Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A novel on my phone; is it really possible?

Anyone who knows me will agree that I'm not one to bother with keeping anywhere near the front edge of technology. I've never owned a brand new phone - just my children's cast-offs. Similarly, I'd probably never have bothered with a Kindle if we hadn't been bought one for Christmas a few years ago, but I soon came to love it. It's more convenient to carry around, on holiday or just on dull car journeys, and about a third of the books I review are read on it, plus all those 'free download' offers that are hard to resist.
I couldn't imagine I'd make the swap to reading on my phone though.
Then, a month or so ago, I spotted a free i-book promotion for The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths - I couldn't download it to the Kindle but would I be able to read it on the small screen of an i-phone 4? As it was a book I really wanted to read, I decided to give it a go. After all, it was free!
It's the first of the Ruth Galloway series, published back in 2009, and a book I've intended reading for quite a while - in fact since I first heard Elly Griffiths talking about the series at a book event three years ago. But intending to do something and actually getting round to it are two different things and with so many other books demanding to be read I continued to put off ordering it from the library - and meanwhile the series grew, and is now up to Book 8, The Woman in Blue, with a ninth on the way. Anyway, I downloaded it quickly before I started having doubts about the possibility of reading anything longer than a text on a small, about 5 cm, phone screen. That might have been the end of the experiment with it sitting there for months, probably until I'd forgotten it was waiting (for this is a problem with e-books of whatever kind; there's no physical book pile as a reminder). Then one night I ended up sitting waiting for someone, with no book or wi-fi to amuse me, but at least I had my phone - and The Crossing Places downloaded and waiting to be read.

Too big?
Too small?
It wasn't easy at first. 

The text size needed to be tweaked to get as much as possible on one screen while keeping the font large enough to read, and sometimes I seemed to be turning 'pages' every few seconds. But once that was sorted, it worked surprisingly well, helped no doubt by this being a story that swiftly had me hooked. 

In a way, I'm surprised how much I liked this. I sort of thought this was just another gimmick to have on a phone rather than something of any practical use, and certainly never thought I'd say 'It's not a bad idea'. It's not perfect - those short pages in particular - but it's so easy to carry round! I'm not exactly hooked but it's certainly a method I'll consider in future. 

This isn't intended to be a book review, but you can read that here if you're interested. 

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