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Fri Nov 16, 2012, 09:37 AM

E-reading isn’t reading.......

Interesting article in Slate.

Out of Touch
E-reading isn’t reading.
Slate.com
By Andrew Piper Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012


However much electronic books may try to look like their printed brethren, they still change how we manually interact with them and those changes matter for how we read. There are, for starters, no longer any pages to turn. There is no density to the e-book (all is battery), which is incidentally one of its greatest selling points. Open books can be measured by the sliding scale of pages past and future, like steps, just off to the side of the page. What lies after the digital page? An abyss. No matter what the page number says (and depending on which screen you’re reading it will say different things), we have no way to corroborate this evidence with our senses, no idea where we are while we read. Instead of turning the page, we now have the button, at least for a little while longer. The hand no longer points, and thus cognitively and emotionally reaches for something it cannot have (like Michelangelo’s famous finger), it presses or squeezes. The mechanical pressure that gave birth to the printed book in the form of the wooden handpress is today both vastly reduced in scale and multiplied in number through our interactions with the digital. There is a punctuatedness, a suddenness, but also a repetitiveness to pressing buttons that starkly contrast with the sedate rhythms of the slowly turned page. Buttons convert human motion into an electrical effect. In this, they preserve the idea of “conversion” that was at the core of reading books for Augustine. But in their incessant repetitiveness the meaning of conversion is gradually hollowed out. It is made less transformative.


Buttons also resist. Over time, their use causes stress to the human body, known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Like its related postural malady, “text neck,” these syndromes are signs of how computation is beginning to stretch us, both cognitively and corporally. The resistance of the button is an intimation of the way technology increasingly seems to be pushing back.


Perhaps it is for this reason that we are moving away from the world of the button to that of the touch screen. From the ugly three-dimensionality of the mechanical apparatus we ascend to the fantasy of existing in only two dimensions, a world of the single, yet infinite page. Here the finger no longer converts, but conducts. With capacitive touch screens your finger alters the screen’s electrostatic field thereby conveying a command. Instead of pressing to turn the page, we now swipe. Kinesthesia, the sense of bodily movement, overrides the book’s synesthesia, its unique art of conjoining touch, sight, and thought into a unified experience. In an electronic environment, corporal action overtakes reading’s traditional inaction.


http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2012/11/reading_on_a_kindle_is_not_the_same_as_reading_a_book.single.html


I have to admit that I much prefer reading a book than I do reading on my Kindle. I like my Kindle for travel but at home I much prefer a book. A book is comforting.

What about you guys?

58 replies, 4476 views

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Arrow 58 replies Author Time Post
Reply E-reading isn’t reading....... (Original post)
Little Star Nov 2012 OP
Skinner Nov 2012 #1
Little Star Nov 2012 #2
TreasonousBastard Nov 2012 #3
antiquie Nov 2012 #4
dmallind Nov 2012 #5
mythology Dec 2012 #40
dmallind Jan 2013 #44
Lydia Leftcoast Nov 2012 #6
Little Star Nov 2012 #7
jp11 Nov 2012 #8
SheilaT Nov 2012 #9
Curmudgeoness Nov 2012 #10
fadedrose Nov 2012 #12
SheilaT Nov 2012 #20
Curmudgeoness Nov 2012 #21
SheilaT Nov 2012 #22
getting old in mke Nov 2012 #23
SheilaT Nov 2012 #24
getting old in mke Nov 2012 #25
SheilaT Nov 2012 #26
getting old in mke Nov 2012 #27
dmallind Jan 2013 #45
getting old in mke Nov 2012 #11
Little Star Nov 2012 #13
Lex Nov 2012 #14
CaliforniaHiker Nov 2012 #15
SheilaT Nov 2012 #16
Lex Nov 2012 #28
SheilaT Nov 2012 #29
Jim__ Nov 2012 #17
closeupready Nov 2012 #18
Mz Pip Nov 2012 #19
pscot Nov 2012 #30
DisgustipatedinCA Dec 2012 #31
SheilaT Dec 2012 #32
fadedrose Dec 2012 #33
SheilaT Dec 2012 #34
Little Star Dec 2012 #35
getting old in mke Dec 2012 #36
SheilaT Dec 2012 #37
getting old in mke Dec 2012 #38
Little Star Dec 2012 #39
Xyzse Dec 2012 #41
SheilaT Jan 2013 #42
Xyzse Jan 2013 #43
japple Jan 2013 #46
Paladin Jan 2013 #47
Little Star Jan 2013 #48
getting old in mke Jan 2013 #49
closeupready Jan 2013 #50
Little Star Jan 2013 #51
getting old in mke Jan 2013 #52
SheilaT Jan 2013 #54
getting old in mke Jan 2013 #55
SheilaT Jan 2013 #56
getting old in mke Jan 2013 #57
gollygee Jan 2013 #53
LWolf Jan 2013 #58

Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 09:53 AM

1. I much prefer reading on my kindle than reading a real book.

The first and most important reason is that since I was a child had this problem that I would be deterred by the thickness of a book -- either the total thickness, or the amount of book remaining -- which just seemed like an insurmountable challenge. E-reading has completely removed that artificial barrier to reading. I no longer spend any time thinking about how big of a challenge or how much time and effort will be involved, so I can just focus on reading. Now I can just enjoy the moment rather than thinking about the "work" involved. Since I got my kindle, I have read a number of 1000+ page books, which is something I never did in the past.

Another reason I love my kindle is that I can have my books with me all the time. If I don't have my actual kindle, at least I will have my phone with me so I can even read in the line at the grocery store.

I probably read twice or three times as much now than I did with hard-copy books.

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Response to Skinner (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 10:14 AM

2. In my life there is room for both....

I love my Kindle for travel (no lugging of books) and I also like it for Doctor visits, etc.

I don't have a smart phone but your points are a plus in the e-book column.

