Do e-books change the way you read?

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Nathan Bransford
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Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 13th, 2011, 5:14 pm

As chronicled on my blog, I'm on a bit of an F. Scott Fitzgerald kick lately. I read THE GREAT GATSBY and am now reading TENDER IS THE NIGHT, both on my iPad. And today I realized something. I've been reading e-books for three years now, but I'm nearly positive this is the first time I've ever re-read a book on an e-reader that I first read in print.

I didn't notice a difference in the experience of reading THE GREAT GATSBY in print vs. e-book, except for one thing: I'm now able to click words I don't know for instant definitions and was able to click over to Wikipedia to learn about Tremalchio, who Fitzgerald references.

But I might be alone on this - some people feel like it's a very different experience when you're not holding the pages. Do you feel like print vs. e-books offers a fundamentally different reading experience?

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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by HillaryJ » February 13th, 2011, 5:36 pm

I use very few of the additional features on my kindle, and was dismayed when the "passages highlighted by others" feature came out. I'm reading a book, not networking, thanks.

I'm not certain what it is about reading on my kindle, but when I find a book that is complicated, engaging and very well written, I want to read it on paper. Even if I've sampled it on my kindle, I move on to the paper version to finish the book. I guess it's a tactile thing, holding the paper and actually turning the pages adding another dimension to the reading experience.
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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by ARJules » February 13th, 2011, 5:59 pm

I just got a Nook for Christmas and, to be honest, I read more now than when I was reading solely paper books. I think part of it is the ease in which I can get the books. Being in a highly populated area, the thought of fighting through traffic and dealing with crowds of people sometimes makes me feel like I either need to vomit or go on a homicidal spree. So for everyone's safety, I stay home. Having an e-reader, I can download my books with carefree ease, at no risk to anyone else.

I also have to agree with Nathan. I love having the 'look up word' feature on my Nook. (Although it is easier to look up words on the iPad.)

Also, am I that only one that finds it easier to read while curled up in bed at night?

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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by tobywallis » February 13th, 2011, 6:19 pm

You're not the only one who finds it easier to read them in bed. My wife got angry at the first paperback she tried to read in bed after a few months of reading exclusively on kindle.

I was surprised at how reading e-books did not feel different from reading print. I was expecting it to be a more pronounced difference but once I was engaged in the reading I found it to be almost identical. The only thing that I did notice was not having the thickness of the pages indicating how far from the end I was. There is a percentage at the bottom of the screen showing how far through the book you are but I don't tend to look at it. In some cases the remaining pages almost added to the anticipation of story as you can literally feel the end approaching.

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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by Susan Quinn » February 13th, 2011, 7:04 pm

I didn't think there was any difference, except for the giddiness of the instant-download-and-read experience, until I wanted to buy a book to analyze (for plot and craft). Then I had a need for paper - to make notes and to flip back and forth quickly from chapter to chapter. I realized I had done the same for other reference books lately. However, I have the Nook - maybe the iPad has better tech for making notations and moving quickly around without a search function? Beyond that, I'm a huge fan of Nook, especially the ability to share e-books. My family is spread out around the country, but now we can easily share books - instantly! :)
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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 14th, 2011, 7:35 am

I read more often and I find reading more comfortable on my Kindle. I know it sounds silly, but I think it has a lot to do with not having to hold the pages open and the Kindle is lighter than a hardback and easier to read in bed and at the gym. Particularly at the gym! Reading books at the gym was impossible, I couldn't hold the book open and jog on the treadmill at the same time. Not an issue with my e-reader. The bigger text also gives me less motion sickness if I'm jogging while reading. Weird.

I haven't purchased as many books as I did before though, but I think it is because the instant access makes me stop and consider before I buy. If I'm going to get it RIGHT NOW then I should be ready to read it RIGHT NOW and if I'm not, then I don't buy it yet. I don't think it will make a huge difference in the long run how many books I buy since I'll still buy them, I just don't buy two or three at a time like I'd do at Borders or on Amazon and then put them in the ever-growing TBR pile. My Kindle has greatly diminished my need for a TBR pile.
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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by Robin » February 14th, 2011, 11:32 am

Yes, yes, and yes! I read more than I ever have before. My kids have even downloaded books to read on my iPad (w/o my permission, so I have to change my password). The instant gratification of not only ordering a book, but getting a sample, reading other's comments, highlighting passages, and using the dictionary have made reading almost addictive.

