Reading in the Digital Age

As cheering and delayed Happy Birthdays wafted around me, the glistening, black box with orange letters printed “Kindle Fire HD” revealed itself through red wrapping paper. The room went silent as I felt stares pierce me, waiting for a reaction. I smiled and touched the black box and then smiled again. My audience breathed a sigh of relief.

I had long avoided this moment but was extremely relieved that I didn’t have to do the dirty deed myself. That is, give in to the Digital Age.

I am a traditionalist, especially when it comes to literature. I will read under a tree on purpose and visit the book section in Walmart just to get a whiff of the “new book” smell. I enjoy eyeing my bookshelf from time to time and admiring my collection of classic literature. Lastly, I just enjoy the feeling of picking up a book to read it, followed by the sweet satisfaction of putting it down when you have read it all. We humans have been so accustomed to reading this way for centuries that any other method would not be acceptable. Until, the Kindle Fire was gifted to me.

The famous e-reader from Amazon has revolutionized the act of reading and has garnered rave reviews from thousands of users. I fell in love with the Kindle ever since I saw a friend use it. The clarity of the screen drew my gaze and the smooth precision of the keyboard lured me in. It was evil and I convinced myself, I wanted nothing to do with it. How could I further disintegrate the physical book by purchasing an e-reader and lose touch with my traditionalist views? Well, it was a gift so it’s not my fault.

Below I have listed pros and cons of both the physical book and the Kindle. Both lists are entirely subjective. These pros and cons are based on my experiences. As I was writing this list, I found it very difficult to think of cons for the Kindle, yet found the task relatively easy for the physical book. Does this notion spell danger for my traditionalist views? Maybe, maybe not.

To put it simply, for me the pros of the Kindle outweighed the pros of the physical book. Ever since I was gifted the Kindle, I have been using it non-stop. It’s just so easy to use and thousands of books are basically at my fingertips. Not to mention, many trees are saved. I guess I just switched gears from a traditionalist to an environmentalist. That’s a good enough excuse, right? Yes it is because everyone loves trees.

So if you are a traditionalist like me and don’t want to dishonor the physical book by buying an e-reader, I have just one word of advice for you: Not all changes are bad.

Kindle E-Readers

Pros

  1.   Convenience/Accessibility
  2.   Environment friendly
  3.   Access to free books through Amazon Prime

Cons

  1.   Little variety of textbooks
  2.   Eye strain from backlit screen
  3.   Cannot sell used/read e-books

Book Readers

Pros

  1.   Carrying the torch of tradition
  2.   Being able to take notes
  3.   Can sell back used books

Cons

  1.   Lack of availability/accessibility
  2.   Eye strain due to spontaneous prints
  3.   More expensive than e-books

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