I have to say that I don't care to read hard 'cover' books because I have always found them hard to hold (I like to lay down when I read, the couch is my favorite place, lol) I wait until the book comes out in paperback.





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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 10:17 AM

3. Well, I've been reading books for over 60 years, so of course...

old habits die hard and books are old friends I hate to lose. My father taught me to read with Golden Books, so it's a long relationship that I hate to think is over.

But, writing a letter, folding it, and the taste of the glue on the stamp and envelope flap are kind of fond memories, too, but who does that any more? And who really likes dealing with folding a newspaper as you read it, even though most of them have that new ink that doesn't end up on your fingers?

Some books, like the 600 page autobiography of Mark Twain, are really pain to read-- heavy, fat, and it's tough to find a comfortable position to hold them. Fuhgeddabout reading it in bed. Much better on my Nook. Others take up a lot of space I don't have now-- the complete works of Dickens and all the Oz books. A lot of stuff, like St. Augustine's, is in the public domain and I can download it for free and store it in a tiny corner of of a microchip. And I don't have to deal with folding the NY Times, even though I can no longer drool at the lingerie ads in the Sunday magazine. The Times, btw, now costs 20 bucks a month rather than 20 bucks a week.

And fewer trees are killed-- a small side benefit.

Yeah, even though it's tougher to write in the margins, I'll keep my Nook and the 235 books I may never finish in its chip.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)


Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 10:43 AM

5. Reading has fuck all to do with your fingers.

Bombastic pseuds have been parroting this tripe for years and e-books continue to expand in number exponentially, overtaking "real" books this year, and doubtless within a few decades relegating them to curiosities like scrolls are to us.

What is a "real" book? Does paper and glue and ink constitute a book? No. The essence of a book is one thing and one thing alone - the words. Words that on a screen can take on a different size or font to suit your needs or preference. Words that can be stored many thousandfold on an e-book compared to dead trees, meaning I have at my fingertips any of the (at the moment) 1547 works, wherever I go in a form that never creases or tears and is never awkward to hold open at the page you need. Words that can be illuminated from behind to make a tired spouse less cranky. Words that remember where you left off no matter how many books you are reading at the same time.

I know it's trendy to pretend that "real" books have some amazing and essential tactile or aesthetic properties, but that's bullshit. The crap you tear off a Xmas gift and throw away? The market-driven packaging on nigh everything we buy,that gorges landfills and litters streets? The junk mail that you sneer at and recycle without reading? Made of exactly the same shit as "real" books, and often in the very same "conjoining synaesthesia" (pompous twaddle) form.

If the vital essence of a book to you is anything but the words, you are not using it correctly.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 08:28 PM

40. I strongly disagree

To me a book does require the physical pages. I can read articles on a computer, but I've never felt like I got lost in a book I've read online. To me reading a book on a computer screen is like watching the colorized version of It's a Wonderful Life. Sure you can, but I think it makes the movie much worse. Likewise I think reading a book on a computer makes it worse.

To each their own. It's not that I'm a luddite as I have 6 or 7 computers and a tablet, but I use computers for different things. Plus I love going to a bookstore and just browsing. I've never found a good substitute for that experience online.

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Response to mythology (Reply #40)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 12:55 PM

44. Tortured analogy at best

Reading words on a screen and on a page does not change the words in the slightest. Colorizing a visual image changes that image dramatically. I can't say I'd care either way about a cheesy movie myself, but if, say, a Titian was redone in neon, the intent and nature of the essence of the work - its visual appeal - would be changed. This is absolutely not the case with the essence of a book - the words - when they appear in different media.

Your subjective experience is of course yours, but makes little objective sense and smacks of conditioning more than aesthetics or function. What in the world can paper do to transmit recognizable signs that pixels cannot? In fact it can do far less - you cannot change the font or size on a printed page. Books exist to display words, which in turn create a mental image in the reader's brain. Whether they use ink or dots of light to display words makes no difference to the words themselves, or the image they create.

Browsing? Why would that be any different on an e-reader, especially with a huge number of free e-book sites available from Gutenberg OOP classics to torrent sites to new author freebies. I don't have to rely on a bookstore having stock, or put up with driving to one. I don't object to physical books in the slightest. Have hundreds, have had hundreds more; but unless I have some yen in the future for a big glossy coffee table vanity-piece I'll likely not buy another, and I manage to get "lost" in the nook versions quite easily. Now my subjective experience means as little to you as yours does to me obviously enough, but from the first I found the lighter, more powerful, more capacious and more efficient way of displaying words far superior in both function and aesthetics. My eyes read; my brain reads. My fingers just don't have any damn say in it and I'm not sure how anybody's could have.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:14 AM

6. I like both

My bedside books are all paper.

My purse books are all electronic and therefore easily portable, no matter how long they are.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:45 AM

7. And then there's this: print vs. eBooks for kids..

From KidsScreen:

As the popularity of digital book reading continues to grow, especially with younger ages, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center has conducted a new study that explores the differences in the way parents and their preschool-age children (three to six) interact when reading print books, basic eBooks and enhanced eBooks together.


Read more: http://kidscreen.com/2012/05/29/new-study-examines-print-vs-ebooks-for-kids/#ixzz2CP9EyI4X


Read The Cooney Center's full report here:

http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/Reports-35.html

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 02:37 PM

8. I didn't read the whole piece

I didn't agree with the premise, didn't see the author make a good case for it and I often lose interest when an agenda is beaten over my head especially if I find it flawed/disagree/etc.

I loved reading books as a kid but I don't see any of the drawbacks when reading on my e-readers, they all have touchscreens I can swipe or use buttons. I don't get lost by not holding my finger to a line or word, I don' t think that's happened to me since I was very young. I like that large books aren't so big I can only read them from a certain angle or where I'd need two hands to break the spine so I could see with whatever light was available. There is no pain in holding an e-reader with one arm/hand compared to a heavy book or having to hold it open with an awkward finger depressed in the middle to keep pages from bunching up in the middle.

