21 January 2012

Paper books>Kindle


Reading Tony Reinke's book, Lit! (see my review here) solidified my thinking on the paper book versus e-book battle. I have the Kindle App on my i-pad and I have perhaps 25 books on it. I also have several books in a program called Good Reader. I actually prefer to read books in Good Reader because it has more tools than Kindle. But I digress.

I have been making a concerted effort to read more often on my Kindle. On the positive side, books are typically cheaper, I can access them very fast, and I can read them in the dark.  But I confess that I don't like it as well.  I just don't. Here are some reasons:
  • There is something more aesthetically pleasing about a book. Electronic words on a screen lack personality. Not only do the fonts in paper books differ, but so do their papers, bindings, and general size. Each of these things are chosen for a purpose. In other words, it seems more organic to me. 
  • In the Kindle program, I can highlight and I can take notes, but it isn't the same. I like to see my notes written in the columns. With paper books, I often remember where things were located on a page; I haven't found that to be true with electronic books. My capacity to remember them suffers. Further, writing on my i-pad with a pen or a highlighter just isn't a good idea.
  • Reinke highlighted one of the concerns I hadn't pinned down before. I tend to skim more when using the Kindle. I don't read as deeply and so again my retention suffers. I am much more prone to switch to other books or to surf the net for a while, rather than having a sustained period of reading.
  • I like to loan my books out. I like to hand someone a book and say, "I think you would benefit from this." It is more difficult to loan them out with an e-book.
Doubtless, I am sharing a generational bias, though in this respect I am happy to be called an antiquarian or even a curmudgeon.  Still, let me grab a pencil and a cup of coffee and crack open a book.

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