Its gotten so bad, I take my iPad to the school when I'm Mystery Reader.
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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by KatieT » February 14th, 2011, 12:29 pm

Yes, absolutely!

I read more, and find that I am more comfortable while reading. Holding the pages open, having to turn them, propping open a heavy/big book - it was all very uncomfortable for me, with my back problems. Now, I can hold my Nook with one hand, or prop it up near me, and read to my hearts' content in the most comfortable position I can find.

I can see how there would be some strangeness in reading an e-Book that you previously and initially read in print. However, the convenience of e-Books and e-Readers trumps that, I think. All of your books are in one place, easily accessible at any time, and don't take up any more room than a single paperback novel. Who wouldn't love that?!
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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by Doug Pardee » February 18th, 2011, 8:06 pm

I can't say that I feel like it's different, but there certainly are differences. For one thing, I'm able to make the print large enough that I can read in bed without glasses or contacts. I never read in bed before, because it was just too much of a hassle to find where my bookmark had slid off to, put the bookmark in the book, shut off the book-light, put the book away, take off my glasses, and put them away. Now, I just shut off the reader, shut off the book-light, and put the reader away.

Also, I read faster and better because I don't have nearly as much trouble keeping track of what line I'm on, and my eyes aren't being distracted by that typo on the other page.

I'm also reading a lot of free material. That means that I'm reading a much wider variety of authors, most of them fledglings. It also means that I have no problem with bailing out of a novel if it's not working for me.

All-in-all, I've probably read more fiction in the almost-a-year that I've had my NOOK than I read in a decade before.

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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by jnduncan » February 19th, 2011, 2:06 pm

I don't own an ereader as of yet. Now that they're getting to the sub-$100 range, I might actually get one soon. That book thickness issue is an interesting one. I like that feeling of inching through the book and watching the pages to the end get smaller and smaller. As an author, something I speculate on, is the fact that people read more on digital (which is a good thing) and then of course want the books to be cheaper so they can more easily support their reading habit. The perception that the digital version of a book is of significantly less value than one of paper, bothers me. Will the uptick in numbers of books read by people outweight the decline in prices? For most authors, I suspect the answer to this is no. The Anne Hockings (sp?) of the world are very few and far between. To me, a good novel is worth more than $.99-1.99. Books aren't quick commodities like songs and movies (unless perhaps you're a speed reader). A movie ticket is $10 or more depending on where you live. A good novel is worth less of an investment? Not in my opinion. Is it the equivalent of an itunes song? Buck a book? Hardly. I understand ereaders make it easier to read more books, and avid readers would like to take advantage of that. But it has little to do with the value of the story. I love a lot of things about the rise in digital publishing, but this cheapening of the value of the story is not one of them.

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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by GeeGee55 » March 31st, 2011, 11:05 pm

I love the feature on my Kindle that allows me to download a sample before I have to buy the book. The first four chapters give me a really good idea of whether or not I'd like to continue reading - especially a few books I found on writing. I found one that I knew wasn't for me after I got through the first couple of chapters, and I also found one from the Gotham Writer's Workshops that had all the information for which I've been searching.

Classics can be found for very little in some cases; other books can be close to $10 or even a bit more.

Overall, I'm glad someone gifted me with a Kindle.

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Re: Do e-books change the way you read?

Post by stephsco » April 8th, 2011, 11:48 am

I'm reading my first e-book now via the Kindle app for my smartphone. The screen is a lot smaller than an e-reader, but I already love the portability and flexibility of having an e-reader, so I'll be getting a larger one soon. Reading in bed is definitely a plus. Even eating at lunch at work, it's less hassle to try and keep the book open on the table while you eat when the device lays flat on its own.

Pretty much everyone I've talked to personally who has an e-reader says they feel like they can read faster and more often. This is great news! I have friends who read 1 or 2 books a year who are now downloading multiple books at a time on their Kindle (you wonder why they even got one if they read so seldom, but that's another good sign).

There are some books I will continue to buy in print. Books by authors I love, or books I think I will share with others.

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