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Thread: "E-reading isn't reading"

  1. #26
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    Yes, it's pretentious, and over-wrought, and too sweeping.

    But I actually agree with a lot of what he has to say. Yes, much is gained, but something IS lost in the move to screen-reading.

    (shrugs)

    I'm not going to say that e-reading isn't reading, but it is different, and far from my preference.

  2. #27
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    I prefer printed books, but I wouldn't say e-reading isn't reading. The experience could be different, but it's still reading.
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  3. #28
    It's too hot Mclesh's Avatar
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    I actually thought I wouldn't like using an e-reader and was surprised with my first e-book. The pages were easy to read. I don't remember having any eye strain. Not that I'm planning to give up on paperbacks. Not at all.

    Like so many of you have said, it's just different.

  4. #29
    I was only joking! Honest! mirandashell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RemusShepherd View Post
    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.
    I just physically and mentally shuddered.......


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  5. #30
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    I stopped after the writer seemed to assert that an Augustine in the age of scrolls or an Augustine in the age of screens couldn't have had a conversion experience.

    I guess the conversion induction nerves are all located in that part of the fingerpad which receives pressure from insertion into a book.
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  6. #31
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swvaughn View Post
    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.
    Yes. Ebooks are teh devil. I love paper and I get angry when a book I want to read isn't available in print. I can't put an eBook on my shelf as a trophy to my literacy.

    The article however, is a bunch of shit and Slate probably needed a filler piece.
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  7. #32
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    We're writers here, right?

    Can we please stop referring to it as an article, and refer to it as an excerpt, which is what it is?

  8. #33
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willietheshakes View Post
    We're writers here, right?

    Can we please stop referring to it as an article, and refer to it as an excerpt, which is what it is?
    I won't call it an excerpt because I don't know if it was excerpted, which means to me that it was cut from a much larger work. I don't know how the book that this was reprinted from is laid out. This could be a complete essay on this topic from that book.
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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by swvaughn View Post
    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.
    I greatly prefer holding an reading a print book, but reading a story is reading a story. I do suspect there something in the "hold our attention" factor, but that's just a guess. From my experience, those who read e-books do seem to put them down faster and more often than those who read print, but I don't know if this is widespread, or just happens to be the case with the few people I've watched read e-books.

    I know it's true for me. When I hunker down with a print book, I read longer, and lose myself faster and deeper. But I'm old.

  10. #35
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    I won't call it an excerpt because I don't know if it was excerpted, which means to me that it was cut from a much larger work. I don't know how the book that this was reprinted from is laid out. This could be a complete essay on this topic from that book.
    Good lord - I've been out-pedanted. Huzzah!

    Okay, don't call it an excerpt if you don't want. But it sure as fuck isn't an article.

    There's a review of this in tomorrow's National Post - I'm now very, very curious to read it.

  11. #36
    Delerium ex Ennui Xelebes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leahzero View Post
    This article is just going to make me angry, isn't it?
    Why get angry when you can laugh heartily?

  12. #37
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    I've now read it a couple of times, and I'm a bit puzzled: can someone point me to where, in the excerpt, the AUTHOR says that e-reading isn't reading?

    Not the subhead (which, we all know, the writer isn't responsible for), but within the text?

    Thanks.

  13. #38
    practical experience, FTW mayqueen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RemusShepherd View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by mirandashell View Post
    I just physically and mentally shuddered.......


    You are never borrowing one of my books!
    I never mark up novels, but I definitely mark up nonfiction like crazy. By and large academic texts are not on e-readers, and I probably wouldn't want to read them on one because I take lots of notes in the margins. I know some of my colleagues do all of their note-taking on their laptops or using iPads or whatever else. I just can't get into that. I also loan out my academic texts. It does drive me crazy, though, when someone loans me a book with their markings in it. I want to find the point for myself!

    Ah, I guess that means I agree with the author in certain ways.
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  14. #39
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    to underscore irony, there is a Kindle version of the book.

    'E-reading isn't reading' is the abstract one takes from the excerpt, during which the author enshrines the physical act of reading. Sad thing is, I can agree with him on a few points.

    E-readers are great for research or recreational reading.

    But nothing still sends chills up my spine like visiting one of the Book Arts rooms at Cambridge, the Southwest rooms at Arizona State or the Phoenix Public Library, or the the assorted libraries I saw in Italy years ago. There are books in my personal collection that I'm glad are not digital, because petting them is a large part of reading them.

    Ceremonial reading is a combination of all the senses funneling straight into the mind. I've had many almost 'conversion' experiences over the years, and they were nearly all in the presence of great books, great art, or amazing weather.
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  15. #40
    Mm. Well, I have an overwhelming preference for print books, this is true. Still, it's an aesthetic preference. If I were to read the same book in one format or the other, it'd still be the same book.

    I wonder how the scribe of the "article" or "excerpt" or whatever we're calling the linked thing feels about audio books? The earliest stories were passed down orally, after all.

