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Three Thoughts about E-Book vs. Books

Technology has been a staple in my life. I went to college to study Computer Science and for almost a decade, I’ve worked professionally with technology. I value a good innovation. Technology can make tedious or time-consuming tasks quick, interesting, even engaging. But sometimes it gets in the way.

Recently, my family was given Kindle e-book reader. Up to this point, I had held off on the whole e-book trend. Because, as much as I love technology, I didn’t like the medium of a lit screen to do serious reading. As I mentioned in a previous post, I love the smell of a good, real-life, physical book.

But what’s interesting about the Kindle is that because of the technological advances in e-Ink, reading from a Kindle is not nearly as distracting as reading from a monitor or even an iPad. The Kindle screen has a matte finish and technologically seems to disappear from your focus when you start reading. And I’ve begun to rethink my stance on e-book reading.

  1. E-books have come a long way. There was a time when reading something electronically meant staring at a CRT screen with a refresh-rate that you could actually see. And staring at the screen for too long gave you headache. But now, devices like the Kindle or Nook or EReader2000 let you forget that you’re not reading a book.

  2. E-Readers are a great way to get back into reading. If it’s light reading that you’re looking for, an e-reader can be the way to go. The sheer convenience of carrying around the equivalent of a small library in a notebook-sized device is astounding. And if the reading itself isn’t taxing, then e-readers can be a great way to plow through books. Where buying, carrying, and storing books once made reading a chore, there is another option in e-readers.

  3. The medium still matters. I don’t think I’ll ever be fully converted to reading solely on a device rather than a good, old-fashioned book. There is too much invested in the art of books. Typography. Pictures. Paper. Even the tactile response from flipping through chapters to get a feel for where you are. These are all part of what makes a book a book. And though I may read more because of our Kindle, I don’t think I appreciate the book as much. You just can’t bond with an e-book. When you look lovingly at the dogeared pages of a book that has been well-worn, the appeal for an e-book still seems to wane.

I am thankful for technology. I’m thankful that e-readers are encouraging a new generation to engage in the written word. But I hope that it continues to draw people back to the ancient art of ink and paper.