From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:
Can’t book-lovers all just get along?
You would think that ten years after the advent of the Kindle, we would have reached a sort of detente by now—and yet I still run across anti-ebook articles every time I turn around. The latest culprit is Lifehacker’s Patrick Lucas Austin, with a post warning readers that before they drop their hard-earned $249 on the new Kindle Oasis, they might want to consider that “Study after study show that reading on screens is, for various reasons, inferior to reading on paper.”
It’s odd to see such a luddite turn from Lifehacker, which is usually devoted to showing how various new bits of technology can make people’s lives easier. This piece rehashes several of the old “smell of books” arguments: that paper books are more memorable, that taking notes on paper works better than making digital notes, and that glowy screens keep you up at night.
Even if I assume these points are accurate (the retention argument actually isn’t as clear as Austin suggests), it’s hard to see what they have to do with the way most people use their Kindles. Austin seems to assume that the only people who are going to drop $249 on an e-reader are college students who think it will help them study, whereas I suspect that far more Kindle purchasers are interested in reading for enjoyment. And to those people, such anti-Kindle arguments simply don’t apply.
I’m not all that concerned about retention of a fiction book I’m reading for fun. Indeed, I’ll probably enjoy it more on a reread if I did retain less and can encounter all the good parts fresh all over again. And I’m not generally one for taking notes on my Kindle, either.
. . . .
And when it comes to the point about “light-emitting ereaders” keeping people awake at night, the article really is all wet. The anti-night-reading pieces Austin links talk about tablets, which use backlit LCD screens. However, the Kindle Oasis and other Kindle e-readers use front-lighting, which reflects light off the e-ink screen—just as you would do if you used a reading lamp on a paper book. So, this is a great argument against reading from a tablet or smartphone at night, but actually one that favors reading from an e-ink Kindle.
Link to the rest at TeleRead
PG agrees with Chris that a great many reviews of Kindle ereaders depict them as defeatured tablets instead of single-purpose devices optimized for that single purpose.
In PG’s typically timid opinion, e-ink screens are vastly superior to other electronic options for reading long-form text. PG has had a tablet and a Kindle of one sort or another for a long time. When he’s not sitting at his computer, he uses the tablet for bouncing around online and his Kindle for going deep into either fiction or nonfiction ebooks.
PG understands the tech aesthetic of having a single device that can do anything and is also light and small enough to take everywhere.
However, many people who are serious about their pursuits, professionally or otherwise, use specialized devices.
Professional graphic designers, artists and serious photographers tend to do their most intense work with large-screen, high-resolution computer monitors capable of being precisely color-adjusted and digital graphic drawing tablets instead of the iPads which all of them own.
Serious gamers, professional and amateur, use very specialized and expensive hardware in their pursuits. See, for example, the most radical gaming laptop ever which even comes with its own rolling hard travel case. No iPad is even in the same universe.
Fortunately, for serious readers, an e-ink Kindle is far less expensive.