As a rule, I read one book at a time. Or perhaps I should say this has been my rule, as it appears to have broken down completely.

For the past several years, I've carried a paperback book which fits in a pocket, and a PDA (Treo with Plucker, now iPhone) with news. I rotate between catching up on Twitter/NetNewsWire/Instapaper Pro/, watching movies and TV shows, and reading, along with the occasional game. My tendency has been to avoid the next book for a while, as I catch up with other things, then as I get near the end, I focus more on finishing the book.

Thanks to Goodreads, I realized that I am now reading 7 books.

  1. I'm reading the Mabinogion from Project Gutenberg on the iPhone.
  2. I just started Weber's By Schism Rent Asunder in the new Kindle for iPhone app.
  3. I'm halfway through reading Moore's Watchmen for about the 4th time. I read this at home, at night -- my compilation is big and I don't want to trash it.
  4. I'm reading DiMassa's The Complete Hothead Paisan at home (too big to carry)
  5. I have been reading Singh's Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach at home for over a year (much too big to carry).
  6. When I remember it, I read Gerrold's The Middle of Nowhere at lunch, when I remember to bring it.
  7. Card's Empire is in my jacket, unstarted.

I hope I can continue to keep them all straight!

As someone who doesn't read hardcovers due to cost and size, cannot generally fit trade paperbacks in my pockets, and struggles to find new books to read, Kindle ebooks on the iPhone are a big win. My main reason to carry a paperback is now for when the iPhone battery is dead.


Kindle.app Flaws

  • Paging is awkward. I have to swipe left to advance. This quickly becomes tiresome -- tapping on the top or bottom, or perhaps the right side, should advance. Each book requires hundreds or thousands of page turns, so they should be as quick and efficient as possible.
  • There's no way to get a page number. This makes references & citations problematic.
  • I cannot see a table of contents. This may be Tor's fault, as Kindle.app has a built-in ToC bookmark, but there's nothing on that page -- there's also no cover for either of the books I bought, which is frankly lame. When I tap the page, it shows me the "Location" I'm currently at. If I tap the bookmarks button and then the "Location..." button, I get a field to jump to an arbitrary location, and the app shows the final location number.
  • I cannot see what chapter I'm in. I don't know if the Kindle has provisions for this which Tor hasn't taken advantage of, or if the Kindle simply lacks support for chapters.
  • There's no landscape mode or zoom. By Schism Rent Asunder starts with a map and geography is important to the story. Unfortunately, it's far too small to read. Lame.

Update: May 20, 2009

I occasionally read print volumes, but I mostly read in Kindle.app.

To my delight, Amazon just released v1.1 of Kindle.app, fixing my main complaints:

  1. Tap to page
  2. Zoom
  3. Landscape mode is now available

Next I hope they will provide a progress meter, a la the gauge at the bottom of Stanza windows.