Tuesday, November 22, 2011

E-readers and Reading

E-readers are certainly here to stay. I jumped on the bandwagon this past spring and have yet to regret it for a moment.

There are many advantages to using e-readers as a supplement to reading printed books. Allow me to highlight two.

The first for me is personal and practical: within a matter of a few days and weeks, I had hundreds of books (mostly free) on my Nook. That meant far fewer books lying around our house (though there will always be some). That meant a happier wife. She was never pleased by my stacks of books, which I tried to confine to one or two rooms but always in a losing battle. And frankly, I  also feel better about my life and house now. (My wife and I are both mild, reasonable neat freaks, but neat freaks nonetheless.)

A related advantage of the e-reader over the printed book is ease of reading. Not only do e-books not take up extra room regardless of how many one has, but they also are much easier to hold and turn pages in. If I am in bed, I can hold my Nook in one hand and swipe or press the buttons to turn pages. This is a much lighter, less annoying experience than holding a printed book and trying to constantly adjust so that I can turn pages and hold the book open. The same holds true if I am walking and reading, holding my two-month-old and reading, traveling and reading, or driving and reading (just kidding).

The irreplaceability of the physical page, of course, must also be emphasized. The e-reader is here to stay, but in my view alongside of rather than instead of the printed page. For the advantages mentioned above bring obvious disadvantages with them as well. And I for one will never tire of the smell of an old page or flipping through books manually and digitally (in a literal sense).

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