I'd add I don't really miss paper as in having my sweaty fingers/hands stick to them or feel my spine cringe on touching some really dry paper. It is nice not to worry if I'm bending the spine, getting the book dirty, or on the rare occasion cutting my fingers on pages. I don't miss seeing through cheap paperback pages when I'm reading on my back and I let my death grip on the pages loose enough that a single page is between me and the light above.

Some books just are superior as paper bound objects, many visual pieces, science/technical books, etc I think are better in paper cause you can see two pages at once which may be a single image/graph/etc but primary text stories are better on an e-reader at least for me. I will continue to buy the paper books where that is an advantage and e-books where that is better. Not too long from now dual screen e-readers will be more affordable with color and better battery options that some more books might be appealing to have in that format.

I loved reading the adventures and stories I went through when I was younger but e-readers have removed many negative aspects that just weren't valued or appreciated by me. The story is what a book is about for me not the medium, in many cases I prefer the newer medium over lugging around paper books. I'm happy if I have good lighting, a comfortable place to sit/lay down, and some quiet from there I'd rather have my e-reader than a paper book in most situations.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 04:42 PM

9. One of the things I like a great deal about traditional books is that

I can see where my bookmark is, or where I'm open to, and I know how much more I have to read.

I also like how quickly I can flip back to a previous page to double-check or reread something. Recently, because I'm a writer, I got a couple of baby name books. I definitely flip through them in a way that would be impossible to do in an e-reader version.

I'm also wondering what's going to happen when they tweak the technology on the e-readers, and now all of the books you could read need to be purchased again. Or, when the power goes out long enough for the batteries to die. Or the simple degradation that really does happen with digital technology.

The old-fashioned books will still be there.

I have so far not been even remotely tempted by e-readers.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 04:46 PM

10. I have to admit that I have not tried e-reading,

so I cannot be fair to Kindles and Nooks....but there is a reason that I have not tried them. I love books. Paper books. Turning pages. Seeing my progress.

And I hate reading anything on my computer....I do it all the time because there is so much information available online that I want to read, but I hate it. I don't like having to move the scroll all the time, I don't like the way they are lit, and I can't get as comfortable with my computer. This is a lot of why I haven't been tempted to get electronic book devices.

And some of the argument about wasted resources to make books don't hold water. My books get passed around to everyone I know, then they will go to the library for used book sales (and that is where they come from to begin with). Or I borrow books from the library. E-books still have to use electricity, and there are resources used to produce that electricity as well. And it is my understanding that you cannot pass e-books around to your friends (but I don't know this for sure).

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 08:12 PM

12. Me neither & me too....

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:39 AM

20. Yes. One huge drawback to the ereaders is that

you can't finish a book and then pass it on to someone else. I gather that it can be possible to download to several different ereaders from one download, but that's still a limited number of downloads, compared to the almost unlimited number of people who can read one physical book.

Plus, as I keep on pointing out, if there's a long-lasting power failure your ereader won't work anymore. And if there's ever an EMT. Or, if they decide to change the formatting in some way, you'll need to buy a new ereader and then re-download everything. Meanwhile, the old physical books keep on being readable. Without needing a power source. Without worrying if they'll change the formatting.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:41 PM

21. I had never thought of formatting changes,

but I have to laugh at how many times I have had to buy my favorite music. First album (that did last a long time), then 8-track, then cassette, then CD's----and that is where I am stuck, I don't know what is newer now, just that there is a newer way to do it.

I thought more about this, and I have decided that it has to do with how I work all day on a computer, then I read things online when I am done. When I really want to relax, I do not want it to be more electronics.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #21)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:09 AM

22. You should be thinking about it.

It's going to happen. Maybe it has already and I'm not aware of it, since I don't have an e-reader. But if it hasn't it will.

Oh, and don't the different e-readers use different formatting? I suppose that doesn't matter, since you can't pass the electronic version of the book on to someone else short of actually handing them your device. But the permanence of real books is undeniable.

I really, really hate it that whenever I go to Amazon all they are doing is plugging their own e-reader, as if no one out there is primitive enough to be reading the old-fashioned paper books. That's what bugs me the most, the attempt to force all of us to the electronic version. When that happens, it might actually be possible to destroy all copies of a book that only exists electronically. That's another thing that should have people just a little concerned.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:47 AM

23. I'll give you long term power failure

but if power is out for more than the two weeks my nook lives, I've got a lot more problems than reading...I sleep with a CPAP.

The rest depends on comfort level with technology.

If you are comfortable, then sharing a book is not hard. Calibre, free and open-source for those who care about such things, converts the formats readily, including out-dated ones from obsolescent readers. It does require learning the program, which is admittedly more work than handing a book to someone, but on the other hand, I can now send books as email attachments (they are rarely more than 250K) to my family in Germany, which is harder with a physical volume. Earlier this year I was reading through a series of books that was only available in an old Palm-Pilot format, and just converted it through drag and drop into the epub format my nook wants without having to tell Calibre anything--it knows nooks and pretty much any other reader and what formats they prefer. And even if not, then it's a right click to tell it which format to change to.

If you're going to remove DRM from purchased books, as easy as dragging and dropping the file onto your Calibre screen if you have the plugins installed, you'll need to decide where your ethical boundaries lies with respect to lending them. Since eBooks are still priced pretty closely to physical books, certainly for newer releases, I have no qualms about lending them to individuals. I certainly wouldn't put them out to the torrent-verse though. And sources like Project Gutenberg, or the University of Virginia, or University of Adelaide which house large eBook collections will certainly keep up on the various formats.

I'm not saying that eBooks are the way to go for everyone--as I mentioned above, I consume large quantities of ink on paper books--just that there are no particular reasons not to include them in a balanced reading diet. You may choose not to include it, but that's simply a personal preference, not a drawback of the platform.

