Books vs. e-readers, the jury’s out

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

January 31st, 2012

Kobophoto2

3 comments

In the publishing world, we often anguish about “the future of print.” So it was with a slight sense of guilt that, in January, I bought myself an e-reader. I reasoned that an e-book would be lighter to tote back and forth on my daily commute to work—or anywhere else. And I quickly discovered that I liked the darn thing. I especially liked that I could look up the definitions of words with the click of a button. (Nerd alert!)

Then three things happened.

1. I finished my first e-book ( Ann Patchett’s  State of Wonder). The end seemed to come suddenly, because all the way through I hadn’t been able to tell how far along I was. The reader provides a percentage-completed stat as you go, but it’s just not the same as eyeballing the pages before and after the grocery receipt that normally serves as a bookmark.

2. I couldn’t put the book away. Not because I was particularly attached to it. Not because there was no space on the bookshelf next to Patchett’s first book, the lyrical Bel Canto. I couldn’t shelve it because there was nothing to shelve. I was struck with an unexpected sense of loss. Call it library pride.

3.  I couldn’t loan it to my friends. (See #2 above.)

I’ve now loaded a second book on my e-reader, the lauded Freakonomics which I’ve heard so much about. How far have I read? Hard to say.

There’s much to like about e-readers and good, old-fashioned paper books. Fact is, as a reader, I love them both.

 

 


3 comments

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Penny Caldwell

Summer Cottager

Feb. 15, 2012

11:04 am

Interesting (and troubling) to hear about your changed vision. I haven't heard of any studies that link increased eye problems to e-readers and tablets, but perhaps it's too soon. I would go back to "real" books in a heartbeat it if weren't for the convenience of my e-reader on the GO Train. I miss the feel of the book on the one hand—and knowing when I’m about to finish one. Freakonomics ended very suddenly. But I'm now reading Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone (a ribald, historical, sci-fi romp—yes, I have eclectic taste!). This is a book I had hanging around for months in hardcover and never opened; it was just to big to lug around. So what are you all reading these days?


Beaverbay

Feb. 9, 2012

8:20 pm

I've been reading on my IPAD since the day it came out. Love the convenience But have noticed a few minuses. First, I spend way more now (no more book borrowing), second, less conversation with friends about books (no sharing) and the biggest of all, my eyes have changed dramatically in the last 18 months. I'm not saying it's the only reason but I'm betting it's a contributing factor. Still can't seem to force myself back to more than an occasional paper book. Sigh.


sandblast5

Feb. 4, 2012

4:45 pm

To me there is nothing better than a good old fashioned book when I'm in the mood to read and relax!


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