I love reading. As an only child books were often my companions. I am the child of an avid reader and a reluctant reader. I'm not sure if it is related or not but the avid reader is also an only child, whilst the reluctant reader was one of 6 children. My mother and I used to devour books and visited the local library together regularly. I mostly read novels or autobiographies, I sometimes read business books and I rarely read technical books, preferring to use google as my index and RSS feeds as my table of contents. I can think of no better way of spending a lazy afternoon than curled up with a good book (your definition of good in this context will probably differ to mine).

I read my first ebooks using a palm os based organiser in 2001 whilst travelling in New Zealand, and I read many more whilst commuting after that. I have since read books using a dedicated ebook device, the Cool-er that Richard had, using it as a way to finish off a very large physical book when heading out to Australia in December and found the experience ok - it didn't take long to forget the media and concentrate on the words. I read some classic Agatha Christie using Stanza on my iPod touch. And I've recently read a short novel on my iPhone as my first iBooks experience (it was ok, but getting push alerts was distracting - need to be able to turn them off easily to allow focus to be maintained). I've read pdf photography magazines on the iPad which again was a pleasant experience, and a pdf photography book on the iPhone using the excellent GoodReader (the larger screen size does seem to make magazines more usable). Next up is using the kindle app on the iPhone (although I'm currently reading a paperback so this will have to wait for a while)

Instapaper on the iPhone/iPod touch works well for me for reading longer articles. It allows me to share the article and to share extracts which is really helpful for highlighting a point for discussion and is something that I've been doing increasingly often recently. I have read more articles via instapaper than I think I have using any other app or service. I've written about my use of instapaper before. If, by any chance, you're reading this and don't use it, then go and try it out.

My remaining Issues, which will all become solvable over time I'm sure, are around the idea of sharing, lending and even being gifted books. I often read a novel and then pass it on to friends, and sometimes these books then end up at charity shops to continue their life with someone new.  My Christmas list always contains novels that I'd like to read.  It'll be interesting to experience how my sharing/lending/being gifted process changes with less physical books, will I buy a physical copy for someone I think will appreciate it?  Is there a good way to have an ebook bought for you?  Another item that concerns me is the cost of eBooks. I often buy novels from bookshops as part of a 3 for 2 offer or similar. Looking at the iBooks store I was amazed to discover that for one book I was considering, it actually cost more than it would to walk into a bookstore and buy it at full RRP. This doesn't seem right to me somehow. And it doesn't mean that I value the author's work any less, just that there is a lot less delivery costs involved with getting the content to me, and I expect to see the benefit of some of that. Ben posted a blog post containing similar musings the other day, and because of it I came across the Calibre eBook management software which allows books to be ported from device to device which takes away some of my concern about being tied in to a certain format.

What excites me about the future of eBooks and eReading in general, is the public sharing of meta data. When reading a business book, I tend to make notes in my notebook. If I can highlight the text and annotate it in-line and then share that information, it becomes useful in different ways - firstly as a condensed version of the book content for my own use, but also as a way to promote discussion about the book with a wider audience. For instance, book clubs could become fluid based on who is reading the same book at the same time and is willing to share their annotations and highlights giving greater insight and different points of view.  James Bridle has started some work on this kind of thing with his open bookmarks project. Another person I've recently seen talk (via the excellent and informative Do Lectures videos) about ebooks and publishing generally is Craig Mod. Both of these people blog, and both of these blogs are in my RSS feed now.

I've added a Kindle to my Christmas list, so hopefully I'll have an ebook reader of my own to read with soon and can start contributing my own bookmarks, annotations and the like and compare it to the use of the various apps on the iPhone. Watch this space.