Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections on eReading, audio books and 'real' books

Over the last week and a bit I've had a chance to read on many different devices and I got thinking about the different ways I read and how reading has changed, but also stayed the same.
I picked up a Kindle this summer and I used it all summer for my adult reading. I love having the books right there when I want it. The books are often much cheaper (thanks in part to a high Canadian dollar)in electronic format and I also love not having books that I won't read again kicking around my house. There are enough books lying around to make my house seem homey anyway. I'm looking forward to not packing my bag full of books when I fly in March- and worrying that I don't have enough books with me. Having the ability to buy books where ever I am is a huge bonus. When I went to my mom's for Christmas I took several 'real' books with me. Since I buy all of my young adult books in paper to take to my classroom, I had to pack about 8 books. I finished them all one night and wasn't really in the mood to start an adult book that was sitting on my Kindle so I ordered the Lost Saint:A Dark Divine. I had read the first one in the fall and wanted to read the sequel. I didn't realize that I had read the first one on my Kindle. When I started the Lost Saint, I was a bit well...lost because I couldn't remember where the story left off. My first thought was to go to my blog and see what I wrote- and I was shocked that I hadn't written about it. Then I looked on my Kindle and there it was- I had purchased and read the first one electronically. The great thing was I went back and reread the last few chapters and got myself caught up with the story. I really liked that aspect.

There are however a few problems with reading on the Kindle. One you can't really share books on the Kindle (even though Amazon just announced you could do this- it is pretty lame if you ask me.) unless I give up my Kindle to a friend or student. That takes a bit of trust. The second problem is that I don't think I consider reading on my Kindle to be really reading. I don't know why- it is fast, it is a story and it is reading. I do a ton of reading online through twitter, blogs and facebook- but when I finish reading a ebook- I feel a lack of connection to the book. I've wondered before if it is because I can't see the cover and I'm not holding it in my hands. The thing is I really like reading on my Kindle- a lot! Maybe I just need to force myself to reflect (and blog!) a bit more after reading an electronic version.

We also downloaded a Percy Jackson book to listen to over our holiday travels. We were in the car driving a lot and so the boys (ages 9 and 11) decided we should listen to the next Percy Jackson- we are on book three having listened to book two this summer while driving. The boys really like it- they are content to sit without electronics and look out the window while listening. We were 10 minutes from finishing the book when we pulled into my mom's house on Christmas Day and the boys wanted to keep driving just to finish out the story. I really like that- my 11 year old is a real reader, but my 9 year old isn't- but he loves listening as well. The first thing they said to me as we were leaving yesterday is that we needed to get book four.
For me however, if I am driving it is great. I know the boys are happy and I am content to listen to the story- even if it is one I don't know. When I am the passenger though, I find it hard to follow. I tend to fall asleep in the car and I know I missed a bit of the story. Trying to go back and find your place on an audio book is a bit challenging. I enjoy the story while I am listening to it, but once it is finished, I don't really give it another thought. Yet the boys talk about it all the time. I wonder if it is because I like traditional reading and that is what I am use to- seeing the words and the cover and feeling the pages. Yet the boys are being exposed to all sorts of reading- ereading, audio books and paper books. I wonder what they think of this all.


  1. i read analogue and digital books. i like the sensory experience of an analogue book, especially the sounds and the touch and i've noticed that when i read online books i read less in one sitting . . . it's easier to be distracted and i don't know why. happy new year. steven

  2. I am hoping that soon Amazon will come up with systems that facilitate Kindle versions of books in the classroom better. I explored it a bit last year but was not encouraged with what was currently available:

  3. Highly energetic article, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

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