random musings from a serialist
There is a rather interesting essay on Wired about an
I share this feature — electronically hooked up everywhere and all day, but prefer hardcopy, old-style books. I think there are three reasons…. first, the tactile pleasure of holding a book in my hands (and I don’t know how much of that is associations from the time I learned to read, ahem, 43 years ago, and how much is purely the physical feel of the book); second, the fact that reading print on a page of paper is far less fatiguing to my getting-older eyes; and third, the fact the using a computer is tied in my mind to working, while reading a book is associated with pleasure (my limited experience with ebooks is that they feel too much like work and/or school to me).
The bottom line is that I don’t find the experience of reading on-line to feel as immersive as that of reading an old-fashioned book. I sort of wish I felt differently because then I would need a lot fewer bookcases!
I think it’s not just that print books are more functional for leisure reading (although that’s part of it). In the print vs digital discussions we typically underestimate the aesthetic qualities of a well made book. Books, as objects, are more than simply containers for text, and part of the pleasure of leisure reading is an appreciation of those other qualities, even if it’s at a subconscious level. The tactility of the paper, the subtle impact of typeface design, the notes I scribble in the margins, the coffee stains on the cover — these are all an important part of the experience.
You know, I read ebooks and paper books, both, but I still prefer paper in most situations. And I’m not sure if that’s because I have such a huge critical mass of paper titles or a true format preference. Though I did start reading an old favorite on my cell phone while waiting at the doctor’s office, and then finished the read at home with my paper copy. I surely could have used the cell edition to finish my read at home, but I went to the shelf for the paperback. So maybe it is a format preference…
…and you shouldn’t take an e-book reader into the bathtub!
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