Are we losing our ability to read? Skim reading is the new normal! Do we lose depth in digital reading? E-books will kill the libraries and small bookstores!
Every few days, I come across an article denouncing digital reading and e-books. I do agree with all the love print books receive, but are e-books and e-readers really that evil?
A lot has been said about the advantages of digital books like accessibility and portability. I am not going to bore you with a recap of that. But I would share my experiences with digital reading. For someone who loves books, it is not the medium but the content that should matter. I would not mind picking up an e-book if it is more accessible. And of course, there is the convenience of adjusting the font size, particularly for middle aged and seniors. A feature of Kindle books that I particularly enjoy is highlighting, and the fact that the same phrase resonated with other readers too. As for retention, all kinds of reading require active reading. Skimming is as much possible on print books as e-books.
Let me take you back around 25 years. My grandfather loved to read. But as a 90-year-old, his optical nerves had degenerated that could not be fixed by surgery. Not to be deterred, he found this contraption that was a magnifying glass with a built-in light. Imagine if we had Kindles back then. He would have been completely unstoppable.
The Juggernaut app deserves a special mention here. Congratulations to the team behind it on reaching the 5000 subscribers milestone. I subscribed to read The Idol Thief by S. Vijay Kumar (then an episodic and a book that I highly recommend) and have since been completely hooked. The quality of writing by some amateur authors there is at par with seasoned ones. Does it matter that these books and short stories are only accessible on the phone? Not for me at least. I enjoy them irrespective.
It is time we give digital reading, and particularly e-books some love too. Each medium has its market and audience. Let it not be considered the big bad wolf trying to huff, puff, and blow the print book market down.
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