Tuesday, November 20, 2012

E-Books vs. Physical Books - Part One

Tim Challies had a link to a New York Times article on how e-readers have yet to match up to regular books.  It's a bit lengthy, but quite insightful.

I admit it.  I have become emotionally dependent on my e-reader because of my book addiction and the fact that I have very little access to books in English in our new location.  But sometimes I desperately miss the maneuverability of physical books, the ability to flip back to favorite passages without laborious clicking.  And as someone else has said, "You never look at an e-book with quite the same emotion and love as you do a dog-eared novel that you've read a dozen times."

In my post on Moonwalking with Einstein, I cited Joshua Foer's argument that moving from scrolls to books  took away the necessity of being completely familiar with the text.  It made us lazier readers.  Yet Lev Grossman (in the NY Times article) contends that moving from scroll to book (codex) was an amazing advancement.

The codex also came with a fringe benefit: It created a very different reading experience. With a scroll you could only trudge through texts the long way, linearly. With a codex, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly, nonlinearly. You could flip back and forth between two pages and even study them both at once. You could cross-check passages and compare them and bookmark them. You could skim if you were bored, and jump back to reread your favorite parts. It was the paper equivalent of random-access memory, and it must have been almost supernaturally empowering. 

Yes, yes, yes, that's what I miss about reading "real" books!  That's why I'll never be able to do intense Bible study on my Kindle.  It just doesn't allow for it.

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