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Old 11-16-2012, 02:20 PM   #44
QuantumIguana
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Device: Kindle Paperwhite 2 gen, Kindle Fire 1st Gen, Kindle Touch
The article can be summed up as "I prefer reading paper books, therefore, reading e-books isn't real reading!" It's like saying that dark meat isn't real turkey because you prefer white meat. The tactile experience of a great classic is identical to the tactile experience of a poor book, which seems to weaken the central importance of the feel of the book. If a hardcover gives a better tactile experience than reading a paperback, does it mean that reading a paperback isn't real reading? Or how about reading a very high quality hardcover book with an embossed book cover with gold leaf? Surely that must be the ultimate in reading. That fancy hardcover with the gold leaf may look nice on the shelf, but reading from it is no more real reading than is reading from an ordinary hardcover, a paperback... or from an e-reader. By dog eared paperbacks that are nearly falling apart are no less books than any other.

His Augustine example is strange. In his example, Augustine is engaging in bibliomancy, flipping a book open at random as if that gives you some insight. It's sort of like using a magic 8-ball, but in any case, there's no reason you can't flip to a random passage in an e-book.

Too many people just can't imagine that someone else might not like the same things they do. My wife likes ginger, I do not. She's not wrong to do so. And this person isn't wrong to prefer e-books, but is wrong in asserting that reading from an e-book isn't real reading. E-readers are physical objects, and thus have a tactical experience too - the words aren't disembodied things floating in front of our eyes. There is more to the reading experience than just the medium. There's the chair you sit in - if you use a chair at all. There's the lighting. There's the sound - some prefer music, I prefer silence. Some people like to have their favorite beverage at their side while reading. If he's going to insist that only with the tactile experience of paper is it real e-reading, then what of the other sensory aspects? Must I sit in a chair to read, or is it still real reading if I lie in bed? If I am reading a paper book, but lie the book in front of me and only touch it when I turn the pages, is that real reading?

He used braille as an example, but it doesn't work. He talks about the tactile experience of paper as being central to real reading, but people using braille are not doing so for the atmosphere of it, but to sense the words. You could just as easily argue that braille isn't real reading, because you aren't using your eyes. It would be an unreasonable argument, but that's the sort of argument he's making. And what about braille using an electronic device? Is that real reading.

Reading is reading, whether you read from clay tablets, stone, papyrus, paper or an e-reader.
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