I find most of the articles on the net about ebooks vs. paper to be wrong-headed and mostly silly. Passionate paper people who claim that anyone using an e-reader to be woefully uninformed, of low culture, and possibly impotent vs. all digital, all the time people who claim anyone reading paper is clearly a Luddite. Personally, I don’t care the format. Paper, ink, e-ink, pixels, back of a napkin, side of a serial box, pamphlet, newspaper, ceiling of a dentist’s office…I’ll read anything anywhere anytime. And usually it doesn’t take much time before I disconnect from the physical format and immerse myself in the story. So when I saw yet another “I’m going to read paper” post, I just about blew past it with a yawn. However, I didn’t, I clicked, and I find Michael Hyatt’s take kind of interesting (Why I’m Putting Ebooks on the Shelf for 2016 – Michael Hyatt).
One thing he notes that for him, “e-books are out of sight and out of mind” whereas the paper books loom in front of him on the shelf waiting to be read, and reminding him to read. Kind of an interesting idea, I think, partly because I have found the same at times. I carry my e-reader with me, but if I don’t physically “see” it, I often grab my tablet or something else first. He also finds the physical stack comforting when he’s done reading them…I see his point, but the concern with a library overwhelming the house negates that pleasure pretty quick for me.
A second item I like is that he finds the bookmarking and taking of notes less effective for him, something he enjoys doing easily with physical books. I certainly find that for non-fiction, less concerned with it for fiction.
The third item that resonated with me was about how he doesn’t get the same sense of accomplishment when he finishes an e-book as a paper book. I have found that too…in paper, I close the book. I might literally feel a sense of closure, but it’s also a moment to reflect for a second or two on what I have read, to savour the ending, to digest the story arc. On my e-book reader, particularly if I’m reading a series, I will go on to the next one almost immediately and be well into Chapter 1 without taking the time to really savour the flavour of the previous meal. That’s not really about the e-book though, that’s about my personal reading style with e-books. Nothing would stop me from savouring it the way a closing of a book does.
Sure, he also argues that e-books don’t engage the senses, there’s lower retention and comprehension, etc., and most of the science around it is complete crap, so I’m ignoring those points. I also find no resonance with arguments about more easily distracted by e-mail or games on tablets, etc. — when I’m reading, I’m reading. Earthquakes don’t distract me. I don’t even pretend to understand his complaints about more difficulty navigating though.
Yet, as I said, I`m glad I clicked. Those three points were interesting, and quite different from what most people write on the subject.