Electronic Books

I have been using computers since 1982. Back then they were pure calculators with the purpose to crunch numbers. Today anybody can use computers for anything. But for me nothing fundamentally changed. Just that I do a bit more office work myself than before. Also "online service" requires attention now. For example I serve my bank clerk online by doing his job to type numbers into his system. But that's fine. The poor chap has a really dull job. So, why shouldn't I help him a bit? Then he can use the time he saved to read the Financial Times. He really needs it. I also do "online service" to support airlines and rental car companies. I see it like charity work. But all together I don't spend more than half an hour a day in front of a computer screen.

A real change to me has been made not by the Personal Computer, but by the introduction of really good electronic book readers. When I was working in the High Tech Practice of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in the late 90s, I was first introduced to "electronic ink" which is a display that uses charged pigments to create a paper like, very sharp picture. At this time the company was still an early stage venture, but it developed amazing displays in the last 12 years. They can be read under strong sunlight as well as in the armchair under a lamp. And it only uses power when the pigments change direction, which is when you turn a page. I have tried a few electronic book readers, and found that the Amazon Kindle is the best. It is perfectly integrated into the Amazon store and I have two devices: one as a pocket book and the other to read larger formats. Everything in the Kindle makes life easy and emulates the way you read a book. And the best thing about the kindle is not what it does, but what it does not do: it does not distract the reader by anything "fancy". 

Since about a year I sold and donated most of my paper books and re-bought them in electronic format. As I read a lot of classics, this is quite cheap to build up a decent library. Much cheaper than shipping tens of boxes of paper books around the planet, next time moving house. First I thought that I would miss the touch and feel of paper, when I read on the Kindle instead of a conventional book. But overall I found that I read much more and much faster on the Kindle. Try it and you will soon forget about the touch and feel of paper.