Of course, you can only lend books to folks with an eReader or computer, whereas a physical book can go to anyone. Still, for me, I spend maybe half a dozen hours with a book, give or take, and for 99%, never re-read and for most don't lend, either because they were from the library in the first place or my friends and relations read other things. My wife and I share some tastes, so maybe 20% get shared with her. If I become an evangelist for a book (_Peace Is Every Step_ by Thich Nhat Hahn and _Hook and Jill_ by Andrea Jones), I buy the physical book many times over as a less avoidable reminder for those around me Physical definitely rules there.

But given my lack of re-reading, what I'm interested in is a one time transfer from the author's brain of story and language into my brain. I'm no more interested whether HOW it gets there is ink on paper or bytes on a screen than I am in whether the author wrote it out long-hand, dictated it, or used a computer.

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Response to getting old in mke (Reply #23)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:11 AM

24. Thank you for that information.

But even though you're saying, Oh sharing e-books is so easy, you described a series of downloading files and so on that is a whole lot more complex than handing over a book.

And what is DRM in the 4th paragraph?

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #24)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:05 AM

25. DRM = Digital Rights Management

Little extra present from Amazon and Barnes & Noble that attempts to keep the books from being opened on a device they don't know about. Similar to copy protection on movies and stuff like that. I have no qualms about removing it for myself since I purchased them in the first place. It's one of the places that there will continue to be strife between the big retailers and users until pricing structure changes. If they priced the books much lower, but paid the authors up front and called it a rental instead of a purchase? Anyway, I'm sure it will shake out over time.

These days I buy many more books new (physical or online) than I used to. I go to cons (as I know you do, too) and readings and such and have gotten to know and like the authors of what I read as people instead of names, so if I can I try to buy in a format that will give them income, so on-line stores or new book stores instead of used book stores and libraries. The latter two get visited often enough anyway, but I like to at least take a moment to think about whether I can afford this week to help keep a writer working a bit more directly.

Plus, it's hard to get a nook signed, and tacky to get a library book signed

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Response to getting old in mke (Reply #25)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:09 PM

26. You know, it might be amusing to get library books signed.

Just imagine, down the road, the next person to check out the book sees the signature. And don't have the author personalize it to you, but to all the readers of the library book.

That would be a hoot.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #26)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:40 PM

27. WOW! Yes!

I think Mystery One has Ian Rankin and Robert Crais coming up in January for signings...

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 01:07 PM

45. Of course you can. An e-book is just a computer file.

It can be downloaded onto a flash drive. It can be emailed. Most text-only books are quite trivial memory-wise even.

Now do the publishers and authors want you to do this? No - but they want to sell another copy to the friend to whom you loaned your dead tree too, so the harm to them is identical - a lost sale.

I have all mine backed up on my hard drive. Worries about lost/damaged e-books are minimal even without this, as since as long as the record of my purchase exists I get all the books reloaded automatically on a new device (how else would they sell you the next best model?). Try doing that with torn or water damaged paper. Batteries dying is also immaterial. When your laptop battery dies is your hard drive wiped?

Now sure it's possible that Barnes and Noble and Project Gutenberg and my hard drive and my cloud back up service ALL go belly up. Then, assuming there is absolutely no access to another computer anywhere to back up my nook SD card AND the nook itself dies all at the same time then I'm SOL. Now is that more or less likely than a house fire or leaking roof?

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 06:08 PM

11. I do about 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3

Physical, nook, and unabridged audio. I'm not as prolific a reader as some here, but it still makes about 50 of each a year.

I buy physical books for a) authors to sign; b) to support a local indy bookstore; c) for tech books--never try to read a code listing in an e-reader; or d) out of habit.

I buy e-Books a) to quickly get the next book in the series; b) to support authorial friends who are only doing e-Book publishing; or c) out of ease.

I use the library for both types. In addition to the library, there are lots and lots of sources on-line for free books, starting with Project Gutenberg and working out from there. Anytime I'm looking for something pre-1930, that's my first stop.

I have one of the nook glow model that can be side-lit if you wish--before that I had one of the original nooks. The e-ink screens for nook or Kindle (I'm talking about the non-color, non-backlit versions) are to my eyes superior to ink on paper now, with the added plus that at the end of the day I can pop the size up a bit. I know the newer paperback form factor (you know, the bit taller, bit skinnier) allows for more white space on the pager for baby-boomer eye-ease, but sometime's it's still too damn small. The glow I only use occasionally--my wife sleeps easily with my bedside light on. On the other hand, I'm more restless, so she reads hers in the dark more. My non-backlit one goes for a couple weeks easily between charges. She has a nook tablet and thus, backlit, it needs much more regular charging.

Ironically, since one of the guy's points was worrying about carpal tunnel (or was that a comment), I got my wife her nook because of carpal tunnel. She could no longer comfortably hold a physical book for extended periods of time. It's a lot easier to shift a nook around. It's been an absolute godsend for her--someone who had always read several books a week that had pretty much stopped.

I also went and rooted my nook, so in addition to the B&N software, I run Kindle for Android and Overdrive for Android, so I can buy epubs (nook) or mobi (Amazon) or download directly from the library (Overdrive) without needing to use Adobe Digital Editions or Calibre to transfer the book to the reader. (Yes, I love Calibre for lots of things, but it's nice, too, to be able to download directly when I'm not near my laptop.)

The biggest drawback for me with e-Books is direct access to locations, otherwise known as "flipping through the book." E-Books can only take you to a specific page (nook), percentage read (kindle), or bookmark that you were prescient enough to set ahead of time knowing you'd be looking for the spot later (both, but NEVER happens for me )

It's true that you don't know how far you are or how far you have to go by feel, but a screen tap will show you a progress bar. Sharing depends entirely on the source of the book. It also depends on with whom. For DRM-free files, it's easy to share for anyone. For our family, the nooks are hooked up to one B&N account, so anything there for one is available for all. My smartphone has nook and kindle installed, too, and location is kept in sync between the devices. That's for reading emergencies, though.

