Commentary

Dear eReaders: I Can't Feel You

  • by , September 13, 2010

I have always been in favor of using technology in a school setting. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I said that I have learned more from the Internet than I did in my four years of high school. However, I can’t justify using an e-reader instead of a traditional book for a couple of reasons.

When the Amazon Kindle was first released, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. This was partially because it was innovative, and partly because it was a product of Amazon.com. The idea of having all of my books on one device was very appealing. More recently, however, I can’t imagine reading books on a Kindle, iPad, or any of the other tablet devices.

Many of the books I choose to read aren’t the most exciting books in the world. I read them because I learn a lot from them, but I don’t necessarily enjoy the material I am reading. Therefore, I prefer to feel as though I am making progress as I make my way through the book. I know approximately when I am halfway finished when I read a paperback. On an e-reader, I would have no idea. Reading an electronic book feels like an endless path to nowhere. I like to see a means to an end. Hardcover and paperback books give that to me.

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We all know what it feels like to finish a page but have no idea what we just read. When I read, it isn’t uncommon for me to switch back and forth between pages so that I can make sense of the text. I find it much easier to maneuver around the pages of a physical book than an e-reader. Folding the corners of certain pages is also something I do periodically. If I find a certain page to be confusing or believe that a particular page has important information, I make it easier for myself to come back to it later. Even though e-readers may allow the user to mark pages, it is still much easier to find a folded corner than flip between the pages on an electronic screen.

Based on my support for new technology, I wouldn’t be surprised if I change my mind as new features are added to e-readers. But for now, I will stick to traditional books and admire them as my library grows.

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