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Old 08-07-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
tmoody
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Reading on the Blackberry Curve, a "mature" perspective

I have a Blackberry Curve 8900, similar in size to the earlier 83xx models. I have installed three readers on it: Shortcovers, BN eReader, and Mobipocket. I've read three books on it now, so I thought I'd share my impressions.

The main thing is, I didn't expect this to work at all. It seemed like a very bad idea. I'm 55; I wear "progressive" lens eyeglasses; I get eyestrain from reading too much. But I tried it anyway. To my surprise, the experience was much better than I thought it would be.

The usable portion of the screen on the Curve is about 2 1/8" wide (a little less; about 5.35 cm, in fact). This, I found out, is a bit more than a typical newspaper column. On the reader apps, I set the font size to 40. I'm not sure what the units are. It's not points, but could be pixels. At any rate, at that setting the print is much larger than newspaper type, and larger than most printed books that I read. Eight lines fit on the screen at a time. I keep the screen brightness at 50% anyway, and this seems fine.

The interesting thing is that I find that I read more rapidly this way. My eyes take in screen-sized bites very easily. One of the things that causes eyestrain in normal reading is horizontal scanning, and this is obviously minimized in this format.

As we age, our eyes become more susceptible to hyperfocus anyway, so that we can experience blurred distance vision after reading for extended periods. I've found this to be no worse after reading on my Curve, and it might even be a bit less severe. For years, I've found the best treatment is to take my glasses off altogether for an hour or so a day, and just let my eyes relax.

I actually tried a Blackberry Storm for this purpose, thinking its larger screen would be better. Unfortunately, the Storm wouldn't behave well on the T-mobile network, so I had to give up on that idea. The Storm's screen would have given me a little more than a half inch of additional width.

So, my main reason for posting this is to encourage people who believe, as I did, that extended reading on a device such as the Curve isn't feasible, to try it. You may be surprised.

Todd
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:12 PM   #2
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I keep ereader installed on my curve with a selection of books. I find it's a lot easier to read on the phone when your out and about and just need to kill time them to haul the ereader with me.

Now I did come from the PDA side of things and read on a small screen for 9 years. I would never give up my dedicated device for the phone again though.
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:28 AM   #3
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My own experience parallels tmoody's. I generally read on a PDA with a 3.5" screen or my smartphone with a 2.8" screen. I find I narrow the reader window on my PCs to be similar to the 3.5" screen.

One minor advantage: I fell off my bike and broke my shoulder, so I'm reading one handed. Hardcover, awkward; paperback, hand-tiring; light, small, PDA ... priceless.

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Old 08-08-2009, 01:38 PM   #4
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I have the same experience. Though I was thrilled to find I could install/use mobipocket on my BB, I didn't expect to actually use it nearly as much as I do. I love it for the ultimate in portable reading material, and if I forget or can't have my EZ Reader for some reason. But - I find it takes me FOREVER to finish a book on the BB, so I load it with what I call "comfort" books. Books I read over and over, and can pick up and put down a hundred times a day with no inconvenience. I don't think I could sit and read a much-anticipated new release on it.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phenomshel View Post
But - I find it takes me FOREVER to finish a book on the BB, so I load it with what I call "comfort" books. Books I read over and over, and can pick up and put down a hundred times a day with no inconvenience. I don't think I could sit and read a much-anticipated new release on it.
The most unexpected thing, for me, is that I find I read faster on the BB. My eyes just gobble up the text, screenful at a time. It reminds me of the old "speed-reading" methods that used books in very narrow column format, to train you to minimize horizontal scanning.

I was mistaken in my original post. At the settings I use, I get seven lines per screen, and typically four or five words per line. So, on average I'm seeing about 30 words per screen--maybe a bit less, since there's a blank line between paragraphs. It works well.

I still plan to get a dedicated reader at some point, but I'm more willing to wait a bit now. Barnes & Noble seems to want to take a bite out of Amazon's market share. To do so, they'll need to increase their content. I already find B&N's content to be better than Mobipocket's, and their prices lower. But B&N has the resources to do a lot better, so it should get interesting.

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Old 08-09-2009, 02:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmoody View Post
The most unexpected thing, for me, is that I find I read faster on the BB. My eyes just gobble up the text, screenful at a time. It reminds me of the old "speed-reading" methods that used books in very narrow column format, to train you to minimize horizontal scanning.

I was mistaken in my original post. At the settings I use, I get seven lines per screen, and typically four or five words per line. So, on average I'm seeing about 30 words per screen--maybe a bit less, since there's a blank line between paragraphs. It works well.

I still plan to get a dedicated reader at some point, but I'm more willing to wait a bit now. Barnes & Noble seems to want to take a bite out of Amazon's market share. To do so, they'll need to increase their content. I already find B&N's content to be better than Mobipocket's, and their prices lower. But B&N has the resources to do a lot better, so it should get interesting.

Todd
I've got a close eye on B & N also. I've been very happy with their reduced pricing of new releases and bestsellers. If they keep with their "open" strategy (by this I mean allowing PC access to their ebooks), I can see them giving Amazon a run for their money.
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