All of that said, our house is still overflowing with books v1.0 and we never, ever have had enough bookshelves and don't have the creativity to build easy chairs out of them...

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Response to getting old in mke (Reply #11)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 08:15 PM

13. Oh, I forgot about audio books....

When I was working I had about a 45 minute commute one way depending on traffic. It was mostly highway driving. I loved to listen to audio books while I drove and over the years I listened to quite a few books. Audio books are great!

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:34 PM

14. I am far more comfortable reading my Kindle than a regular book.

And the Kindle is better on my eyes. I have the basic Kindle with the e-ink.

Books can be heavy, or clumsy to hold, or a struggle to read the pages (inside near the binding if it's a paperback).



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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:48 PM

15. Why would we have to choose?

Reading is reading, whether it is done with a paper book, an ebook reader, or even on a computer screen. I can absorb a story equally well which ever way I choose. The big plus side for paper books, for me, is not the feel, or the aesthetics, it is the fact that I can buy them used for cheap. Being able to pay a dollar or two for a good book is great. Ebooks have the benefit of being convenient, and they are wonderful for saving space. There is the benefit of being able to read public domain books for free via ebooks as well.

I say we should embrace books and reading in whatever form they take.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:17 AM

16. Here's something else to consider.

Although maybe it belongs somewhere else, and not in a discussion about ereaders.

A while back I was lamenting not being able to find physical copies of old Life Magazines. And someone here helpfully gave me the URL where I could read them, since they've been digitized and can be read online.

WONDERFUL was my first thought. And then I went to the site.

Has anyone here ever actually held and read the old original Life Magazines? The were in a large format, greater than 11x14, I'm thinking. And a lot of their photographs covered two pages. Which means, in the digital format, you can look at one half, and then the other half of the photograph. Not the same impact. Plus, you cannot possibly look at the entire page of any page of Life Magazine all at once. You look at it in portions. It is so totally not the same experience as the original magazine as to reduce me to helpless weeping.

Digital formats are not the same as the original. Think about that for a bit. Go somewhere and find an old issue of Life Magazine, just in case you are so young you've never seen them before. I'll wait while you do that.


...

...


...

...

...

Do you see now how very different that is from the ereader version?

While there is nothing inherently wrong with ebooks -- and I can certainly understand their appeal -- it is NOT the same as the original of all kinds of things, and you are being seriously delusional if you think that they can always substitute for the original.

If I were going off on a long space voyage, and therefore real books were not a very practical thing to pack, then I'd happily download all sorts of books to take with me. But it's important to understand that ebooks are not a straightforward substitute for regular books in all circumstances.

On a lighter note, I have long enjoyed this:

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 10:48 PM

28. However you were able to get to the digitized version of the Life magazines

whereas it sounds like you were getting nowhere trying to find the original magazines.

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Response to Lex (Reply #28)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:05 PM

29. Admittedly, I wasn't looking that hard.

But I looked at one issue of digital Life and have not bothered to go back. For me, they are simply impossible to read that way, because they came in a format that's extremely incompatible with digital.

At least regular books will generally translate well to any kind of digital reading. Certainly anything that is strictly text will be just fine on an e-reader. I happen to read a lot of non-fiction, and a lot of what I read will have photos or maps, some of which are spread out over two pages. I bet looking at them digitally presents the same problems as the old Life Magazines.

And those books we call coffee-table books. Although, I suppose even the most devoted e-reader won't try to read one of them that way.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:21 AM

17. Does e-reading serve any real purpose?

I am sure it does to us. The article definitely got a few things right.

Amid the seemingly endless debates today about the future of reading, there remains one salient, yet often overlooked fact: Reading isn’t only a matter of our brains; it’s something that we do with our bodies. Reading is an integral part of our lived experience, our sense of being in the world, even if at times this can mean feeling intensely apart from it. How we hold our reading materials, how we look at them, navigate them, take notes on them, share them, play with them, even where we read them—these are the categories that have mattered most to us as readers throughout the long and varied history of reading. They will no doubt continue to do so into the future.

Understanding reading at this most elementary level—at the level of person, habit, and gesture—will be essential as we continue to make choices about the kind of reading we care about and the kind of technologies that will best embody those values. To think about the future of reading means, then, to think about the long history of how touch has shaped reading and, by extension, our sense of ourselves while we read.


Yes, everything we do is physical and the physical aspects play an important role in the experience. Eugene O'Neill wrote his plays in long hand. When he was older, he got arthritis in his hands and he couldn't write that way any more. People tried to get him to type - he was physically able to do that - but he said he couldn't adjust his process to typing. When electronic word processing came along, many old time writers stayed with their typewriters - the typewriter was an integral part of their process. So, yes, for many of us who grew up with books, the book is an integral part of reading. We may never adjust to e-books.

The article is also right about the book being a technology:

No other passage has more profoundly captured the meaning of the book than this one. Not just reading but reading books was aligned in Augustine with the act of personal conversion. Augustine was writing at the end of the fourth century, when the codex had largely superseded the scroll as the most prevalent form of reading material. We know Augustine was reading a book from the way he randomly accesses a page and uses his finger to mark his place. The conversion at the heart of The Confessions was an affirmation of the new technology of the book within the lives of individuals, indeed, as the technology that helped turn readers into individuals. Turning the page, not turning the handle of the scroll, was the new technical prelude to undergoing a major turn in one’s own life.


A technology for transmitting information to people across vast expanses of time and space. It gave people a tremendous advantage over older forms of learning where direct contact with a teacher was necessary. But, e-reading begs the question. With the ability to transmit information electronically, why transmit it alphabetically? Electronics gives us the ability to transmit the information directly through spoken word and visual image.

For us, a generation reared on reading, the book will always be necessary. Will it be necessary for future generations? I doubt it. Electronic transmission of information gives us a more powerful tool than the alphabet for conveying information - direct transmission of the spoken word and visual image.


