eBooks by the pool

1 Aug
reads by the sea

reads by the sea, by Joesph Roberts

I spent the last week in Mexico with my family.  (Yes, it is nice having parents that like me enough to take me on vacation with them.)  And, like I do most places, I spent a lot of time observing other people and what they were reading.  On vacation, you can’t creep on people’s bookshelves, but you can surreptitiously walk around the pool to see what everyone else is reading.

Normally, I vacation in Michigan with my extended family.  We all share books, so I’m already familiar with most of what they’re reading by the pool.  (I’m a big fan of bringing bags of books that I’ve read to Christmas and dumping them on the table for people to pick from.  Not the most traditional Christmas presents, I’ll grant you, but no one seems to mind.)

But, this vacation I was in a foreign country with people from all over the world.  I saw people reading books in all kinds of languages.  And, I know that we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but from ten feet away, I can tell a trashy thriller no matter what the language.  It’s something about the font and the design, oh, and the faces that people make while they read them.  People lean in to trashy thrillers way more that they do into business books.

poolside

poolside, by sara sasiak

I brought my iPad with me, thinking I’d give eBooks a real try.  But they had in the water lounge chairs!  And in the water tables for your drinks!  And an in the water bar!  I wasn’t willing to risk damage of the iPad.  (And really, how could I turn down in the water reading and drinks?)  So, my mass market copy of A Storm of Swords and I spent a lot of time together in the pool.  And I got a lovely pink sunburn on my stomach to show for it.

But, I did see a lot of other people trying various eBook readers by the pool.  What I learned?  This whole thing that they don’t glare in the sun is crap.  The amount of people that I saw squished in weird positions with their readers inside their hats told me that much.  It’s hard to look effortlessly chic by the pool when you’re all scrunched down trying to read your eBook.  (Of course, the French people still managed to do it.)

beach kobo

beach kobo by Jennie Faber

However, I did see something very cool that gave eBooks a big +1.  A guy was in the pool reading a book with his reader sitting on the edge.  I said something like, “oh, you better watch out not to get splashed,” and he smiled and dunked it in the pool.  To which I probably made a surprise/horrified face.  Turns out he had put it inside of a clear ziplock bag, which, from the back, I had just taken for some sort of cover that I didn’t recognize.  The touch screen still worked and he could swim around the pool reading his eBook, not worrying if it got wet.  Then I was jealous.

Of course, I hadn’t brought a ziplock bag.  And, my Spanish is only good for ordering a drink and saying “No more tequila, thank you,” so there was no way that I was going to be able to find a ziplock big enough for an iPad in Mexico.  Also, I’m a wuss, so I probably wouldn’t have attempted to bring my iPad in the pool if I had the appropriate bag.

Pool Splash

Pool Splash by Lori L. Stalteri

I love physical books everywhere, but they don’t do very well in the pool.  The amount of times that I’ve had to tell my siblings and cousins (or really, my Dad and uncles) to quit splashing my book probably number in the hundreds.  Next time we all get together, I may need to bring a ziplock and the iPad along and give it a try.

Questions of the day:  What do you read by the pool?  Fiction or Nonfiction?  Trashy or Serious?  Do you bring a physical book or an eBook?  And have you, like the French people that I saw, managed to find a way to look cool while reading an eBook by the pool?


MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

13 Responses to “eBooks by the pool”

  1. travelingmad August 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Nice post! I normally don’t read by the pool. If I do it’s a tabloid to catch up on my celebrity drama. I’m a full time graduate student so I am required to read valuable information for a living (lol).

    If I did have an ebook, I think I’d also wuss out and not take it to the pool in a ziploc bag.

    • Maggie O'Toole August 2, 2011 at 5:25 am #

      Oh, let’s not pretend that I don’t read tabloid magazines by the pool, too. But somehow, “Kim Kardashian is getting married!!!!” is not the kind of thing that I usually right about on here. If I did, I fear that my subscribers would flee.

