'I'd rather buy the book'

10th March 2006 at 00:00
Caroline Horn: "Icue's system for accessing its technology and bookshop has been made as simple as possible, although my attempts to browse the bookshop using a three-year-old colour Nokia failed: I spent about pound;2 on texts and accessing the internet in the process.

"I had, however, already read part of a book on a mobile. While it took a few minutes to get used to the format and to control the speed of the display, reading one word at a time was easier then I expected. But I missed being able to scan sentences and to glance back over any points I had missed. I do wonder whether comprehension levels will match the process of reading on paper, especially as mobile users are likely to be on the move."

Michael Morrissey: "It looked professional and attractive, but it can't compete with all the other things you can download on your phone: video clips, mp3 files and ringtones. I preferred the Page option where you see about 50 words at once, to the Flicker (one word at a time) and Ticker (words in a horizontal line) options. Even with the Page option I wasn't really concentrating on the words, because you had to keep pressing the button. To be honest, if I was going to spend that money I'd rather buy the book. I can see you might use it for revision of something you'd read already."

Paraic Morrissey: "The Flicker option was the worst. When it was fast you felt like you were skipping words. Even the Page option was annoying. You have to start by selecting a chapter and then scroll through to the page you were on. If you get a call or a text while you are reading you have to go back and select the chapter again. It's a nice idea, but I don't think it will last."

Michael and Paraic Morrissey are in Year 9 at Pimlico School, London borough of Westminster Lucy Steer: "I couldn't access the site with my Motorola, but with my mum's Nokia it was really easy and I downloaded the only free book available, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It took less than a minute to download.

I found it quite hard to read, though, because you had to concentrate to make sure you didn't miss any of it. I concentrated so much on the words that I didn't really think about what I was reading. I tried it for a few minutes but I got a bit bored.

"I also read All About Rachel by Sarah Mlynowski. It took me a couple of minutes to find the right speed to read at so I found I was reading a bit and then going back and reading it again. I found it quite hard to remember what I had read. I tried it for about five minutes, but I don't think I'd manage a whole book."

Lucy Steer is in Year 8 at Tunbridge Wells grammar school TES verdict?

The technology can be frustrating even for a generation living on its phone, especially if parents are paying the bill and have set up a block aimed at other kinds of downloads. The range of books aimed at hard-to-reach teenage boys is small but seems likely to grow.

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