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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:10 PM

18. I love books - I love how they feel, making a crease in their spines,

and reading some older titles that aren't on Kindle.

But some titles, like Alice in Wonderland or Huckleberry Finn, are perfect for e-reading. You can have a pretty hard copy for the bookshelf and read the free e-version anywhere you can take your Kindle.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:26 PM

19. I love my NOOK

I probably read more now that I have the NOOK than before. I also read thicker books since my arthritis made it difficult for me to hold them.

I think the author is stretching it here. I really don't find swiping across a NOOK that different than turning a page, except for me it's easier.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 09:17 AM

30. I like the Kindle for stuff not available in print

and it's certainly a lot kinder to my arthritic mitts than an 800 page door stop, but I still prefer books.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:39 PM

31. I'm in my 40's, and I love my Nook

I started e-reading with my iPad. And although I love my iPad, it's too heavy for my style of reading, which often takes the form of me laying in bed on my back, with my book at arms' length. So I got a black and white Nook (with glow light), and it's great. I like standard books too, but I don't have room in my house for thousands of them. I do have plenty of room on my Nook, however.

Someone mentioned concerns about different book formats. What if you purchase books from B&N Nook, but then get a Kindle? Calibre is the answer to that problem. It's free software, just google Calibre (spelled the UK way). It's really about the best open source software I've ever used for any reason, and among other things it does, it freely converts between epub, mobi, prc, and other popular ereader formats. It will also "crack" the DRM on your books...I'm not recommending people do anything illegal here. Rather, if you have the Nook but want the Kindle, etc, you can apply this crack to a book you've already paid for and convert it to any format you'd care to use, including the mobi format that will be required for your new Kindle.

There's something about ebook readers that makes me read faster. I don't know what it is, but anecdotally, I know I've read more in the last year and a half than I did in the 10 years prior to that. I just end up reading more, and reading faster. Also, in case anyone is curious, the same thing happens with good books whether I'm reading them electronically or old style: I get lost in the book. I forget all considerations of electronic vs analog. You can still get lost in a good book, electronically.

Final note: PDF's suck on black and white ereaders. I still use my iPad for PDF's.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 03:41 PM

32. Another problem with an ereader is going

to be children's picture books.

A lot of them are in very oddball sizes, which simply won't work on any of the standard ereaders. Not to mention, the pleasure of actually turning the page to see what comes next.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 05:52 PM

33. Or quickly turning pages to see if a specific character will appear again..

nt

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #33)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:58 AM

34. Smiley face here.

As I look back over this thread, I realize that my personal problem with ereaders is twofold. One, that I am very concerned that real books will disappear because of things like Amazon, who push their ereader on their front page in a way that makes a person feel as though that's the only possible way to read books. The other is a deeper concern that the format will change, and we'll all have to buy new ereaders to continue reading. It's like how we first bought vinyl records (I know, some of you have no clue what they are) and then we bought 8-tracks or cassette tapes, and then we bought CD's. Now, a lot of music is only available in a computer download. What a shame for some of us.

If books only exist in an electronic format, how in credibly easy will it be to erase a book? For years now we've had movies that portray the paranoid fantasy that someone's very existence can be erased. I always scoff at those, but if we move to a completely digital world, those fantasies could well become reality.

Here's another issue I have not seen discussed here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/e-reader-privacy-law-enforcement-fbi

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #34)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:31 AM

35. Thanks for the link to the MJ article. Loss of privacy should enter into the conversation.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:23 AM

36. Interesting article

Richard Stallman's take (for you GNU geeks out there): http://stallman.org/ebooks.pdf

Personally, as a sense of scale, e-reading records don't worry me too much--there is waaaaay more information to be gleaned from me with every text, every call, every web visit, and every posting potentially feeding into the machine. Sort of like dressing in black and lying down at midnight in the middle of a busy street, looking at the sky and worrying about being hit by a meteor...

Unrelated to e-reading, but an interesting read, e- or otherwise, is David Brin's book _The Transparent Society_. It's getting on in age now--technology advances, but his thought process is still worth following.

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Response to getting old in mke (Reply #36)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:15 PM

37. The claim is made that our government is continually

eavesdropping on telephone conversations and combing through billions of emails looking for key words that will make them examine such things more closely, ostensibly to catch terrorists. I have always had my doubts about their ability to go through the billions and billions of such things that happen every single day. But I'm not conversant with the current technology.

I can tell you that back in the 1960's, when I was a telephone operator, there was a persistent rumor both out in the real world and within Ma Bell itself, that the phone company had back offices where people constantly listened in on phone calls. I always thought that was utter nonsense, both from my understanding of what the technology was back then, and the sheer numbers of people who would have been needed to monitor any number of phone calls. That's why tapping a specific phone, whether done legally or otherwise, can be useful, although again monitoring it is tedious.

I suppose with current technology and computers, seeking out specific words or phrases is doable, but even then the actual listening or reading of the communications is not going to happen in real time.

I had not heard of the Brin book, and unfortunately, my library doesn't have it, and I've never mastered how they do interlibrary loan. I wonder if anyone has written on that topic more recently.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:57 PM

38. David Brin on Transparency

He's kept writing and talking about it. Summary page on his web site: http://www.davidbrin.com/transparency.html He's also an active blogger on science, SF and society at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ .

I've really enjoyed his science fiction over the years. He has a busy mind. (One of the "three B's"--physicists David Brin, Gregory Benford and Greg Bear.) I seem to remember you have a taste for hard SF, right?

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 09:21 AM

39. Will e-readers eventually have a negative effect on public libraries?

Also, what effect they will have on poor people who depend on a public library for their reading material?

Then there’s this opinion from a librarian..

Public Libraries are Doomed


It’s rare that I make dire predictions, but I’m going to make one. In a decade or so, we can see if I’m right.

