Sunday thoughts…

So, we got back from Tokyo last week – and the trip was a bit of a test case in a couple of ways. As well as checking out the keitai novel scene, it was probably the first overseas flight I’ve been on (ever?) where I didn’t take a printed book. In the past, I’d always had a backup airport blockbuster in the backpack. This time though, the shortness of the flight, the expectation of decent video on demand (and the night-before packing regime) saw me at the airport loaded only with iphone and laptop.

Now’s the time to point out that JAL’s flights from Sydney to Tokyo (and back) are efficient and comfortable but the food is barely food and the “Magic 2” Entertainment is neither Magic nor ‘2’. Unless the 2 refers to 1992. A mere dozen or so channels of looping videos. No video on demand and an overall unconvincing experience. 

So I spent 6-7 hours reading on the iphone – probably the longest continuous stint I’ve done – and it was fine! In keeping with the state of the brain 30,000 feet up, this was no high-literature, but a page-turning saga featuring the cliched activities of one Jack Reacher. But I digress. In between meals and kid-wrangling, I read the whole thing, and the only time I remembered it wasn’t a paperback was when I could slip the iphone into my shirt pocket rather than trying to cram it into the overstuffed seat pocket (why do airlines insist of giving you printed drinks menus, shopping guides, entertainment guides etc – leaving no room for the stuff you really *need*). And by keeping my screen brightness low (but still plenty bright enough in the half-light of a plane cabin), the battery was still two-thirds charged on arrival.

Score one for e-books.

And then yesterday, the seven year old ran out of Famous Five books (we only had the first three in hard copy) but refused to leave the house to go to the library or bookstore. (If you have young kids, you know that getting them out of the house on weekends can be impossible). Couldn’t find Enid Blyton at ereader.com, so I spent half an hour trawling the net, and found the complete famous five in lrf format – which she stared reading using the Calibre reader on ‘her’ hand-me-down powerbook. A little later, some torrented text files finished downloading (I didn’t figure out a way to convert lrf to txt), and my old 2G iphone (yes I’ve upgraded, so sue me) was a library of Famous Five courtesy of Stanza.

Score two for e-books.

Yes I know the estate of Enid Blyton may not be totally happy with me, but as my mate in Tokyo suggested when I helped him torrent some tunes not available on the itunes Japan store, “it’s not about the price, it’s about the availability.” And he’s a director for a major multinational content company. Besides, if we wanted to go back to the Statue of Anne, the Famous Five would be in the public domain by now 🙂

A couple of final observations – apart from the odd typo which she gleefully pointed out to me (and which I blamed on crappy scanning), the seven year old had no problem reading a book on the powerbook, but has actually yet to pick up the iphone to finish off the series. Probably because she got a little distracted by Nintendogs on the DS. Go figure.

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1 comment so far

  1. […] So here’s your chance. I’m off to Canada and the US next week and I’m following Sherman Young’s lead and going digital all the way. So I’m looking to load up ye olde iPhone with things to read […]


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