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Thread: "E-reading isn't reading"

  1. #1

    "E-reading isn't reading"

    Also, pretentious article is pretentious.

    This article on Slate seems to be saying that a book is a sacred experience, and the tactile sensations associated with reading essential to our enjoyment and true appreciation of literature.

    I'm curious to see if anyone here still thinks that ebooks are Teh Devil...

    Personally, I love ebooks. I'm just waiting for that musty paper-scented Kindle.

  2. #2
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    I love my Kindle too.

    Reading isn't storytelling. Let's see if I get notoriety from this!


    My grandfather made the same argument when my kindle arrived. And the old man is senile.
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  3. #3
    Living the dream CaroGirl's Avatar
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    The best books make you forget where you are. They make you hear, taste and smell the story, not whatever might be going on in the world in which you sit. When I first starting using my e-reader, I would catch myself trying to turn the page rather than push the button.

    A great story is a great story. How it's delivered to you becomes irrelevant.

    And pretentious excerpt is very pretentious indeed.
    Last edited by CaroGirl; 11-16-2012 at 11:30 PM.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    So he prefers print books. Meh. The story is the same, only the medium changes. Like when they invented the printing press and I suspect then people went round complaining how this new fangled stuff wasn't a patch on the old stuff, where a real part of the experience was working out if that was an f or an s and you couldn't call it real reading unless some poor monk had spent six weeks illuminating a single letter....




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  6. #6
    carpe libri Amarie's Avatar
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    If e-reading isn't reading, why did he post this on the internet instead of printing out pamphlets to hand out? Or is reading on a computer somehow a class of its own?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Amarie View Post
    If e-reading isn't reading, why did he post this on the internet instead of printing out pamphlets to hand out? Or is reading on a computer somehow a class of its own?
    The irony! It buuuurns ussss!

    I was wondering that myself, while not reading this article -- because, since it was on a screen and not paper, I was not in fact reading it.

    I got so confused reading about how I wasn't reading...

  8. #8
    In Honor of Peter Tomich,USS Utah Komnena's Avatar
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    Before my Kobo I had to lug a big bag of books to the doctor's office and maneuver them around. It was not easy. Now I just slide the Kobo back into its case and go. I can take my favorite books on vacation without fearing losing the physical copies. What is so evil about that?
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  9. #9
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I just glanced at the article; there is a difference between holding an e-reader and holding a book, and I definitely prefer the book. But reading is reading, so anything else is just personal preference.
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  10. #10
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Well at least my kindle doesn't send me into sneezing fits from the musty smell. I guess if my eyes are swollen shut and I'm sneezing every thirty seconds, I'm not really reading even if I'm holding a real book, am I?



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  11. #11
    The colors! THE COLORS! leahzero's Avatar
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    This article is just going to make me angry, isn't it?
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  12. #12
    OUTCAST is out now!!!! Toothpaste's Avatar
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    Guys it's SLATE. This is what they do, post nonsense to get a rise out of people and page hits.

    It's a silly article. We each have our preferences, and that's all there is to it.

  13. #13
    is Envy Augustine amrose's Avatar
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    I like paper books. I like e-books. I especially like e-books on my iphone when it's slow at work.

    I started skimming the article at the first reference of St. Augustine.
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  14. #14
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amarie View Post
    If e-reading isn't reading, why did he post this on the internet instead of printing out pamphlets to hand out? Or is reading on a computer somehow a class of its own?
    Quote Originally Posted by swvaughn View Post
    The irony! It buuuurns ussss!
    Um, folks? From the article:
    "Reprinted with permission from Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times, by Andrew Piper, published by the University of Chicago Press. 2012 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved."

    Quote Originally Posted by Toothpaste View Post
    Guys it's SLATE. This is what they do, post nonsense to get a rise out of people and page hits.
    Yup. Clickbait.

  15. #15
    Good gads. I've seen this rant before, but rarely at such wordy, meandering, pretentious volume.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
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    I will say that they aren't exactly the same experience - I don't flip back to the previous page to double check something nearly as often on my e-reader, for example. I found myself doing it the other day, because I was really confused about where a character had ended up, and I realized just how infrequently I bother, whereas with paper pages where I can hold my place with my finger, I jump back way more often. But I don't think that they are significantly more dissimilar than comparing the difference between reading a paperback and a hardcover version of the same book.

    Totally pretentious, absolutely clickbait, not going to read it.
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  17. #17
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Utter dogbollocks. E-readers are tools and delivery systems, nothing more. The author needs to take a chill pill, then go read Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

    Technology only adds options. How to use them is up to us. But once they do exist, somebody is going to make bank on them. The Gutenberg Bible broke the price and production-time bottlenecks on expensive hand-copied books, helping to create the vast economic and political changes of the Renaissance. Telegraphs broke the tyranny of distance and offered real time information for empire-builders. Typewriters increased data entry capacity, made novel-writing easier, and gave many 19th Century women genteel, respectable careers as paid typists. I could go on to list the personal computer, the world-wide web, the cellular phone - but we've seen how those inventions changed our lives.

    I'm hoping that the rise of e-readers will broaden the reading population.

    Some of my friends have grown up in households with no or few books. Many friends do not read for recreational purposes, only when their job demands it.

