Friday, April 6, 2012

An article on e-readers and reading habits

Here. What amused me were the comments:

"I read a book on an ebook and found myself wondering 'what is up with this author and his lack of spelling'? Turns out there was a glitch in the download and words got misspelled. And with that, I am now comfortably back with the real thing and the look/feel of REAL pages."

Oh, come now. If you come across a print book with a bunch of typos, are you going to give up reading print books? Of course not. That's just an excuse, and a rather poor one. Print books aren't more "real" than ebooks; they're just a different format.

"Much of what attracts people to the e-reader is novelty. When that wears off, it will be interesting to see if people don't return to the book: a format that can be engaged on the terms selected by the reader, rather than having the format dictated. Besides, the more bookish an e-reader gets, the more popular it is. Books have no batteries, are impervious to EMP and battery failure, and though they can be hurt by water, are not necessarily ruined. The e-reader is a social badge, and once that wears off, the e-reader will go the way of myspace."

Battery failure isn't much of a problem with eInk, and I haven't had problems with my iPhone, either-- I just plug the thing in every night. I haven't ruined any of my four e-readers or my iPhone with water, either (though I confess I did drop one off a table and ruin it-- there's no denying that they are fragile enough to require care, just like any other electronic device).

But this "novelty" argument is getting sillier and sillier as we go on. It was one thing to make that assertion when the first Kindle came out... at that point you could reasonably have argued that maybe it was just a novelty, and there was no way of knowing for certain that it would catch on. But now, with almost half of Americans reading on the things? E-readers are not just cute little toys, and they are not just going away. Dedicated e-readers may in fact eventually pass into history, but people will continue reading on their smartphones and tablets. If you read a lot, it's so much easier to carry a huge library with you on a small device.

"I read a lot, probably more than the average reader. Reading to me means printed words on pages, a front and back cover, and enjoyment. I for one, will never follow the E-Sheep down this road."

That's nice. Reading to the rest of us means... reading. I come across comments like this frequently on forums, and I don't really understand them. Stick with "printed words on pages" if you like, but kindly don't denigrate the rest of us. Alas, some people seem to think reading ebooks is no different from playing video games.

My favorite incident of this came when I complained on a forum that the book being touted wasn't available in Kindle, and someone posted nastily in response, "Why don't you pick up a REAL book every now and again?" I answered that I had seven thousand print books and a room dedicated to them, as well as bookshelves in every bedroom and my kitchen. He didn't comment again:-).

And someone answered quite well on the thread: "Why on earth you would denigrate people using a technology that is causing them to read MORE, is truly beyond me. We have been lamenting the fact that Americans are reading less for years... if this gets more people reading, so be it."

Yep. I'm happy to see articles like this one. Whether they're reading on papyrus scrolls or iPads doesn't really matter. Yay for more people reading!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it doesn't really matter if we read eBooks or printed books as long as you enjoy this activity.
    I got my favorite titles from All you can books... I found out about this site randomly from a friend who loves to read a lot and he knows many useful things regarding this subject.