So, this semester I'm taking a Reader's Advisory class for my Master's program and this week we discussed the eBook "experience." Our readings and discussion focused on the pros/cons of eReaders/eBooks and the "experience" as a whole--what's it like to read with and eReader (or an iPad or Smartphone or on a computer). One research article that we read talked about the distractions often association with e-reading in general (especially on a computer). So...I'm really curious what y'all think! Here's some of the things that we talked about:
- Instant gratification--Many of us expressed that it's really nice/exciting to pre-order a book that you're excited about and download it at midnight without having to arrange a trip to a store.
- Ability to enlarge text--With anyone who has difficulty with the small print used in the majority of books, this is an obvious and fantastic improvement. Older people who can't read the newspaper can have it delivered to an eReader and enlarge the text!
- Portability and convenience--Anyone whose traveled with an eReader of any kind knows the awesomeness that can be taking 15+ books on vacation without the added bulk of physical books. Also, who wouldn't love being able to carry around a book for every mood right in their purse?
- Price--Once you get past the initial expenditure for your reading device, the books themselves offer a (slightly) less expensive option to the physical book. Sure, sometimes $9.99 seems like a lot to pay for an eBook, but (a) you're still supporting the author and (b) it's still less than that hardcover you were coveting on your last trip to the bookstore.
- Remote purchasing--While not many people in my class live as remotely as I do, I offered up that it's nice when you are really in the mood to read something in particular and you're nowhere near a bookstore OR a library to be able to just download the book (whether purchasing or borrowing from a library's ebook collection)
- Price--While you might save on eBooks (sometimes), the initial price of buying a reading device can be enough to deter or prevent someone from reading electronically.
- Nostalgia--We all have it--that memory of first books read and first books owned and first books chewed to bits by cats (maybe just me?). Whatever it is, many bibliophiles have an attachment to the physical nature of holding and reading a "real" book.
- Page-flipping & other habits--While it's possible with an eBook, it's much easy to do things like flip ahead or back a few pages to see what's going on, to remind yourself of a character, or to see where things are headed. (Or if you're crazy like me and my professor--to read the last three pages or so)
- Sharing--While yes, you can share SOME eBooks with other eBook readers, it's not as easy. The other person must have a way of reading the eBook AND the published must make that book available for sharing. It's much easy to hand someone a book (with your name written in pencil neatly in the front and the dust jacket removed).
- Too much like reading on a computer--While many of us who enjoy e-reading, there was a general consensus among the non-electronic readers that it was too plugged in and connected to other things. After you spend all day reading/working at a computer, isn't it nice to pick up a book, move away from all electronics, and curl up on the couch for uninterrupted reading time?
So, talk! What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear what you think--both just to spark some conversation and to share some insights with my fellow students. :)