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Thread: e-readers and the evolving reader experience

  1. #1
    libertine librarian sandwitch's Avatar
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    e-readers and the evolving reader experience

    I want to hear your thoughts about reading digital text and the devices that display them. What devices have you used? How would you describe the reading experience? What do you wish was different?

    I like to think about the changes in reading experiences over time, and the external influences. For example, the current trend in trade paperback binding is highly ephemeral- acidic paper, glued spines, and delicate covers. The flimsiness of the format brings costs down, making books more accessible. The books, however, are unlikely to last a few readings- a quality that is decreasingly valued as more books are available and alternative formats, such as digital, make permanent storage impractical. Every time I move, I wish that more of my books were digital. It may increase the value of antiquarian books, but our generation will have little to contribute to that market.

    Please don't make a post solely to state your fetish for the smell of decaying paper. It is morbid and honestly I find it a little offensive.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    I have a Kindle Paperwhite. The storage feature is great, but it's really only good for novels and the like. The screen is to small for textbooks.

    I think that unfortunately, the current emphasis on tablets is going to cut the throat of e-ink readers. Which is dumb because e-ink is a superior format for reading text.

    It's especially irritating because these LCD tablets started booming about the same time color e-ink panels were about to hit. But the speed of e-ink panels, while plenty sufficient for reading isn't as fast as an LCD panel. Also the readers are single function, and people have bought in to the allure of the swiss army knife.

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    I have a Paperwhite as well, literally just got one. I think for me, the big allure is

    1) Ease of obtaining material. Project Gutenberg has a wealth of literature that's free. I downloaded Bram Stoker's Dracula in about 2 seconds, and it's a fantastic reading experience. I imagine there's a lot of stuff available for free in a less official capacity.

    2) Mobility. I'm moving overseas, and can take 100lbs with me in checked baggage. No books.

    Actually, I guess that's about it. But those are two pretty big points. #1 alone has prevented me from reading a lot of books, either because they aren't available at my local library or they're too expensive.

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    Member Aurast's Avatar
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    I have played around with various e-readers at stores: Kindle, Nook, some Sony thing, etc. I think the whole e-ink technology is very impressive, a very good medium for the written word. But I will always prefer the tactile experience of flipping real pages which I suppose is another way of saying I have a fetish for the smell of decaying paper, minus the smell of decaying paper part.

    I moved recently and I was sure to bring all of my books with me, and one of the first pieces of furniture I bought was a big sturdy bookcase for them! They fulfill the function of baseball cards in my life.

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    Out of curiosity, why is liking the smell of decaying paper offensive?

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anon View Post
    Out of curiosity, why is liking the smell of decaying paper offensive?
    Dude, stop obsessing about how she smells. That's racist against librarians.

    Personally, I got an old school e-ink reader. It's all right. I have that, and I have at least two newer style tablet devices. Honestly, I tend to do reading on either pre-millenial style dead tree books or on the tablets. Why? Because the e-ink reader is a unitasker and the tablets aren't. Seriously, am I going to lug around a Google Nexus or an iPad *AND* an eInk reader? No.
    Last edited by Osito Polar; 02-15-2014 at 02:59 AM.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

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    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    You know, it is more than possible to read e-books on some of these smart phones the youngsters are going on about. You don't need a tablet. You don't even have to wear your dentures!


    And I think it is more than possible to like both types of books. I figured out how to get some e-books through the city library. It's awesome because you don't have to go return them... they just expire!

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    DOA Space Invaders Champion Neville's Avatar
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    They're useless for anything other than novels. I have a kindle and I love it for reading trashy fantasy novels but for textbooks and pdfs it's a piece of shit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anon View Post
    Out of curiosity, why is liking the smell of decaying paper offensive?
    Everyone needs something to be offended by.

  9. #9
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    Personally, I got an old school e-ink reader. It's all right. I have that, and I have at least two newer style tablet devices. Honestly, I tend to do reading on either pre-millenial style dead tree books or on the tablets. Why? Because the e-ink reader is a unitasker and the tablets aren't. Seriously, am I going to lug around a Google Nexus or an iPad *AND* an eInk reader? No.
    Why not? Have you never lugged around a laptop and a paperback?
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  10. #10
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I have a Kobo Vox...and it is a few years old, and only now am I reading my first actual book on it. I read a lot online already, so reading a book on a screen is no biggie to me...but I do still prefer paper.

    Digital pros:
    -easier to drink a cup of tea and read--you can turn a page with your thumb; no need to set down the tea mug.
    -achievement awards...as I read more on my Kobo, it gives me little achievement badges...which is dumb in theory, but fun anyway.
    -mobility of the book collection
    -availability of free content
    -swiss army-like aspect of a smart-reader...my reader also plays nice music for me while I read if I want.
    -kids books can include animation and narration
    -can read easily in the dark

    Paper pros:
    -tactile sensation
    -ease of page-flippery and dog-earing and multiple bookmarking
    -collectable
    -variable sizes available
    -can see entire images without scaling
    -actual books laying around the house may serve as conversation pieces
    -easier to start a fire with if/when the zombie apocalypse happens
    -can make little animations if book is thick and you have a drawing device such as a pen
    -kids books can have pop-ups(the good kind), textures, etc. board books and such also serve to develop fine motor skills for infants/toddlers.
    -books are decorative and useful...unlike a lot of other decor.
    -you don't have to plug in a paper book, and it will never interrupt your readings with prompts from other apps or with pleas to recharge it.

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