    What bothers me about this is more the underlying implication that e-books aren't real books, therefore the people who write them aren't real writers. Which is just insulting on a level I'm sure I don't need to explain to anyone here.
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  16. #41
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhoda Nightingale View Post
    Mm. Well, I have an overwhelming preference for print books, this is true. Still, it's an aesthetic preference. If I were to read the same book in one format or the other, it'd still be the same book.
    Which isn't a point he's actually arguing.

    I find myself fascinated by the emphasis in the piece on the physicality and the actions of reading -- they get to the heart of why I read differently on paper vs on screen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhoda Nightingale View Post
    What bothers me about this is more the underlying implication that e-books aren't real books, therefore the people who write them aren't real writers. Which is just insulting on a level I'm sure I don't need to explain to anyone here.
    If you take the subhead out of the equation -- and I think one must -- I don't get that implication at all.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by willietheshakes View Post
    We're writers here, right?

    Can we please stop referring to it as an article, and refer to it as an excerpt, which is what it is?
    An excerpt just tells readers there's more if they want it. I didn't notice it saying it was part of a larger work, which is what an except is. And whatever it is, it's a standalone piece. I would say it isn't an article, though. I'd say it's really more of an essay than anything.

    I've sold similar pieces, and they always sell as essays.

  18. #43
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhoda Nightingale View Post

    What bothers me about this is more the underlying implication that e-books aren't real books, therefore the people who write them aren't real writers. Which is just insulting on a level I'm sure I don't need to explain to anyone here.
    I didn't get that at all. Most selling e-books out there are released in print first, and then become an e-book. Same writer, same words, but published in a different form. This piece is about the difference between the form of the books, and has nothing to do with who wrote them.

    There are differences. That's just how it is. Some may be good, some may be bad, but we will interact with the differently.

    I also read nothing that said an e-book isn't reading.

    A lot of things are being inferred that were never implied.

  19. #44
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    An excerpt just tells readers there's more if they want it. I didn't notice it saying it was part of a larger work, which is what an except is.
    Gasp! I had no idea that's what an excerpt was!

    From the byline: 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 Jamesaritchie View Post
    And whatever it is, it's a standalone piece. I would say it isn't an article, though. I'd say it's really more of an essay than anything.
    I'm fine with that.

  20. #45
    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    I didn't get that at all. Most selling e-books out there are released in print first, and then become an e-book. Same writer, same words, but published in a different form. This piece is about the difference between the form of the books, and has nothing to do with who wrote them.

    There are differences. That's just how it is. Some may be good, some may be bad, but we will interact with the differently.

    I also read nothing that said an e-book isn't reading.

    A lot of things are being inferred that were never implied.
    You know how uncomfortable it makes me when we agree, right?

  21. #46
    practical experience, FTW CQuinlan's Avatar
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    I wonder if people made the arguments that books weren't as good as sitting around the story telling each other bits of a story you happen to remember when they became popular...

  22. #47
    carpe libri Amarie's Avatar
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    It's quite a leap for Piper to assume Augustine was only moved to his religious experience because he was reading a book and not a scroll: "Not just reading but reading books was aligned in Augustine with the act of personal conversion."

    Most people who experience a profound religious revelation would say it's the words that bring them to it, not the casing or manner in which they read or hear the words.

  23. #48
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    I used to think there was a significant difference between Kindle-reading and book-reading. Turned out I just couldn't get into Slaughterhouse-Five. I don't think medium made a huge difference there.

    The exception is cookbooks, because I don't really read them anyway, and the way I use cookbooks, it's easier to have a physical book.
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  24. #49
    Imagined half of it. Bookewyrme's Avatar
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    I stopped reading when he referenced Augustine, but one point bothers me. I'm fairly sure (though I could be wrong) that Augustine would not have been reading the Bible in book form as we think of it. After all, wasn't Augustine alive and writing before the advent of the printing press? Wouldn't he have been reading a scroll more likely?

    As for the larger topic, everything I have to say has already been said by others before. Except I'm MORE likely to make notes/'mark-up' a book on my e-reader than a paper book. I have a hard time even making myself write in my academic books. I don't know why.

    But really, all you people with your newfangled paper aren't REALLY experiencing reading properly. Clay tablets and papyrus are the only TRUE way to experience the written word! Duh.
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  25. #50
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    The experience of reading an ebook and a "pbook" version of a book is different. And it's different for different people, as several of the posters here have said.

    Each has advantages over the other.

    Among them is the fact that you can store a hundred or a thousand or (not too many years from now) a million ecopies in one device. You can also do searches within an ecopy a lot faster and more flexibly. Ebooks can also have active and interactive images inside them.

    Pbooks however have benefited from several centuries of evolution in the ease and pleasure of reading printed matter. Just think how many thousands of work-hours have gone in making better fonts, as one of many examples.

    In the next few years ebooks will improve drastically. They will become lighter, skinnier, more tactile, and the displays will become easier to read. The price will continue to drop, to the point where we may have a dozen or dozens of ereaders and/or tablets scattered around our homes and work places. The software and procedures for creating, buying, and sharing books and magazines will become easier, cheaper, and more pleasant.

    Sorry! In addition to being an author, I'm also a software and systems engineer who's been tasked both at NASA and Boeing to predict future tech. Sometimes the extrapolation habit kicks in!

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