Adventures in Reading


Ramble On
March 7, 2008, 5:07 pm
Filed under: thoughtful

dscn1567.jpgI had a long rambling post I thought out while I was in the shower. It’s always been one of my favorite and best places to think, but unfortunately the one momentous downside is that the shower provides limited resources to write down any of these thoughts. At work lately I’ve been talking a lot about Sony’s eBook and Amazon’s Kindle with customers who are interested. As a result, I’ve been forming Opinions. My freshman/sophomore year in college I did a research project in a media writing course on the digitalized book phenomena and must completely admit that my results were pretty biased: it was going to fall flat on its face. While I don’t fear the extinction of the book in printed form in my lifetime, I am aware that one day in the future, like colored glass knife rests, books will be a thing of the past you stumble on at futuristic antique stores and flea markets.

As of yet my blog scanning (admittedly a limited amount) has not provided much discussion or opinion on Borders’, America’s second largest book retailer, new concept store that openned in Michigan. I stumbled across the article in a USA Today awhile back and found myself staring at the pictures of at least one evolutionary offshoot of the “little bookshop ’round the corner.” Within the next decade or two, CDs seem to be heading the way of cassettes – limited to garage sales – and digital music will be on the forefront. While I am glad I long ago moved away from my adoration of the physical album, I harbor no fear or similar sentiments for the book.

The eBook and the Kindle are lovely. My experience with them, as limited as it has been, is that they are designed for a very select and narrow demographic. For the most part, it seems designed for the on-the-go business person who doesn’t stray too far from James Patterson and Stephen King. [1] I have not had my hands on the Kindle yet, but unless I am missing some impressive options (which I may be) I would need a digital reader that could search for words and phrases, permanently record highlighting and underlining, and offer a permanent function that allows me to “scribble in the margins.” Oh, and some way to cross reference all the books I owned would be dandy too.

I also think currently the digital book industry is missing out on an enormous audience: college students. Considering the weight and cost of books/semester (or quarter) that student’s invest in a digital reader of some sort would make perfect sense. So there are some ramblings, but it will likely be a dark day when the last of my books are pried out of my hands.

[1] Yes a brash over generalization (i.e. the woman I met allergic to books) but this generally seems to hold true.

Todays image: I love finding old library check-out stubs in books.

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4 Comments

I’m pretty ambivalent about eBooks and this Kindle thing … although I do read eBooks (particularly out-of-copyright classics I would otherwise have to purchase for courses). But I just don’t love them in the same way that I love book-books.

I have a personal theory about what I call the Whole Book Experience — a book is much more than its text. It’s also its size, and binding, and cover art, and hand-feel. Will it fit in my pocket? How do the pages feel when I turn them? Does it have that bookish smell? Reading for me is a very physical experience. It just doesn’t compare when I read from a palm pilot or computer screen. And how can you collect eBooks? What about the comfort derived from a room full of books and shelves and books on shelves?

I think that there is a place for devices like the Kindle — but I am equally sure that there will always be a place for books.

[On another note, if you’re looking for a way to cross-reference the books you have — are you familiar with LibraryThing? See http://www.librarything.com as it’s marvelous.]

Comment by shereadsbooks

shereadsbooks: Thank you for the comment and I’m glad someone else believes in the future of the printed word. For Librarything, to make a long story short, I have heard of it but I have also been holding off on splurging on a permanent account. As far as the eBook/Kindle, I do really need to find a friend willing to loan me theirs for an evening or two to get a real feel of it.

Comment by bookchronicle

I was browsing at Amazon today and noticed a promotion for their Kindle. I glanced at the device and briefly remembered your entry before carrying on with my desired searches, but as I browsed I kept thinking about how neat these eBook/Kindle devices would be for people with disabilities who have physical difficulty handling actual books.

You already touched upon a woman who had to use an eBook because of her book allergies, but I am another type of book-challenged individual. For me, the difficulty often lies in manipulating a book due to its size or weight; fighting with a book’s binding (i.e., books that flip shut continuously, books that must have their spines broken fully to read the pages, etc.); an inability to use two hands; or even the inability to sit in a comfy chair and just relax with a good read.

Thinking about it more and more, these examples could very much be the actual reasons behind why I do not consider myself an avid reader. In short: it’s just too much work and is often physically exhausting. It’s often just easier to watch a movie or read a blog ABOUT books instead of an actual book itself. I’ll have to give this eBook/Kindle thing a try some day, but for now it exceeds my budget.

Comment by Claire C. Cake

[…] 2, 2008 in disabilities, ebook, kindle, quotes Quite a few posts back, Claire C. Cake made an important comment to my eBook/Kindle post that I wanted to share: I was […]

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