This week I read my first digital book on my new iPad. I have to say that I enjoyed reading on the iPad more than I thought I would. I read the book through the Kindle app on the iPad. It was a spy novel that happened to be on sale at Amazon for 99¢. I hadn’t heard of the author or read a spy novel in ages but bought it because of its low price and to try out digital reading.

I have read a few comic books on my iPad and also on my laptop but I didn’t like that experience. The iPad is a little too small for comic book reading and though my 13 inch laptop is about the perfect size when turned sideways it’s a bit clumsy reading a comic book on a sideways laptop. Even one as light as the MacBook Air. Plus comic books on a screen are really bright and a little too hard on the eyes at times.

Another knock against reading comics on my iPad has to be the plethora of mediocre comics that I have for it. Circumstance has conspired so that good comics don’t make it onto my iPad. Y’see, I’m a regular comic book reader. I go to the store every week and buy a few comics. I also buy hardcover and softcover collections of comics. I probably have at least twenty collected editions laying around waiting to be read. I’m discriminating so it’s all pretty good stuff. At least I generally like the stuff I buy. That’s not even to mention tons of good comics in my collection that I could reread if I choose to.

So what comics do I have digitally? A bunch of free stuff that I found around on the internet. Comics comics that I never thought were good enough to buy but kind of want to try out. Mostly mediocre comics. As a result I must have two hundred comics on my iPad these days. But why would I read them? When I have a few moments to read something I can either pick up a comic I bought because I want to read it or my iPad to read some comics that I didn’t think were good enough to bother buying but could find for free. So far the actual comics have always won over the virtual ones so I don’t think I’m going to start reading too many digital comics any time soon.

On the other hand I don’t have a lot of unread books laying around. I don’t read as many books as I once did because my eyes could no longer take it as I got older. After working on the computer or drawing all day reading can be hard on the eyes. And as I settle fully into middle age my reading vision is just starting to fail me. I don’t need reading glasses yet but I can see that I will. There is never as much light as there used to be.

I also got in the habit of giving away books that I read. I have enough comic books filling up the place so there isn’t much room for novels and non-fiction books. Besides I rarely go back and read anything a second time. So in recent years I haven’t had a lot of books around in general plus they were a bit hard on my eyes so my reading habits dwindled. As I wanted to read a bit more I decided to give this digital thing a try. Why not? I had the iPad already.

When I bought my iPad this past Fall using it as an e-reader wan’t even a thought in my mind. I knew it could do it but I didn’t care as I had no interest in any kind of digital book reading. I’m not even sure what changed my mind. I downloaded the Kindle app for my iPad right away but it sat there for a month or two almost unlooked at. It wasn’t until I noticed that Amazon started a Kindle lending library for Amazon Prime members (of which I’m one) that I bothered to look at it. Turns out the lending library is not for the iPad but it got me to notice the 99¢ daily book deals. As an impulse purchase I decided to try a dollar book. I’m glad I did.

It’s the simple stuff that I like about the Kindle app and reading digitally in general. I can make the font a little bigger so that I will have less eye strain. That and I the fact that I can turn down the brightness and make the type sepia makes reading on the iPad all around easier on my eyes. It is quite pleasant. Easier than reading a real book. At least some real books.

I also like that just touching the screen turns the page. I don’t even have to think about it and it doesn’t break my reading concentration. As a matter of fact it turned the page so fast and smoothly that I think my concentration was actually better than when reading a real book. There was even an interesting little feature, that you can turn off, where you can underline passages and see the passages that other people have underlined. I found it interesting to see what passages other people liked. I even underlined one myself for the heck of it.

One thing my digital book buying highlighted is that comic book publishers are going to have a hard time with the pricing of their comic books. It the real 3D world a comic book is different than a regular book and those differences are obvious. A single comic is cheaper than a novel and has colorful pictures. After you read a comic you can look at it too. You can look at the drawings, relive some parts, and view it non-linear way. But somehow when faced with buying comics digitally they’re exactly the same as books with less bang for the buck.

I find that comic books lose a little of their uniqueness when they’re digital. I can’t flip through one like I would a real life comic but I can linearly sample a few pages. And with digital comics being two to three dollars a pop and at least some digital novels being 99¢ it’s tough to see the value. Especially since the post-reading “Flip through” value of a comic isn’t there with digital comics. It just doesn’t handle like a real comic. Comic books can be more social than a regular book and that is harder to do with a digital copy.

But anyway I’ve bought a couple other “Deal of the Day” books from Amazon plus I’ve downloaded a few free books. I actually stopped myself from getting anymore for the moment so as not to inundate myself with unread books. Sometimes that can be paralyzing. But I started reading a second novel and I’ll see how that one goes. Overall I’d have to say that this e-book thing is a s success for me.