A few weeks ago, I took my old iPad Air, which is still running iPad OS 12, and kicked off as many stock apps as I could and turned off notifications for everything. The goal was to make it as distraction free as possible, so I could use it as an e-reader. To this point, I’ve used it once. My biggest issue is the size of a normal everyday iPad. What I really want is something more book-sized.
This leaves me thinking about one of two options for me: iPad Mini or Amazon Kindle.
Let’s look at some factors.
- Size - The iPad Mini would be about the right size I’m looking for. It’s very light and not too big to hold in the hand. I would format it to be strictly for reading, so no notifications, instant messaging, or anything else would be happing here.
- Library - I’ve already bought a few ebooks from the Apple Books Store. I also have an RSS reader I love and also subscribe to Apple News as part of the Apple One bundle. I could also annotate quotes easier from this device, since my blogging system is very iOS friendly.
- Ecosystem - I’m fully wrapped up in the Apple ecosystem.This means devices and services within the ecosystem work well together. If I buy or read a book on my phone, the bookmark would be in the same place on the Mini when I pick that up. Same goes for the rest of the services I use on a daily basis.
- Temptation - One thing I cannot delete off an iPad Mini is the Safari, the default web browser. That leaves just a little bit of temptation to go down various ratholes and forget my initial intent of using the Mini in the first place.
- Size - Again, we’re talking a book-sized device. It’s light and easy to hold in the hand.
- Battery - Since the Kindle is an e-ink display, which gives it far more battery life than a tablet would give, weeks even. That would allow me to just leave it on a side table or bedside and not think about charging it for a while. I could also think about leaving chargers at home when I go on vacation.
- Amazon - I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. They have some disgusting practices with work environments and have wrecked the financial stability of people who live in the cities they have offices. They’re also everywhere and have everything. I can find virtually any book through them and that is an advantage.
- Temptation - The Kindle comes without a browser, has no notifications from messaging, and lacks really anything else which could pull me away from reading. It serves one purpose and does it well.
I shouldn’t dismiss physical books with all of this. I ran a Twitter poll a couple days ago asking which people prefer, books or e-readers, and a majority said physical books. That said, when it came to actual feedback, I received more praise from the e-reader side.
One issue I have to think about with all of this is my own personal issues with this, namely an old wrist injury I sustained at work a few years ago. That injury makes it hard to do anything stressful to it for any period of time without pain. Holding a book open with one hand is one of those things.
I also think about collecting a bunch of books and then moving someday. That’s a lot of weight, folks. I get the aesthetic, the look and feel of actual books, but is it worth carrying heavy boxes of them some day? Not for me.
What I’m Doing Currently
While I have a Kindle on my mind, I’m going to go with what I have in front of me right now. The more I think about this, the more I’m going the iPad route, namely the iPad Pro I work with every day. I have created a Shortcuts workflow which sets aside some reading time and triggers do not disturb during the duration of that time. When it comes to holding the iPad Pro, it is light and I find the flat edges of the device make it easier to pivot in my hand.
I’ve also ordered a screen cover for the iPad Pro called Paperlike. It’s exactly how it sounds, as it gives a more paper-like surface for the Apple Pencil. This makes it feel more natural for note taking and any other writing I’d need to do on screen. It also gives the screen a more matte finish, cutting down the glare and reflections the regular glass gives. This means I can take the iPad Pro outside and read much easier in the sun.
So, this is the route I’m going to go. I want to read more in an effort to clear my head and gain all the other benefits reading gives. Here’s to more books in 2021.￼