My first ebook platform was the Kindle app on an iPad. Dr. Pete Forster had recommended Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, describing events of posthumous Medal of Honor recipient and Penn State alumni, Lt. Michael Murphy. Since I am not a fan of reading long articles on a computer, I was skeptical of this experiment. To make the test even more difficult, I planned to begin reading the ebook in bright sunlight while attending a men's slow-pitch softball game.
I was hooked immediately. By itself, Lone Survivor is a remarkable introduction to SEAL training in general, and the Operation Redwing tragedy in particular. I am sure I would have put up with any ebook challenge to finish this gripping story. However, unlike bulky computers, the ebook actually facilitated reading by enhancing reader control and flexibility. For example, I found I prefer a large font in white characters on a black background. This combination works well, I discovered, in both bright sunlight and dark rooms.
"What" to read has not been a challenge, but there are some strategic "how" issues emerging. For example, I enjoy collecting free Kindle classics, or an occasional Project Gutenberg book. I love knowing I can bring my entire library with me to the doctor's office or on vacation.
Hardcopies are still needed, especially if I want to share them or include contents in a lesson plan. In these cases, I comply with Stanley and Danko's research that suggests beginning with a library copy. This was recently the case with Washington Post reporters Priest and Arkin's Top Secret America. In just a few dozen pages, though, I realized I would need to purchase this book to make highlights and notes.
I selected the Kindle version, since comments and highlights in hardcopies are difficult to retrieve. Kindle, however, allows readers to make and export notes and highlights. They are automatically tracked at https://kindle.amazon.com/. In fact, you can keep your notes private, or make them public. You may also review public notes and highlights from other readers since Amazon lists "Highly Followed People" and "Books With the Most Public Notes."
To read Former hacker Kevin Poulsen's Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground, I checked out the digital copy from our local library. The library-required iPad Overdrive App is a compromise, since it allows me to "check out" new books on an iPad, but not the ability to make notes. In this case, I will probably end up purchasing the book; I now know it will be necessary in lesson plans.
Some books are available in browsers with Internet access only, such as the "on line" books listed in the Penn State Library "Cat." To click on these links, log in to the library before clicking on the online link. Google Books and the Google Books Project at Penn State are other browser options requiring Internet access.
So as you can see, the question now is not just what to read, but also how.