two main although related websites selling e-books for the Palm Reader: eReader and Palm’s eBook Store. Numerous more websites sell e-books for the Palm Reader: University of Virginia’s e-Text Center (free e-books!), eBooks.com, Project Gutenberg (more free e-books!), and eBookMall.
I always buy e-books via eReader. It keeps a virtual “bookshelf” of all the books I’ve ever bought, and I have a loonnng wishlist of books I’ve marked via eReader for future purchase. One holiday season, my mother gave me a hefty gift certificate to eReader — it was the perfect gift for me! (Hint hint hint.) I do have some gripes with eReader: it’s hard to use via my Treo’s web browser (d’oh!), and it sometimes skips some books in the same series (i.e., eReader has all 25-some books in Nora Robert’s “In Death” series except for #17).
What am I reading now? The first book in James Patterson’s “Women Murder Club” series — “1st to Die“. Totally rocks. I think this series is gonna be better than Patterson’s Alex Cross series, which I find a bit tedious at times. Or maybe it’s just that I’m a sucker for strong female characters. I’m off to do some reading. Nite.