Two kindle-related pieces

21 Aug

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about e-books and e-book readers, so I thought I’d share brief thoughts about two articles I read yesterday that touched on the topic.

The first is a blog post at the New York Times that I found through LISNews on students’ abuse of textbooks checked out from the school library. I can’t really comment on whether students are more or less destructive of their textbooks than in the past, since I am not a school librarian and do not have kids. However, I really doubt that the problem is “Kindle-reading parents [who] may have also forgotten the basics of book care.” I know that e-book readers are becoming more mainstream, but they are hardly so ubiquitous that most parents will have forgotten what it was like to read old-fashioned physical books. I realize that this was kind of a throwaway line and not necessarily a serious assertion, but I also think that sometimes we (librarians) get so excited about the new technologies that are related to reading and information access that we forget that not everyone is as into it as we are.

The second Kindle-related piece was an article in the New York Times yesterday called “E-books make readers less isolated.” In this article, the author suggests that with the rise of e-books and e-readers, reading is becoming more social than it used to be. There are two major parts of this equation – one is that the ability of some devices (like the iPad) to go online as well as display e-books allow the reader to connect socially at the same time that they are enjoying a book. The second is the coolness factor of shiny new tech that might reduce the social stigma of reading alone in public. As an early adopter of the Kindle (I have the first generation device), I have noticed that it can be a conversation starter. However, it’s more about interest in the device itself than interest in what I’m reading. This has definitely lessened now that Kindles are a bit more mainstream. I think they’ve lost the “ooh, shiny” factor – from this article, it seems that iPads are the new Kindle, in this sense at least. I think this supports the idea that it’s cool new devices, not the fact that they are being used to read books, that leads a stranger to strike up a conversation.

What do you think about the effects of Kindles and other e-readers? Are they really causing people to forget how to treat books? Are they leading to a more social reading experience? I’d love to hear your comments.

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One Response to “Two kindle-related pieces”

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  1. Tweets that mention Two kindle-related pieces « Marginalia -- Topsy.com - August 21, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sell ebooks, Amanda Grundmann. Amanda Grundmann said: New blog post: Two kindle-related pieces http://dlvr.it/45MDb […]

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