From what I’ve read on here and elsewhere, it seems that most people, given the choice, prefer the sensory experience of a real, honest-to-goodness, paper book. And I should ‘fess up straight off and say that I don’t, in fact use an e-reader or any other electronic reading device for pleasure. So if my technical facts are wrong here, please feel free to set me right.
However, more and more people do read on Kindles and other e-readers, and as someone about to release an e-book, I’m pretty happy about that. I understand the convenience of downloading new books, and also the ability to carry around what wold be a back breaking pile of paper in one slim device is pretty attractive.
But what about tablets? This article from The Age talks about the trend of reading on devices such as iPads and their competitors.
There seem to be two major issues to me with using a tablet for reading.
1) Hope I’m not going to make a fool of myself here, but as I understand it, they still have a computer like screen – a backlit screen. The toned down, black-and-white Kindle screen seems much more relaxing on the eye, and would I think allow you to become fully immersed in your book without risking eye strain and headaches.
2) Crucially, tablets are full of distractions. When you sit down with a book, the words in front of you should be enough to engage your interest. But with a tablet, you could be reading, and then just pop off to check your email, look up a word or concept on Google, or heaven forbid, write a blog post. The temptation to whizz off and do something else when you come to a slow part of the text must be overwhelming for poor attention- deficit people like me.
EDIT: A fascinating related post on how e-readers can affect your reading patterns, from Tech Information and News for the Rest of Us.