by Barbara Greenstone
eReaders have been around for a while but I've mostly been ignoring them. I keep telling myself that, given a choice, I'd rather read from a printed page than from a screen. In my work, of course, I do read from a computer screen - whether it's emails, chats, web articles, blogs, NoteShare notebooks, or other digital documents. I seldom print anything. But when it comes to reading for pleasure, I'd rather sit down with a book. I've been a reader for more than half a century and why change now?
Having said that, I have to admit that Amazon's Kindle has me thinking... What is it I really love about books? Is it some kind of kinesthetic pleasure from holding it and turning the pages or is it purely the content? Do I prefer print books because it's really a better reading experience or is it a bias from years of habit?
If you walk into my house you will know right away that I am a book-lover. There are bookshelves everywhere. But I don't think of myself as a true bibliophile. I think true bibliophiles love the books themselves. They care whether it's a first edition. They care about the binding and the typeface and the quality of the paper. I don't care about any of these things. I do like seeing my books on the shelves but I'm not sure why. Maybe because scanning my eclectic collection gives some clues as to who I am, or who I have become over the years.
But now I'm thinking about that Kindle and thinking I might like to try it. David Pogue gives it a mostly favorable review in the NY Times and his is an opinion I have learned over the years to trust. I'm also thinking about whether eReaders like this have a future in education. I think many of our students do not have the same print prejudices that I have and might welcome an alternative to those heavy textbooks that fill up their backpacks.