Monday, February 20, 2012

E-Readers - Love them or hate them

Love them or hate them; readers know about e-readers and e-books (unless, of course, you’re living under a rock). Of course, if you’re reading this you’re likely on the web and the likelihood of you knowing about e-readers is probably a lot greater. But ah, the internet. Where everyone can come and go as they please, littering the web with their defined (or not so defined) opinions of whatever strikes their fancy. A place where people can make doodles to back up their opinions or just type away in a blog post about what they really think and publish it to the world. A lot of people use the internet as a platform to address important issues with the government, healthcare, general things that could potentially affect the lives of many. It can also be used for fun; whether you're watching YouTube videos or are getting notifications to partake in the latest planned flash mob. Or, and this is something that I am guilty of, the internet can be used to brainlessly pass time and give you an excuse to not do the things you need to do. Tumblr? Pinterest? I'm looking at you. Do you know how many hours I waste on both sites? And it's through these hours of looking at post after post that I caught something interesting on Tumblr: e-reader hatred.

E-readers have been a popular debate topic in the publishing world since their arrival. There are some really interesting points made on the internet, whether written for newspapers or on blogs such; and then there is the brainless type of hatred that I’ve come across on different sites. And when I say hatred, I mean hatred.

(source unknown because it's been going around Tumblr for months with no credits)

I've found other statements such as:
"Kindles are stupid"
"People who buy kindles, regardless of reasoning: kill me"
"I hate Kindles and anything else of that kind"
"Kindles are WORTHLESS I love reading BOOKS"

Plus various posts of people blaming Kindles directly (specifically, it seems that Nooks and iPads aren't getting quite the same attention, but I am grouping them in with Kindles for this entry) for specific store closings.

Not all commentary is like this. There are some statements that balance general dislike to uncertainty of e-readers and with much less cursing and usage of the caps lock key. Some opinions consider the use of the device, or some readers may own books and e-readers, and their opinions tend to sink into my mind a little more:
"It makes me sad to see people on kindles and e-books, because they are not the same as an actual book."

Obviously there are a number of people who adore their e-readers or else e-readers wouldn't be selling so well. Some have taken on reading from e-readers and nothing else, while others still prefer the use of a printed book. 

I asked my facebook followers to provide me with their opinion of e-readers and had an overwhelming response. I felt that love or hate e-readers, everyone had great points. But how could I present these opinions in a good light? Aside from taking a stand against "the haters" of e-readers whom seem to personally attack e-reader supporters, I couldn't show everyone else's opinions without sharing some of my own. So read on and see what some book lover's had to say (with a sprinkling of my own thoughts through out!).

"I love my kindle, easy to read on the subway in nyc," - Charlie

"I like e-readers to a point. I think they are incredibly practical when on the go or when the bookstores are closed. However, I still prefer an actual book to my kindle. I mean you just can't curl up with a good pdf... it's not the same." - Cathy

All in all, there is a rainbow of opinions out there about e-readers and people are welcome to those opinions. But what bother's me most is the first mentioned comments. The comments from people who proclaim that reading on an e-reader makes the reader 'lazy', that e-readers are entirely to blame for the death of publishing or bookstores, and that a person reading from an e-reader is no longer a "real" book worm because they are lacking the book.

Three years ago I wrote a post titled The Great Debate about e-readers. Kindles had just been released to the world and I was against them with every part of my being. I cringe at my opinion from that point in time because I feel that I was so blind to the truth of e-readers. 

So what do I think of the Kindle? I think it's appropriate for some people and would be worth the expense. But I like my hard covered, mass market, paperback books just fine. I like having towering bookshelves that I can decorate with photo frames and the books I read.
- The Great Debate

At least I wasn’t too judgmental. But I made that judgment based off of what little information I had. So what is up with e-readers? Is owning an e-reader by default a way to make you "lazy"? Are you not a “real” book worm since you aren’t reading from a printed book? Are they the apocalypse of publishing? What about waste management of e-readers vs. printed books? And did the Kindle really kill Borders?

There are so many ways to branch off on the topic of e-readers and I’m going to take advantage of that. Hopefully the next few posts I make will be insightful and not just turn into the typical opinionated rambling of an online blogger. But I suppose we’ll see! 

Interested in more e-book ranting/loving?

Check these posts out:

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