Public libraries are doomed.

Okay, that was maybe more dire than I really meant.

How about, public libraries as places to get books or videos or music are doomed?

There, less dire. My proof? The great thing about a dire prediction, as any seer can tell you, is that we don’t need any proof, but Amazon trying to create a “Netflix for books” is persuasive.

http://blog.libraryjournal.com/annoyedlibrarian/2011/09/14/public-libraries-are-doomed/

(Make sure to read the comments to that blog post)

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 02:50 PM

41. I prefer reading a book

I still think that it is best that if you buy a hard copy of a book, they should allow you to get a digital copy of it as well.
I think it is only fair.

I find reading on a tablet or the computer far far faster than going through the pages of a book. However, that is not what I am looking for when reading any way. If I want to finish a book anywhere from less than an hour or just a few hours, the reader allows me to do that faster. Especially if it is in PDF which I just scroll down on.

I like the feel of the paper as I turn it, and knowing that if I ever lose power, the printed word will still be there.
It is why, as some point, I still print out digital pictures because there needs to be something tangible that you can go to when power is lost.

I like the weight of books, even when I bring it around, and it stays as a conversation starter.

There are also ways of buying a new or old book, highlighting the passages you want, then gift it to someone else.
Which I've done for some romance novels and some that I find inspirational.

Any way, that is just my preference. I still prefer bringing paper backs during travel, but a reader works too as a backup. Reason being is that, sometimes, I do run out of books during my travel. In a week long vacation I usually bring 3-4 books with me, and I finish a book during a 4 hour flight. I still prefer having a book that another person can see and comment on. The more opportunities for conversation, the better.

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Response to Xyzse (Reply #41)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:13 PM

42. I don't have an e-reader, but whenever i am reading

lengthy text on the computer, I find that the need to scroll down definitely slows me down. I frequently lose my place briefly, as the text scrolls, and it very much interrupts the flow of the narrative for me.

I like it when I see someone carrying a real book. Sometimes I find something new for me, sometimes it's a starting point for conversation. It's pretty much impossible to know what's on the kindle or nook or whatever.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #42)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 11:26 AM

43. I can understand that

It is just that, I am so used to scrolling down slowly that it doesn't bother me much, and I think I read faster online.
Not that I enjoy it as much. The screen usually hurts my eyes.

And yes, I agree I prefer seeing books being lugged around for starting conversations.

I had a real nice conversation at one point with some girl reading "Kushiel's Dart" or was it the book after? It was one of those.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:08 PM

46. After going through 4 surgeries on my left eye during 2012, you can believe how

grateful I was when I was finally able to read on an e-reader. But you won't ever know how grateful I was for audiobooks. They saved my sanity during March, April, May, June and July, when I didn't know if I would ever be able to read again. Reading, listening, absorbing...it's all the same. Be grateful for what you have, and enjoy whatever that is.


Edit to add: ...and don't quibble about the rest.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 07:01 AM

47. To Each Their Own. However......


...next time you have access to the Sunday NY Times Book Review, compare the best-seller listings for print books vs. e-books. There's a definite difference between the two, and it ain't pretty.....

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:28 AM

48. Has anyone read a e-book with audio/video capability?...

I never even knew such a thing existed until a few minutes ago. I stumbled across the word 'vook' and thought what the heck is that. So I looked it up and said to myself, that's sort of a brand name for a e-book producing company? So I looked into it a little further and found e-books that have audio/video (hyperlinks?) in them. Like this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Haven-ebook/dp/B009YN2M7S/ref=sr_1_14?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357391360&sr=1-14&keywords=Kindle+Books+with+Audio%2FVideo#_


I learn something new everyday! This technology is wonderful, imho. What do you guys think & am I the only one who hadn't heard of this till now?

It's to bad that, for now anyway, this new e-book technology is only available on Apple devices. I'm pretty sure that will change tho.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #48)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:31 PM

49. There have been children's books from B&N

with a technology mix around for the nook. Came out certainly for the nook tablet about a year and a half ago, maybe for the nook color before that. But it was meant more as enhancement than core to the story, I think. It was marketed particularly at grandparents for sharing books with the grandkids--it allows for someone to record the story in sync with the pages so that the kid can look and listen to the book later on.

Not being around children of such an age any more (or again), we pretty much ignored that aspect of it. I like the idea of it, though. When raising the kids, we not only read aloud at bedtime until they were in middle school, but I recorded many cassette tapes of their favorite stories for after the lights got turned off.

Shockingly, all three are committed audio book listeners as adults

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:33 PM

50. I discovered yesterday the Amazon Kindle app for smart phones.

If you have it in your Kindle library, you can put it on your smart phone - even better, you can expand the text to make it larger - the words wrap and the length expands or contracts, depending upon what size text you are using.

I think I am going to marry my smart phone.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #50)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:56 PM

51. lol! I want to marry the internet because everyday I learn something new on these tubes. n/t

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Response to closeupready (Reply #50)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 07:49 PM

52. I have a number of readers on my devices

I rooted my nook and installed the Kindle for Android app on it. I also have FB Reader which is a bit clunkier than either but can pull books directly out of my Calibre library (or Project Gutenberg or other OPDS libraries on the net) directly without having to cable it to the computer at all.

I also put nook, Kindle and Moon+Reader on my smart phone. A nice thing with both the nook and Kindle reader software is that for books in your Amazon or BN libraries, they will stay synced between devices--so if you were stuck and were reading on your phone, when you next go to the book on your reader, it will go to where you left off.

Reading on my phone is pretty emergency, though, even though it's not too bad. I usually have a physical book or my nook with me. But, MY GOD WHAT IF THE ELEVATOR STOPPED AND I DIDN'T HAVE EITHER OF THOSE! Then I'm good with my phone

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Response to getting old in mke (Reply #52)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:26 AM

54. That's why I always have a book or two with me.

No ereader, just the real thing.

