Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reading or eReading?

The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.”  - Anthony Trollope 

Like everything else evolving around us, books and reading in general has also evolved tremendously over the past few years. Even though dedicated e-book readers existed for a while, the biggest revolution in the field came when Amazon launched Kindle in 2007. It captured the imagination of a generation and it soon became the most popular Christmas gift. I received my Kindle as a Christmas gift. :)

The competition within the e-book readers market is very stiff. Of course, Kindle and Nook with their e-Ink displays remain the most popular readers by a distance. However, when Apple launched the iPad, even Amazon could not resist the temptation and launched Kindle Fire which can let you read books and do more. Whatever e-book reader you may have, though, the advantages are many. I can now carry about 3500 books in a single device which is about the size of a fiction book. No more wondering how to dispose the books which I do not want anymore. And I can now pick and chose what to read when I am travelling.  

But does our brain process a e-book the same way as a regular book? This is a very interesting question. Studies suggest that it takes a while for our brain to adjust to a new information medium because it disturbs the balance between the focal and peripheral attention. But apparently with repeated usage, our brain gets used to the idea. Naturally, our brains are tuned to information with a physical address or entity. Secondly, while we do have an advantage of having an instant dictionary and even web access for more information on our e-book readers but scrolling and typing on e-book readers could be more distracting than engaging.  

I personally mix and match. I can read realms of fiction on my e-book reader. But when it comes to “learning”, I much prefer to have a paperback. Maybe it has got to do with how my mind has been conditioned coming from a generation of textbooks and notebooks. But maybe this generation of kids who are exposed to digital media like never before, will have different preferences.  

All said and done though, there are very few things which give the thrill of the touch crisp pages and smell of fresh print.  

Two beautiful questions for the day - What are you reading next? What are you reading on next?


Megha said...

I consider my e-reader as an aide to my hobby, not a replacement for physical books..My main reason for opting for an e-reader was of the convenience it offers to me when I travel. Buying this reader was the best money I ever spent, no doubt. But when I have a place of my own that I can call "my home" :-) I will be surely buying books by the dozen, including all those e-books that I loved.

As for your questions - I don't know what I am reading next, but at the moment I am re-reading Fountainhead. On Kindle.

Your turn to answer your questions :-).

Anusha said...

Fountainhead.. I remember the high I got when I read Ayn Rand for the first time.. :-)

I am reading Siddhartha on Kindle.. I am also reading India After Gandhi - paperback.. :-)

Anusha said...

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse and India After Gandhi by our very own Ramchandra Guha..

Megha said...

Re Rand - The high then was great, yes. Now I am incapable of even aspiring to be like a hero in a Rand novel :-). I have read only 2 of Rand's books so far, Fountainhead and We the Living. The latter is still the one I like more.

IAG - two thumbs up! What he says at the beginning of the book is so true. History in our schools stops at 1947 (or 1950, if you include 26th Jan). This book was an opener to so many events which shaped us as a country.

Siddhartha - I'll wait for your review on this one :-)