Can Kindles and Books Coexist?

Recently I attended a lecture by Anne Patchett at the Carnegie Music Hall. She’s an author and seems to be a pretty good one, although I’ve never actually read any of her stuff. She seems like a wonderfully down to earth lady with a great respect for reading and books, and she’s been popping up in the news lately for opening a tiny bookstore in Nashville. She was shocked to see how much attention she’s been getting.

But that’s not the entire point. In her lecture she spoke about trying to bring back the book and the importance of tiny bookstores with staff who can actually recommend things, instead the online marketers such as Amazon who cannot. She also discussed how she doesn’t use e-readers (i.e. Kindles), but her husband does. Interestingly enough, she also mentioned how much MORE he reads now because of the convenience of the Kindle.

This kind of relates to our Future of Literacy projects as Kindles are beginning to catch on a whole lot. What do you guys think about them, and how do you think books are going to hold up against Kindles? What are the pros and cons?

Hope you all had great Thanksgiving breaks and didn’t get trampled in the Black Friday craziness.


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18 Responses to Can Kindles and Books Coexist?

  1. Lexicon says:

    I definitely feel that books and Kindles can coexist, or, rather, I Really hope that they can. I have personally not made the switch to eBooks, but I can certainly see the advantages in doing so. After giving the subject some thought, the only thing that really separates the two are tactile differences. It doesn’t Feel the same way to read a book on a Kindle as it does to read a regular book, but I feel that the differences stop there. You’re still processing information in the same way, no matter if you’re reading real ink or “e-Ink.” If the eBook does eventually stomp out normal books, I feel that the change is going to take a long time. There are still plenty of people out there who value traditional books and aren’t ready to jump over to a Kindle of Nook.

  2. Elle10a20 says:

    I agree with Lexicon in that the tactile differences between the ebook and the traditional book are the only major differences, besides of course the fresh smell of the pages and the good ‘ol flip of the page you get with the paperback or hardcover. It’s this actual practice of reading that we need to focus on because, with support for our argument, there really isn’t a difference. For me, the difference comes when the actual act of reading changes and the practice of critical reading or comprehension is altered.

    In my future of literacy paper I came across a cool video that featured this innovative, and highly technological version of the ebook. It’s called “The Nelson.” This device does exactly what the ebook does, but more by providing readers with a network of supplemental information right at the reader’s fingertips. On the side margin, an array of debates, articles, and historical information can be brought up at any moment to kind of enhance or deepen the understanding of the subject, or to provide an alternative viewpoint. This tool, while reading, can enhance the critical reading practice itself, which, in my eyes, constitutes a more substantial change in how we read off of a book, tablet, or anything. To conclude, I see the importance of the measurement of the actual practice of reading and how that changes over time in order to determine the differences of what we actually use to read.

  3. Jane says:

    I am so glad you brought up this article! That NPR piece reminded me so much of Kathleen’s Kelly’s Shop Around the Corner from You’ve Got Mail (I’m sure you all have seen it, right?), but the plotline is in reverse. In this case, the “big bad” Fox Books (the equivalent of Barnes & Noble, the superstore) doesn’t win out in the end. Something I’ve been thinking about for my Future of Literacy essay is the way in which libraries (and, as evidenced by this article, small book stores with real books) bring people together and foster a sense of community. E-books don’t do that.

    As a DC native, I often see businessmen and women on their commute with e-readers. My dad reads the “newspaper” every day on his Nook on his way to work. I can absolutely appreciate the convenience of not having to lug a book or newspaper around. My mom, more of a traditionalist like me (and an incredibly avid reader), always has a library book for her hour-long commute, but only checks out paperbacks because they’re lighter and more compact. Both she and I have gotten into conversations on the Metro with people because they have been reading a (physical) book that we had read and enjoyed, and we struck up a conversation about it. This may seem minor, but in an age in which we are increasingly “plugged in” and we shut ourselves off from our surroundings, there’s something meaningful about reading a (literally) page-turning book.

    So, I don’t think it’s just about the physical differences. Real books foster community, helping readers to make connections with a familiar librarian or book owner (or even stranger!). I am also finding that, as I read the novels and books of poetry that my mom has kept for decades, I am getting to know her as a teenager and young adult as I read her notes in the margins. Try doing that with a Kindle.

  4. kristenj says:

    Personally, I have an iPad so I can have either the Kindle app or the Barnes and Noble app on it and thus have many options when trying to buy a book that I think looks interesting and I love the convenience that this device provides; I’ve even been able to get a few of my books for school free on these apps. To answer your question, though, I have no doubt that books and Kindles can coexist. It’s all a matter of personal preference when a person decides to use either a Kindle or read from an actual book.

    Some people love the feeling of having a book in their hands, breaking it open, and smelling that new book smell (yes there is a smell and yes I am the crazy lady that is a fan of it). In terms of accessibility when using texts for school, I do prefer (if it is a textbook) to have the book physically in my hands rather than on my iPad. It’s just easier to take notes in, simply put. That’s not to say that the different e-reader apps don’t have programs in which you can simply highlight a passage and leave yourself a note, but it’s just a more arduous process.

    As for the e-reader, though, I love the convenience of it. Because I have to haul massive textbooks back and forth to class, I can truly appreciate the days when I can simply slide the iPad in my backpack and cart it to class instead (after all it is a heck of a lot lighter and can store infinitely more books on it than I’d ever be able to carry). What I’ve seen more recently, though, is that I use my e-reader for what you may deem “pleasure reading.” By pleasure reading I mean those books that you don’t have to read for class, that you actually want to read, and the only time you have available to read them is over the holidays. So as I’m dashing from school to my actual home, I love the convenience that my e-reader provides.

    To make a long story short, I see a lot of people now using e-readers. Now as to the future of actual printed books, I’m not entirely sure. If I’m being completely honest, somewhere in the future I see a world in which everyone uses e-readers; maybe by that time their note-taking system will become more efficient. Yes, it may be a sad thing to see that time come into being, as I would always miss the smell of a freshly cracked book.