Monday, November 24, 2008

Digital Reading

USA Today reports that Random House is going to publish more of its books in digital format to meet a growing demand for digital reading. I have to admit I don't get it.

What is the benefit of reading a book digitally? I would rather have a real, "flesh and blood" book in my hands. Some say a digital book has an advantage in that it is searchable--you can find any word you want. But, isn't that what a pencil is for? There is just something fulfilling about a physical library growing as you read new books and they find their proper place on the right shelf. Its a great day when you need to reshuffle books on other shelves so you can make room for the latest tome on some other shelf. It means I need to get used to a new configuration of shapes and colors in my library. I can't imagine just having one device sitting all by itself on a coffee table. Seems boring to me. I love those moments when I need to search my shelves for old bookmarks because I have too many books going at the same time. A digital bookmark is too intangible to be of any value to me.

Do you purchase and read digital books? Have you purchased a digital reader? Am I a bilioluddite?


J said...

I purchase more digital books now than I do physical books.

The big advantage for me is that I can read them anywhere. I have maybe 900 books available to me anywhere I go - in the car, at work, at lunch, etc. (not all were purchased, many were free)

I enjoy the look of a nice, big bookshelf, but having that sort of library available to me at a moments notice is WAY more valuable.

Rusty said...

I can see the benefits to having a digital library, but I don't see it replacing the printed realm. There are too many physical qualities associated with reading a real book. The look, feel, smell, texture, sound (fingers along the page), etc.

Phil Steiger said...

I have wondered about a digital reader being a good place to "store" subscriptions to magazines, journals and newspapers, especially if they are searchable. In fact, the more I think about that, it might be a really good idea.