The e-book idea – will it kill reading or enhance it?

This was a questions asked to me by Dr Linda Taylor recently…I thought it was such a good question that I would start a ‘topics for discussion’ page…and then I thought…actually it’s better than that and decided to give the question it’s very own page! Thanks Linda!

14 thoughts on “The e-book idea – will it kill reading or enhance it?

  1. Hi! And congrats on the blog – I’m still in the planning stages!! I don’t think the e-book will make much difference to reading, I think it’s computer games, and before that television, that has created the ‘tell me’ generation. My students always tell me they prefer films etc as books have no pictures and they have to imagine the scenes etc – there is some belief they may get the wrong idea, rather than that being the joy of reading, everyone interpreting it in their own way. The e-book might actually appeal to a market the traditional book does not – the people on the go who don’t want to carry books around with them. It gives them an alternative to surfing the net on their netbooks or smart phones. So perhaps it will encourage more readers.

  2. Hello Jez, nice blog you have started here – look forward to reading about your and your students’ reading adventures!

    Hmm e-books? I don’t have too much experience with them, and have never even touched an e-reader. I suppose they’re good for sustainability, saving on paper and such, but I love all that about books – the feel of the paper, being able to fold the corners when short of a bookmark, making notes (but NOT in library books of course). I’m sure you can do e-versions of all these things, but I won’t throw away my bookmark just yet.

    You need Spanish for this video, but I think the general idea gets through – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwPj0qgvfIs

    Best

    Mike

  3. For the moment e-books are not very popular in France : I think it will take some time, but after a while, everyone will see the benefits of e-books : less space, more books! in the end reading is what counts, whatever the material we are reading from. E-books can’t “kill” reading, they can only enhance it! Bravo pour le book club ! great inspiring idea.

  4. Hi Jez, I definitely think that e.books have a place but being over 25 I still prefer my books printed on paper. As a writer of readers I am hoping that e.books will mean that writers can charge less for their books, but get a bigger slice of that money as we can bypass publishers and distributors. I have written a few readers which are now available as e.books. Have a look at my webpage if you’re interested.

  5. Hi Jez!

    Over at our school we decided to turn WBD into Book Month, with lots of little projects to find out as much as we can about our students’ reading habits. We initially assumed that teenagers didn’t read much & would probably enjoy more digital fiction than actual books. We were very surprised to learn that they actually read a lot more than we thought, though they were a bit shy initially to talk about the books they liked reading. I guess it’s quite a personal thing for some. We also introduced them to digital fiction, through the series “Inanimate Alice” http://www.inanimatealice.com/, thinking that this type of story would appeal to them more. Another surprise! Most of them said they found that the images & sound (music) hindered more than aided comprehension. We’re going to get them writing about this experience with Inanimate Alice, so stay tuned.

    Looking forward to being a regular at your blog! 🙂

    Anna

  6. I love the idea behind this blog… I’m inspired to start something similar…. see if that happens.

    As to the question, I really can’t see that there is all that much wrong with books as they are at the moment, they’re cheap and easy to use… I’m not really tempted by the e-readers around at the moment, not for fiction anyway…

    Where I wouldn’t mind one is for all the deadly dull ‘temporary’ documents to do with work and study – I’ve either got to scan through the pdf on my computer screen, or find the dog-eared printout I made – Really wouldn’t miss those!

    Of course, there might be a new genre coming that mixes text to read and videos and other multimedia content really well – on the right device (I’m thinking children’s literature on something like an iPad – I can see something developing from that).

    Personally, for reading for pleasure, I’m not sure that we can improve on paperback books…. but loads of new innovations have been prematurely written off before….

  7. I have a Kindle and I love it. There are many reasons why, but the main one is that I have access to a million+ books that I can get in 2 minutes. Imagine living next to the Library of Alexandria or the Library of Congress. The access to information is unbelievable.

    Electronic books will be the future of reading, but I don’t know that it will continue to be the best way to transfer information. Someday we may be able to “download” information straight to our brains.

  8. I love my ebook, and my son loves his. We carry them around wherever we go. Nice and light to carry and we always have lots to read. Really easy to get hold of new books too, and cheaper than paper books.

    Only problem is they break easily, which means buying new ones every now and then.

  9. When I first heard about these e-book thingamejigs, my first reaction was similar to the one I had (have) about downloadable music. There’s something nice about ‘owning’ a book or a cd – they are almost like tangible evidence of what floats one’s boat. The former are not the same; they are imaginary to me, somehow.

    Like Mike, I feel there’s more to reading a book than simply moving your eyes across the words. The way the paper feels, for instance, the way the pages smell. When I read a book, it becomes part of my life for that period of time. I am a page folder and a spine bender (much to my brother’s disgust). And I love the way that a good holiday read has grains of sand from the beach on which it was read residing in it, and crumpled pages from the sea water. In a similar way, I prefer to look through photo albums, or be shown a picture that has become tatty from being stashed in a wallet for years on end, rather than an image on a screen.

    On the other hand, I like the fact that one’s interests and experiences may be condensed into a chip. It makes humans more mobile and not bound by the material. At the end of the day, what makes us the people we are is essentially our brain storage anyway and has nothing to do with the things we’ve bought. Oh dear, this is going off on some weird sci-fi tangent now. Someone call Keanu.

    So is my preference for the tangible because it’s what I’m used to? Quite possibly. I remember my dad saying not too long ago that people will never stop wanting to read a ‘proper’ newspaper, and yet every time I walk into the staff room, or find myself on a train, there are significantly less newspapers and significantly more people perusing the headlines on their computer/ smartphone.

    I guess we’ll have to wait another 20 years and ask the kids of today who never knew any different, because, let’s face it, technology isn’t going away…

  10. I have both the Nook and the Sony e-readers. I enjoy having instant access to a book that is not available in the local bookstore. For example, my son needed a book for his English lit class, I was able to download it that night and let him borrow my Sony e-reader. It took a week for the book to be delivered. I enjoy having access to the classics at a lower prices. I have ran out of space on the many book cases throughout my home. I enjoy the fact that I can read multiple text at once (non-fiction professional books) and not worry about where I left off or worry about their weight. As an avid reader, I enjoy having the opportunity to easily access books without going to the store. I buy more books not less.
    I wish they made math textbooks for e-readers

  11. Ebooks are great for student textbooks / reading lists as you can bookmark passages without physically damaging the book, I have an ebook reader on my phone so can carry a library in my pocket. It’s great for technical books particularly as some suppliers will update these for free. Still enjoy paperbacks when reading novels though.

  12. Perhaps neither. Reading is making sense of text regardless of the delivery system. eBooks introduce the potential for scaffolding the reading process, for aiding sense-making, but we’ll have to see whether that potential is realized in a meaningful way.

  13. It has been pleasure reading your opinions… Although our bookcases are almost full, I do buy books which I find really interesting or helpful. No matter the genre. I suppose it would be same with e-readers – Kindle, etc. If the book is thrilling, I would consider buying the paper version and reading it over later…
    The books smell nice and the turning pages make a lovely sound. Nothing can change it…
    Maybe I will buy a e-reader in the future, but I will continue reading paper books as well…

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