Friday, February 8, 2013


I loved my Kindle. I say that in past tense because shortly after I got my iPad in December, I broke my Kindle --I dropped my hair dryer on it. I was multitasking—drying and reading.  It didn’t really seem to hit that hard. My husband witnessed the incident and didn’t think it was hard enough to damage it either.  But the Kindle was dead.

In a panic, I immediately located the new one that is closest to the older version I own (Kindle 2) I am really attached to this older one, but after several phone calls to Amazon, I finally was forced to accept the fact that I can’t get that version anymore. The newer version, along with a new cover, is sitting in my cart at Amazon.

So why haven’t I bought it yet? 

I am allowing a trial period to see if I get used to reading on the iPad.  I definitely did not buy it for that purpose, and was not expecting to read for long stretches on this back-lit device. (By the way, I do love my iPad for lots of other reasons—that’s another post.)

In this Kindle-less stretch, I have found that turning the background black on the IPad and the text white, eliminates some of the backlit-glare. Still not Kindle-easy-on the eyes-----but better.

So I am waiting...       

Meanwhile as I transition to iPad reading, I have made several observations about reading on e-readers and tablets and other electronic devices.

They definitely change how we read and how we think about reading.  And…I love reading this way.

And YES for all the Luddites who are cringing at that statement, I still love books—real book, bound books.  I still buy lots and lots of them.

But  instead of taking a pile of books with me on trips, I can conveniently throw the iPad or Kindle in my purse,  replacing my Bible, two devotion books, several magazines, the one or two or three books that I am always currently reading, and the several I always take in case I finish those.  I love having lots of books with me to suit whatever reading mood  grabs me.

There are, however, some definite problems with reading on e-readers and tablets.

I am not talking moral issues—some folks act as if reading in some other form rather than a traditionally bound book is one of the seven deadly sins.  To them I say reading is reading is reading.  As time has progressed, how we engage in reading has changed. Cave walls. Stone tablets. Papyrus scrolls, codices, handwritten manuscripts on parchment paper,  mass produced books (Thanks Gutenberg.)… and now e-readers, tablets… and in the future it will continue to change…

In an NPR interview,  I heard the Fania Oz-Salzberger, co-author, along with her father, Amos OZ, of Jews and Words  make the following statement:

And by the way, I don't think we are worried about the future of the book  ... Because in many ways our bookishness has come now — you know, looking at it from antiquity until today — full circle, tablet to tablet, scroll to scroll. And back with the tablets and the scrolls with a vengeance.

 Click here to read or listen to the entire interview.

No, the problems for me are not moral issues, but practical ones.

First, I can no longer book-watch, no longer make judgments about what you are reading and what type of person you might be based on your book. I can no longer see your cover.  Now I have to ask, rather than simply peeking at your cover and letting my imagination run wild.

And sometimes, I get confused about the specific kind of reading I am doing.  For example, when reading on my computer.  which does not have a touch screen, I sometimes try to flip the page with my finger.  And when reading on my iPad, I sometimes try to push the non-existent "Next" button--a left-over Kindle habit.

And when I am reading a bound book and come to a new or unknown word, I wait for the definition to appear when I touch the word.  And then I have a bigger dilemma when it doesn’t.   I can’t seamlessly keep reading with a new word now safely tucked in the corner of my mind for consideration later.  Do I now check an online dictionary? Do I actually get up and get my oversized and comprehensive American Heritage?

Underlining and annotating  books is also a dilemma.  What does happen if you try to write on an iPad with pen? I haven’t done it yet, but I can see it coming.

For a funny look at further “book vs electronic device” confusions check out this video based on It’s a Book by Lane Smith.

Today’s Deeper Reading Possibility

What is your favorite way to read?
What is your experience reading with e-readers and tablets?
Based on the history of reading, what do you think reading will be like in the future?

Write a humorous poem or story about reading.


  1. I love your confession that you book watch and make judgements about a person based on the book they are reading. I do the same thing. On the flip side of the coin, I might even hide a book in the bottom of my basket if I think it's a little too trashy compared to what I usually read. :) I have a copy of It's a Book in my classroom. It's a favorite of my students.

    I have come to rely on using the online dictionary which is at the tip of my fingers. One of my students commented on that the other day. He said he was getting used to using the dictionary on his Kindle and he missed it when he was reading regular books.

    Thanks for sharing. I think I'll share this post with my students and invite them to try your writing prompt.

    1. I will be interested in feedback from your students-- invite them to comment, as well as sharing their responses to the prompt.