Book v Kindle

My cousin Barb, in Ukraine with the Peace Corps, took a Kindle with her, and a mighty fine idea that was, too: remote from any English-language bookstores or libraries, she was able to bring a hundred or so texts overseas with her without needing all those boxes we used to lug to foreign parts.  So I will say I am not adamantly opposed to the e-book.

However, I have tried reading on a Kindle and it doesn’t work for me.  Even though I get how convenient it is, and even though I just my second copy of American Pharaoh because I couldn’t find the first in my thousands of books, I don’t find it easy to use. I’m sure I could get used to searching instead of flipping pages, although I like to see where I am physically in a novel–did this event or character appear early or late in the narrative? But the way the text is framed slows down reading.  When you’re used to scanning a page, getting text one page at a time actually makes it harder to stay in the narrative flow.

I also prefer newspapers in print, especially since I live with someone, and we trade sections back and forth (we actually get 3 daily papers, so we often trade papers back and forth, sharing stories that have caught our eye.)

However, Green Apple Books in San Francisco has brought a whole new dimension to the Book v Kindle debate.  I think these little video clips are highly entertaining, and you may enjoy them, too.


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  • I hear you, though the thought and idea of having kindle vs a box of books while traveling, well the kindle wins that hands down.

    I have a heck of a time reading long items on a screen, and if I’m really interested, I’ll print up an article or an e-mail so I can feel that paper.

    Of course I am bibliophile, and I love the feel of a book!

    Peace be with you,

  • Oh, yes, I will always prefer a book, for many reasons–the feel, the ease of read, the fact that it goes from bath to bed without a whimper, and the way text is organized. Just because we can do something electronically doesn’t mean we have to.

  • I have not tried to make any objective test of the matter, but it seems to me that my comprehension is better with a real book, magazine, or newspaper than it is with text on screen. Even if I print off something to sheets of paper, I still do not grasp it as fully as with a bound book.

  • Doug Clark

    Well, I have to fall in line with the other comments. Although I can see the utility of a Kindle, especially when traveling, I so appreciate the feel, smell and comfort that a book gives me as I read and turn the pages. There’s something about being able to turn back readily to recall some detail or passage. And for nonfiction books that have notes, I like to be able to read the notes after each chapter. Often these notes give me other sources to read, and provide information that wasn’t in the text. Using a Kindle might make that a more laborious process. I do read a lot on my computer in terms of email, etc., but once home, I want to have a book in my hand, not reading it from a screen.

  • I’ve never seen a Kindle (oh, the deprivation of living so far from civilization…) but cannot imagine it taking the place of a book. The feel, the smell, the sheer joy of holding a new book; the anticipation of discovering new adventures within it’s crisp cover – somehow, a piece of plastic vibrating with electricity doesn’t compare. (Oh, wait, did that sound dirty?) And what if the battery runs down right at the crucial moment?

    (Oh dear, should I delete this and start over?)

  • Laurie Jane

    I too prefer to read the printed papers and actual printed books. I agree that just because something is available electronically doensn’t mean that it is better or preferable.

  • I also wonder about book signings in the Age of the E-Book

  • Good point. I guess you could break out the Sharpies and magic markers….;)

  • genny winne

    I guess I’m “old school” when it comes to reading books. I need to have the book in my hand and turn real pages. Sara, you’re right about the book signings. Would they turn into some virtual reality experience?

  • I don’t see why real books and e-readers should not be used both. I love books (for all the reasons already mentioned) but as a person who travels on subways, streetcars, buses and trains while schlepping photo equipment, an e-reader is a welcome alternative.

    I have been using a (now vintage) Palm IIIe for many years as a temporary replacement for books.

    Reading is not as convienent but it still beats not having no book available. I usually store several novels, movie scripts, newspaper articles and tutorials at once on the Palm, so I always have a variety of reading material to choose from.

    I haven’t tried a Kindle yet, but I dislike the wireless data transfer, the DRM, and the price. I guess there will be better solutions – I can imagine reading on a cell phone with a big display (I know you can do that right now but my cell is a little retro;)

    As for the book signings: As writing letters by hand has been more or less replaced by e-mail, and as there are methods for digital signatures in documents, maybe the idea of “signing” will shift from writing your name with a pen on a piece of paper to something else that will carry the same emotional value – or maybe more.

    I can imagine having a digital personal signature that could be anything like a logo, a drawing, styled text etc. And with all the gadgets being able to send and receive data, maybe marking an electronic book personal could be sending a digital photo of the author and the book owner taken together, marked with the author’s personal logo and then being transferred to the e-reader. Or something like that :))


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