What if they change the formatting on ereaders and now you have to purchase all new books? Think it won't happen? How often do you play your old 8track tapes?

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #54)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:38 PM

55. Well, my 8-tracks weren't computer files...

I can still easily use data files from back in 8-track days. Plus, we geeks will always write converters 'cause it's entertaining and if there's a bit of a market out for them, there will be software available to non-geeks to handle it. There are any number of smaller programs and a lesser number of bigger ones for converting about any music format in the history of digital music files into any other one. I don't think e-books will be any different.

And as a bonus, I can email a book as an attachment to my daughter in Minneapolis. Even at media rate, mailing physical books is more trouble.

I guess my point is: for general reading, there are really no particular downsides to an e-reader if it fits the way you use books. And there are no particular downsides to a physical book if it fits the way you use books. Ain't nothin' holy about either one beyond what value the individual reader puts on it.

If you like the feel of the paper pages or the heft of a book, go physical. If you like the lighter weight and more flexible visual presentation, go e-book. If you have long drives, go audio book. If you are like me, and are really only interested in the transfer of text from the author's brain to yours, use all three. To misquote Crowley, "Read as thou wilt is the whole of the law."

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Response to getting old in mke (Reply #55)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:59 AM

56. There are some downsides to ereaders that are totally overlooked.

My best example is Life Magazine.

I used to read old Life Magazines, when I discovered that the University I was attending (this is nearly 30 years ago now) had all the bound issues back to Volume 1, Number 1. I'm sure you all know that Life Magazine started publishing in 1936.

I had the enormous pleasure of reading that periodical sequentially, over a period of several years. It's as if I remember the late 1930's and early 1940's, and I could probably put you to sleep as I go on and on about what I learned, both from the articles and from the advertizing.

A couple of years ago, on DU, I was lamenting not being able to continue reading Life, and someone, very helpfully, pointed me to the website where all the old Life's were available, having been digitally scanned. Great! I thought. Then I went to the website.

Have you ever actually held an old Life in your hands? It was a large format, about 10x14. Which is noticeably larger, and considerably different from the format of your typical computer screen. But most notably, many of the photographs -- and Life was a WONDERFUL magazine for the photographs -- spanned two pages. So that means, in the digital format, you can look at a compressed version, one page at a time. So you can see one half of a photo, then the other half. It is really, really, not remotely like the original magazine. It's an example of why digital stuff is at least sometimes vastly inferior to the original.

Yes, there is a downside.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #56)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:59 PM

57. Nope, not a downside.

I absolutely agree that using an e-reader would be a foolish choice to do much looking at Life (we were a Life family, not a Look family), I haven't looked at, or wanted to look at a Life Magazine since I was growing up. Didn't then very much, either--too many pictures, not enough words.

I don't see that as any more of a downside than the more or less equivalent: Physical books are at best a mediocre format for presentation of technical documentation. Hypertext and other forms a far more usable and effective.

My comment about lack of downside was about using (e-book|physical book|audio book) "if it fits the way you use books."

Since I don't, in general, read anything where detailed pictures or images are important--90% fiction, 10% history/science non-fiction, no non-work related magazines--there is no downside to an e-reader. Obviously if the bulk of someone's reading mix does require detailed pictures and images, it wouldn't be a fit for them. If something isn't a good fit for the e-reader, I just get a hold of a physical copy and use it. In real life, I just read the most convenient version-e- or physical.

I certainly could be wrong, at least that's what my wife claims, but I suspect that the bulk of most reading for folks that read a lot is fiction or other text-heavy books that work perfectly well either way. You pays your money and you takes your choice. Or, checks out your choice from the library. Or something.

So that's where I was going with the "No downside." There is truly nothing other than personal preference involved for most reading.

(As an aside, I don't know if you were looking at the Life archives on Google Books or another one. On GB there is a side by side option for the pages that allows viewing full spreads. On my main display at work, anyway, the screen is pretty close to the size of an old open Life. Can't quite get it to fill a full screen because it still wants navigation on the screen, but it could be worse. Was just poking around randomly to try things out and stumbled across four very pretty watercolors painted by A. Hitler in the 11.30.1936 issue. Made me wonder what folks where thinking about the politics in Germany while reading Life in middle America. Maybe I should read more Life if it makes me think! )

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:11 PM

53. I love my e-readers

I have two. My eyes are old and it helps to be able to change font size. This one thing has made me able to read a lot more than I was before.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 01:33 PM

58. There's plenty of room for both.

I like hard copy books. I like the feel. I like turning pages. I love the rich illustrations available on a hard book.

I also like reading stuff on my kindle. There are pros and cons. I don't like swiping. Not on my phone, not on my kindle. Sometimes my touch screen jumps 20 pages ahead and won't take me back, making me enter random locations to "go to" to find where I was. I haven't figured out how to organize my kindle library to make things easy and quick to find. I haven't figured out how to use my usb instead of wifi, which is important since I have to drive at least 8 miles to find a wifi connection. I like that the kindle will allow me to highlight text and get definitions, will allow me to take notes. I like that, if I'm going on vacation, I can carry one light-weight kindle with all of the books I want to read on it, instead of packing all that weight for multiple books in my suitcase. My kindle will do more things than I've figured out how to do. I want them to be more intuitive, more user-friendly.

I'd love to see ALL text books available on ereaders.

I'd like to be able to convert my 3,000 title library to 2/3 digital. That is cost-prohibitive, though, since most of those titles don't come cheap.

I'd like digital books to be able to be read on any ereader, instead of having different formats for readers from different companies. I'd like to be able to buy ebooks from B&N for my kindle, for example. In the age of evolving technology, I don't want to have to keep buying the same book over and over again, like buying a movie on Beta, VHS, DVD, Blueray, etc..

I'd like better ways to organize and back up a digital library.

I'm told there is a way to do this, or that technology is evolving to do these things. When it becomes really easy and user friendly, I'll be glad.

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