"Do I love books or do I love reading?"
That question, posed by Ann Kirschner in a June 2 article on The Chronicle of Higher Education Web site, is something that those of us who are used to reading actual books may have to ponder in the next few years. Kirschner, an author and dean of William E. Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, figured out a unique way to explore this question: she decided to experiment by reading Dickens' Little Dorrit from four different sources: a paperback, an audio book, the Kindle and the iPhone.
The article examines the pros and cons of each medium, admiring aspects of each, but leaving the reader with the impression that although she loves physical books, Kirschner favors the iPhone experience. (Note: Interestingly, she predicts that the iPhone will be a "Kindle killer.")
In the end, she decides that she loves reading more than she loves books, noting, "[i]t is the sustained and individual encounter with ideas and stories that is so bewitching. If new formats allow us to have more of those, let us welcome and learn from them."
As if to confirm the eventual fate of books (but don't we already know it?) the Book Industry Study Group released the results of a survey today measuring consumers' attitudes toward e-books. In the survey, 20 percent of the respondents claimed they have stopped buying print books in favor of e-books. Good news for the e-book market; bad news for those who love reading a physical book.
If you're struggling with the rapid technological changes we're experiencing in the book world and the possibility that books as we know them may be morphing into another form, it might be worth taking a look at your bookshelves and asking yourself, "Do I love books or do I love reading?"
Let me know what you think.
Want to leave a comment?
Login or register for an account to join our
re: Empty bookshelves: the wave of the future
Sun, Feb 7 2010 2:21 PM
How does one view books on the iphone? I don't have one but this could be a way for me to increase my book collection without talking up so much space in my apartment (which I don't have anyway).