    My mom taught me how to read when I was four, one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given. Granted, she probably did it not just to enlighten her last-born little savage, but to gain some peace and quiet for herself. By the time kindergarten arrived with its 'See Spot Run' books, I was reading (slowly, and with much digression into dictionaries) my family's 50-year collection of National Geographic magazines.

    This may have helped my future grades, but it did nothing for my social life. No matter - I was a bibliophile from the start. I live in a house filled with books, most of them non-fiction. I have marked parts of my life with the books and series I read as I endured or celebrated those passages.

    As a sculptor and book artist, a lot of my artwork is based on art that can only be properly experienced in the layered, sequential form of books. Mine are handheld art installations, little sculptures of wood, glass, cloth, and sometimes even paper. And I'm good at it; my work is carried in galleries and curated by some well-known university special collections. Since 1998, I've made over 140 such books, in small editions or one-of-a-kind pieces. Most have sold within a few months of completion.

    And guess what? In a couple of months, if I'm lucky, I'm buying my first tablet after seeing a friend fall in love with his. Among other things, it's a spiffy reader. It stores more books than my home library. Bookmarking and annotating data is now simple. All my favorite magazines, from craft and art to science and history, are available by reasonable subscription. Reading isn't accomplished by pressing a button, but by a familiar page-turning fingertip swipe. Oh, and I can alter light levels and text size in a moment.

    Am I turning my back on the tactile wonderland of traditional books? No.
    In fact, I'm gearing up for a new round of book arts pieces in 2013. I won't discard my battered 1980's paperbacks, though I'm replacing some of them with exquisite hardcover reprints from a small press. I will still curl up with a cup of tea and a paper book on wintry evenings.

    But I'll be able to do a lot more of my career-required reading much more easily. I can carry work and recreational books with me nearly anywhere, thus opening more time for reading.

    I firmly believe it's not how you read - it's what you read, and how often.
    Last edited by Filigree; 11-16-2012 at 09:25 PM.

  18. #18
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    I love books, especially the old books. I love the smell and feel of the pages. I don't have an E-reader, but that is due to preference only.

    Kindle or online reading is reading, it's just not hardcover. It's all about preference.
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  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW mayqueen's Avatar
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    I saw the picture of Dante and Virgil in hell at the top of the article and knew it would annoy me. The author seems to think there is something sacred and irreplaceable about the physical act of reading from a book. It is just different, that is all.
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  20. #20
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    ...and shitting in an outhouse is a very different experience than shitting in a toilet, but they both empty the rectum.
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  21. #21
    Token mad scientist. RemusShepherd's Avatar
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    Ebook reading is reading, there's no doubt about that. But it is different, and I'm finding that I don't much like the difference. I can't easily page back to refresh my memory of an earlier scene in an ebook. I can't scribble notes in the margins -- while I can add annotations in some readers, I can't use the shorthand symbols that I had been using to mark up paper books. Worse of all is the eyestrain, which I never got while reading paper books. (Granted, I'm reading on an LED and not an e-ink display. Switching to e-ink would probably help my eyestrain.)

    Ebook reading isn't as pleasurable. I'm sure that I'm just an old fogie, and the next generation will hardly notice the difference, but I may be too attached to paper to ever enjoy reading any other way.
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  22. #22
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Thank you, NeuroFizz.

    Re: outhouses. While almanacs now come in digital versions as well as print, it's a lot harder to wipe oneself off with the e-reader.

    Remus, the newest generations of tablets take all that into account. But unless you are willing to sift through a manual or online help site, or have a tech-savvy friend help out, it may be more trouble setting up than you'd like.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    I just glanced at the article; there is a difference between holding an e-reader and holding a book, and I definitely prefer the book. But reading is reading, so anything else is just personal preference.
    I didn't read the article, but I prefer to hold a book. And then put it on a shelf.

    Here's an interesting thing: I always thought I was pretty excessive in the number of books I had (maybe 2,000 or 3,000 which is quite a lot because I lost my library back in 1996 when I moved to the tropics and all my books rotted (*arghhhh!!!* Damn you humidity!) But last night a French friend of mine showed me her library. Maybe 4,000, 5,000 books... She said "I know, it's not huge. But I lost a lot in the fire in 2002..."

    Also her books were in separate rooms. Because separate languages...

    *sigh*

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  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW meowzbark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RemusShepherd View Post
    Ebook reading is reading, there's no doubt about that. But it is different, and I'm finding that I don't much like the difference. I can't easily page back to refresh my memory of an earlier scene in an ebook. I can't scribble notes in the margins -- while I can add annotations in some readers, I can't use the shorthand symbols that I had been using to mark up paper books. Worse of all is the eyestrain, which I never got while reading paper books. (Granted, I'm reading on an LED and not an e-ink display. Switching to e-ink would probably help my eyestrain.)

    Ebook reading isn't as pleasurable. I'm sure that I'm just an old fogie, and the next generation will hardly notice the difference, but I may be too attached to paper to ever enjoy reading any other way.
    I can't stand reading books on LED, which is why I'll probably never upgrade from the basic Kindle. e-ink isn't as good as a paperback but it is much easier on the eyes.
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