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How to read a book?

July 22, 2009

As a journalist, I still prefer a good old notebook and pen to electronic recorders and dictaphones for my interviews. Except from that little anachronism, I have done all my writing digitally for at least ten years. However, twenty years after the invention of the World Wide Web, I still read a vast amount of books. Yes, the wood pulp-based variety. Will 2009 be the year when I finally swap ink on paper for bits and bytes on a flash drive?

For mine norske lesere: Veit noen av dere om en brukbar nettbutikk der jeg kan kjøpe (relativt) nye e-bøker?¹


About two months ago, I won a Sony Reader Digital Book, one of the devices claiming to be for books what the iPod has been for music. As I am curious by nature and love a good book², I intend to find out whether there is any truth to this claim.

So far, the claim seems somewhat exaggerated. While the device itself works just fine, it has proved rather hard for a law-abiding Norwegian citizen like myself to find good books to fill it with. I therefore turn to you, my dear readers, versed as you are in the art of digital reading. Does anyone out there know of any decent e-book shops willing to sell their digital merchandise to a nice young man lacking US address³ and credit card?

UPDATE: I read about on the blog of Norwegian writer Eirik Newth, and have just bought and downloaded William Gibson’s Spook Country from this digital bookstore. The web shop interface was rather intuitive and easy to use, and I quickly found the book by typing “William Gibson” into the search field, before proceeding to check out. There were no geographical restrictions on this book, which I downloaded via Adobe Digital Editions. Transferring the book to the Reader (a PRS-505, by the way) was easy and straightforward, and it seems to work just fine with the Sony. However, the font is very small, and while this can of course be remedied by using the Reader’s zoom function, zooming in to much makes the layout go a bit awry.

Newth also mentions Waterstones, a British chain of booksellers, but I have not tried their web shop as of yet.

¹ Foreløpig har jeg bare funnet, men utvalget der er noe snevert.

² Not to mention the fact that I am employed by a writers association and am therefore professionally interested in all things bookish.
³ To buy from Sony’s e-book store, you need a US shipping address. Also, it does not work for Mac users.

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