Saturday, April 10, 2010

Favorite Method of Reading

There's a lot of controversy in the literary world about real world reading vs. e-reading. Of course, this is in part due to our very valid desire to support independent and brick and mortar stores. And I think to many of us there is the also the difference between the feel of the book in your hand compared to the less personal screen.

But there is the convenience factor of a hand-held device that can hold thousands of books. I think about waiting for my kids during practices or between events, and also about traveling. How great to whip out a device the size of a paperback and have thousands of choices of reading material. I also think about my son getting bored at his sister's games, practices, etc. And instead of needing a backpack full of distraction or a hand-held gaming system, I could pull out my e-reader with a whole selection of books for him to read.

But then, there's the issue of which reader! Do you go with the Kindle because of its whispernet, or the Nook because it's not Amazon, or Sony, or wait, do you forget about all those, assuming they will soon be passe and go for the new toy, the iPad, even though it's way more expensive, not to mention larger and heavier?

And, if you manage to get far enough in this process to choose one and order it up, then how do you decide which books to buy electronically, which ones you absolutely must have in hardcover, which ones you'd be fine borrowing from the library?

It seems to me the more advanced we get technologically, the more complex our choices become, and the more choices we have to struggle with. And with all the bells and whistles the iPad offers, more are sure to come on other e-reading devices, which will lead to -- guess what -- more choices!

How do you decide in which format to read? What's your favorite e-reader? And when do you go for the good old hardcover? Seriously, I'm asking! :)

--Cheryl Renee Herbsman


  1. I like old paperbacks you can read in the bathtub or on a floating chair in the lake. I haven't tried any electronic devices yet, but I do think, for the sake of trees, this transition to electronics is a good thing.

  2. I have to say I don't use any of the e-readers - but I am enjoying LISTENING to books on my i-phone. I was never much of a books-on-tape fan, but the ability to listen to a story while I'm walking in the neighborhood is tremendous. And I can borrow these books from the library - so I'm currently choosing to listen to all those classics I just don't have time to sit with - heavy volumes I wouldn't want to carry around.

  3. I'd love to have a ereader of some kind just for references. If the texts were easily searchable it would be fabulous to have several dictionaries, the Chicago Manual of Style, Bullfinches Mythology, Scripture from several traditions, poetry anthologies, the complete works of Shakespeare, etc. all in one easily portable format.

    But for pleasure reading I really want to look at a page and not a screen. And I want to ride my bike down to Annie Blooms or Powells or a Children's Place and browse the shelves and chat with the booksellers about what they're excited about. Downloading is just never going to be as satisfying as my neighborhood book shop.

  4. I'm with Rosanne - nothing will ever be as satisfying as my neighborhood book store. That being said, I do increasingly love my Kindle. Esp. when I was just home for two weeks recovering from surgery, I LOVED that when I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night and I decided hey, I haven't read Beautiful Creatures yet, that it was downloaded to my Kindle by super silent whispernet in just a few seconds. It doesn't feel quite the same to read it that way, but for convenience it's been great. I've taken it on trips, too and I love that I can bring dozens of books with me. But it's definitely still an adults only kind of device. It's expensive; it requires a credit card on file with Amazon; and I'm not sure if I love the idea that someone knows exactly what I'm buying. That part will always kind of creep me out.

  5. Wow, thanks for all these great comments! How is it I agree with all of you :D

  6. I don't have an ereader yet either, but I have been considering it. My sister said her brother in law has been using it for his college textbooks and that it is much more convenient than lugging around a bunch of books. I am getting ready to go back to school, so I would probably use it mainly for school or when I am on vacations.

    For middle grades/YA books I will switch over if I can figure out a solution that my students would be able to still have access to them. They will all be getting iTouches and there is a Kindle App on that which I saw another teacher had a student that absolutely loved but right now I have roadblocks with it not being able to work like a library system would.

    We'll see.

  7. I'll always prefer paper books, I think. And even though I usually take really good care of my books, I kind of like beating them up on vacations as I stuff them in bags, rest them on my wet swimsuited stomach...

    I do see a place for e-books, but not for me quite yet.