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Being an environmentalist there are obvious reasons why I am excited about the concept of downloading books on a little tiny computer device. Another pro is to not to have to carry heavy textbooks from one location to another. As well, it is much more economical to download books than to buy books in hard copy. Most of these little geniuses have the chapters all organized under headings for you, so you do not have to figure out which ear mark was the one you last created!
I swore up and down I would never give in to the ereader fad. Part of what I love about books is the feeling of one in my hands - the accomplishment of turning the pages... etc.
This week I was on vacation in Mexico. I brought with me the library's paperback copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Even the paperback is not a lightweight book. It also had that plastic paperback cover protector... I fear I'm going to sound terribly spoiled when I say this, but I had a very hard time getting comfortable with that book by the side of the pool. It was heavy, the sides cut into my hands, it was difficult to see the words without the right light.
I happened to notice tons of people who brought along a Kindle. Finally I got the nerve to ask the man next to me one day if I could see how it looks and works. To my surprise - it was comfortable, it was easy to read, it was lightweight. It could be held easily with one hand. I was the difference between toting around a CD player and those big "CD Wallets" and having an iPod full of music.
I'm not sure I would feel the same sense of accomplishment as I do when I finish that last page of great book and close the book, but I have to admit, I am tempted to give in now.
As a member of an easily distracted generation, my favorite feature of the Kindle is its ability to store multiple texts in a small, portable device. I tend to read several books at once, and it is hugely inconvenient to travel with all of them. The Kindle makes them accessible anywhere and at any time. It is also simple to pick up where I left off in a text, with no need for a bookmark or dog-eared pages.
I, too, was adamant about keeping my books and NOT giving in to the world of technology in the sacred area of literature. Then I was given one, and I really enjoy it.
I have to put a few qualifiers on that, though. I like to mark in my books for lots of reasons, and obviously I can't do that with a Kindle. Don't like not having "normal" page numbers, as well, but that's just annoying. Trying to find something again is a major pain unless you write down where it was. In general, though, I like it! I surely have not given up books, but it's a nice to have kind of a portable library everywhere I go.
I personally have not yet given up my addiction to the wasteful, wonderful world of printed books. However, my friend recently got a Kindle and I borrowed it for a few days to see what the fuss was about.
I basically agree with the pros and cons everyone has listed. Positives include the size, shape and weight; the ability to store essentially an entire library; the price of e-books is less than printed texts; and it's very easy on the eyes! I thought it would be like staring at a computer screen, but that "liquid paper" technology actually makes it very comfortable to read.
Disadvantages include the loss of that book feel in your hand (I'm sorry, it's got to be a psychological thing but no sensation is like that!); the limited ability to annotate (as an English teacher, I'm all about annotation); and a simple fear of having everything in one. I would need a serious extended warranty on mine...the thought of it breaking or me losing it worries me. However, I am now seriously considering getting one!
I, too, swore I'd never love an e-reader as much as a real book. But in the interest of having a little more living space in my home, I broke down and bought the Nook from B&N. I really do love it. I chose the Nook because the background & print seem easier on my eyes. I like the idea that I can have several books going at once and not have to lug them all around. Another great feature is the ability to download free samples of books to give them a test run before deciding whether or not to buy. I have a small vacation home with limited space, and I have downloaded a few cookbooks onto my nook so I'm always able to enjoy both of my loves when on vacation! Not sure if anyone else addressed this, but with the Nook you can share e-books with others.
The downside is not all books are available on the e-reader. Also, I find that I still buy many of the young adult books that I use for my classroom library. So, I use my Nook frequently, but balance it out with real books. The best of both worlds!
"There is no furniture so lovely as a book." How do you look up and see those friends you made that are locked inside that colorful spine with an e-reader? There is something terribly comforting about glancing at books that one has read or intends to read. At the end of a stressful day, they are, perhaps, the only constant comfort.
e-readers are handy, however. But, give me tangibles.
The previous post nailed it. I don't doubt that the Kindle is amazing. Yet, I do think that there is a tangible aspect to a book that is very difficult for me to shed. This is not a judgment or some type of transcendent statement. It is purely one that I feel. Part of this is that I cannot conceive of reading a book without the tangible, physical experience of doing so. Part of this involves earmarking pages, holding the book with two hands, and the spine that stares back at me when I am done reading it or taking a break. For those who have grown up with the notion of ereading or those who have become accustomed to it, I think it's probably not that big of a deal. I finally have become acclimated to doing research on line and not having thousands of pages of text in front of me. That works well for the analytical reading. Yet for enjoyment, I think that the actual experience of reading the physical text is of vital importance to me.
Wonderful posts and good advice from all. I can't believe I'm even considering getting a Kindle. When I worked in publishing, I argued with my unit director--who was gung-ho ebooks--that it was just a passing fad. Guess I was wrong! But I still wonder what will happen when the electricity shuts down and the batteries die out.
I hope that the newer Kindles have worked out the bugs. Last year, when my students and I were traveling overseas, I had two students who were in distress because their Kindles were not working properly. I didn't get into details with them, but they said they were on their SECOND Kindle and those things are not cheap. You might want to do your research and read some consumer reports to get the machine which will work best for you. Good Luck!
Haven't gotten one yet, and will probably go for an iPad first, since I can get more utility out of it than just as an eReader. I also still like to listen to iBooks on my iPod. Wow, I'm getting tired of putting small "i"s in front of technology labels.
I really like the feeling of a real book in my hand so it's hard for me to switch just now. At some point though, I have a feeling I will switch to an e-reader.
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