Jan 29, 2009

BTT: Discussing Electronic vs Paper

Today's Booking Through Thursday is a little different.
First - Go read this great article from Time Magazine: Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature. (Well worth reading.)

Second - Stop and think about it for moment. Computers and digital media are changing everything we do these days, whether we realize it or not, and that includes our beloved books.

To be different, today, we're having a discussion in the comments section of MizzB's blog. I've participated in the discussion and I'm also posting my response here.

Tell us what you think. Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?
To follow this discussion click here to go to the Comments section of BTT.
My response:

I always enjoy discussions on this topic. I think Trish made some great comments and I agree with her that publishers will be publishing actual books when I’m old and gray. Like Peta, I have a couple ebooks on my computer, but I haven’t read either of them. I prefer to physically hold a book in my hands, smell the pages and gaze at the cover art while I’m reading. That’s all part of the enjoyment for me.

My view on the Kindle and like products is that I think they do serve a purpose and can be quite handy. I like the idea of downloading whole books in minutes and having a large number. However, I like to collect physical books for my library.

That being said, I was diagnosed with a retinal disease many years ago (Retinitis Pigmentosa) that is gradually stealing my sight. I’ve read reports stating that products like the Kindle are helpful to people with eye issues becaause of the ability to change fonts, etc. and that the screen is easy on the eyes therefore, creating less eye fatigue. Because I am legally blind, but I still have tunnel vision which enables me to have center sight, my eyes do get incredibly tired faster than most. I will no doubt invest in a Kindle at some point, but I will always prefer a tangible book.

The same goes with audio books. I do have a few, but I find it difficult to focus and concentrate on the narrator. I’m sure it just takes some getting used to. At some point, I’ll have to use audio books, but I’ll jump off that bridge when I get there.


  1. I'm off a day (snow day yesterday, so my whole world is behind!), so I haven't looked at BTT until your post!

    Just a few thoughts ... if you do move to a Kindle for some of your reading, I think you'll be pleased. My husband takes one when travelling, and I've borrowed it to experiment.

    The ability to adjust font size is great. There is no 'backlight', so you don't get a glare/contrast. As you mention, you can get a book in minutes. You can "sample" a book, which is generally the first full chapter. It's lightweight.

    No, I'm not trying to sell you one! I know you're making adjustments, and will need to continue to make them due to your vision issues. I wanted to give you some positive thoughts on one of the options :)

  2. E-readers like Kindle would be especially useful and convenient for business travelers and moms traveling with kids. They don’t have to worry about lugging books around and paying extra for baggage. I’m glad there are more choices for readers but for me, I like the feeling of having an actual book, the whole tactile experience. No, I cannot imagine concerting my book collection to a handy gadget, that thought really bothers me. I do feel as bookish holding a gadget.

  3. Dawn - I appreciate your comments about the Kindle and value your opinion. I was going to buy one when they first came out, but decided to wait. I think it would be nice to have one and would probably really like it once I got used to it, however, a 'real' book will always be my favorite. I'll let you know when I get my Kindle and how it's going. I have a feeling I won't be putting it off too much longer. Especially if its less tiresome for my already weary eyes. :)

    Matt - I feel the same way you do about ereaders. Due to my eye problem, I don't spend alot of time traveling and whatnot, and if it wasn't for the whole ease of eye thing, I probably wouldn't even be considering buying one. But I'm willing to give it a try to see if it helps me.

  4. Really enjoyed reading your thoughts about Electronic vs Paper....I have mixed thoughts myself but can never see giving up the physical book ever....can I say that I'm truly sorry to learn about your RP!! I hope that if you do try the Kindle you find that it does ease the tiredness of your eyes!! Audio books are not a favorite of mine especially if I can't stand the narrator's voice, but I've been listening to one for almost a month now in the car and find it fairly enjoyable. I would never try to listen to something too intense in the car because I'm sure I would miss key parts!!

  5. Staci - I will never fully give up on paper either, in fact the thought freaks me out! ha ha Thanks for your thoughtfulness - this RP is so frustrating at times I want to scream. I feel like I'm trapped in a cage and there's nothin but fog and darkness around sometimes. Sorry to ramble... I know what you mean about hating the audiobook narrators. I have one I'm in the middle of and its southern fiction and I cannot stand the fake southern drawl of the narrator. That's why I've not finished listening to it. It drives me crazy! Thanks for commenting and I'll let you know when I get a Kindle. :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I look forward to hearing from you again soon!