Friday, August 9, 2019

Nicholas Carr on "Printed books vs. E-Books"

I know I said I wasn't going to address this subject anymore (post here), but this quote is too good not to share:

A page of online text viewed through a computer screen may seem similar to a page of printed text. But scrolling or clicking through a Web document involves physical actions and sensory stimuli very different from those involved in holding and turning the pages of a book or a magazine. Research has shown that the cognitive act of reading draws not just on our sense of sight but also on our sense of touch. It's tactile as well as visual. "All reading," writes Anne Mangen, a Norwegian literary studies professor, "is multi-sensory. There's a crucial link between the sensory-motor experience of materiality, of a written work and the cognitive processing of the text content." The shift from paper to screen doesn't just change the way we navigate a piece of writing. It also influences the degree of attention we devote to it and the depth of our immersion in it. (p. 90 of The Shallows)

I have loved the ease of acquiring books through my Kindle (saving space, time and money), but have noticed a downturn in my ability to read deeply. I'm not yet ready to give up my e-reader, but am trying to make better choices about how often to use it.



booklearner said...

I went over to goodreads to add The Shallows to my TBR... and found I already have it marked "Want to Read."

GretchenJoanna said...

I have read quite a few books on my Kindle in the last few years. Probably half of the ones that I complete, I end up buying a hard copy as well! I guess I have the feeling that if it's good, I want to get my hands on it and be able to leaf through the pages in the good old fashioned way perusing paragraphs or lines that I particularly liked. It's never convenient or satisfying to go back and do that on the Kindle...

BUT I do appreciate that if I highlight something, I can read my highlighted passages online, and even copy them into a blog post if I want. But I find that I tend to highlight a third of the text just so I won't lose it "back there" in the digital "pages."