  2. Melissa August 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I’m addicted to my kindle, and the ziplock just solved big problems!!!!! now I just need to figure out a way to get any device to listen to audiobooks in the pool and I’m all set!

    • Maggie O'Toole August 2, 2011 at 5:24 am #

      Melissa, apparently you are a much braver person than I am. Even seeing someone do it, I’d still freak out the moment the (plastic covered) iPad touched the water.

  3. Morgan Mussell August 1, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Actually, kindles really do have a non-glare screen – I read mine by the pool in full sun without contortions.

    As far as what I read. There was almost a decade when two favorite mystery writers, Tony Hillerman and Elizabeth Peters, would release a new book in April or May, just in time for poolside reading. Hillerman is gone now, and Peters isn’t adding to the series, but they helped me form a really good habit – summer reading is pleasure reading – serious stuff has to wait (at least until I’m indoors and it’s after dark).

    I’m currently reading, “A Game of Thrones,” which I missed when it was published because that was during the time I had sworn off adult fantasy – but that’s another story.

    • Maggie O'Toole August 2, 2011 at 5:22 am #

      I wish I could have gotten close enough to see which types of devices people were reading on, especially the people that were all squished up. But, then again, I was trying to not appear to creepy. But, I’m going to guess that most of them were iPads, based on what I saw people playing with in the lobby and other such places where it was easier to spy on them.

      I also missed the Game of Thrones series when it first came out. I was going through an “I’m too good for fantasy” phase. Of course, now I see how stupid that was. I’m thinking of starting A Wheel of Time once I’ve finished this one. So, check in with me in like two years and I’ll let you know how it goes…

  4. georgettesullins August 2, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    Zip loc bag, huh? Don’t think I want to risk it. But there has to be a market for waterproof e-books, kindles, nooks, etc. I think you’re on to something. Always enjoy your take on technology.

  5. sharingclosetspace August 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Sunday night at a BBQ, my friends and I were having this very same conversation. Of the nine of us, only one has an e-reader. ONE! The rest of us are still holding out. (By the way, I mentioned your recent post on bookstores during the discussion.)

    As for what I read by the pool? Because summer is generally my “light” reading season, my pool-reads are the lightest of the light. This summer, in particular, it’s been a lot of Kate White and Janet Evanovich. I do believe this is a step up from previous summers, which have featured an embarrassing amount of Nicholas Sparks.

    Oh, and I stick my iPhone in a Ziploc at the pool sometimes for poolside protection. But I can’t imagine frolicking in the water with an expensive electronic. That seems irresponsible… 😉

    • Maggie O'Toole August 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

      My phone goes in a ziplock bag a lot. The last one was ruined in a biking/water bottle incident, so I’m not taking any risks with the new one. Smart phones are expensive!

      I have also fallen victim to the Nicholas Sparks guilty pleasure reading. The Notebook was just so good. By the way, have you read The Time Traveler’s Wife? It’s got all the Nicholas Sparks emotional drama, but is also a generally good and thought-provoking book.

      And, I’m glad to hear that I came up at your BBQ. See, if famous!

      • sharingclosetspace August 3, 2011 at 6:50 am #

        I have read The Time Traveler’s Wife! Have you read her newer book, Her Fearful Symmetry? I haven’t yet, but it was a popular grab at my book club’s Christmas book exchange.

  6. Paul Leroux August 11, 2011 at 4:57 am #

    Re trashy book covers: I read a novel once called “Stealing Heaven”. It had the most garish-looking book jacket design I’ve ever seen, absolutely awful. But the book wasn’t trash at all. It was the love story of a monk and a nun (Abelard and Heloise) in the Middle Ages. So you really can’t judge a book by its cover…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. eBooks by the pool « MaggieCakes | Hawaiian Book Reviews - August 2, 2011

    […] read them. People lean in to trashy thrillers way more that they do … … Excerpt from: eBooks by the pool « MaggieCakes ← Rescue and Redeem: Volume 5 Chronicles of the Modern Church […]

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