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Real books vs. ebooks?

Real books vs. ebooks?


This year I finally bought my own Kindle (The Girl has had one a while now, and I have used it a little, but not seriously). Not only did I get my first Kindle I was also given an iPad (I am a lucky girl!); so I have experienced reading on the cheap version of the Kindle and the Kindle app on the iPad. As far as a reading experience would go, I preferred the usability of the iPad (I would imagine any tablet, or higher spec version of the Kindle would be much similar.)

However, after excitedly downloading many books to the kindle and reading a few I found myself very quickly missing real books, to the extent I had to hold myself back from re-buying them in paperback format. I found especially when reading non-fiction, that the e-readers hugely disappointing: you fail to have the ease of flitting from place to place, you cannot make a quick note in the margin, or mark bits with the same ability to quickly nip back to check some thing later.

I also began to think that I wasn’t really retaining the information I was reading on the Kindle, as well as I would normally. I was a bit reluctant to admit it, but I missed real books, but I liked the price of the Kindle ones!

Then I came across a recent study, which confirmed pretty much everything I had been experiencing- we do absorb less when we read from an e-reader!

The study postulates that the multi-sensory experience we received when reading off paper, enhances the learning experience: the feel of paper, the turning of the pages, how when we hold it the book thickens in one hand as it thins in the other. How often can you recall reading a particular part of a book by visualising it on the page in your mind? Well we don’t do that with Kindles- all the pages look and feel the same.

Consequently, I have switched back, almost exclusively, to real books. Although I can still see the value in being able to buy quantities of good books, very cheaply- or even free- so they have their place now I suppose! And as e-readers are going no where soon, we will all, including our children, have to get use to them. I also wonder if in time, our brains will adapt to the new way of reading? But I for one hope there will always be a place for bookshelves overflowing and laden with wonderful, beautiful books.

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