Over at the Homeschool Lounge, we’ve been having a discussion about eBooks and whether they’re popular with homeschooling parents and kids. I’m learning from other parents that many of them love eBooks, and that there are an increasing number of devices you can use to read them. It remains to be seen which eReaders will survive and which will wither on the vine.
The competition among eReaders is certainly heating up. Just today, BN.com dropped the price on its Nook (now $149-199) and Amazon responded by immediately cutting the price of its Kindle from $259 to $189. Now that the price wars have begun, more people will use eReaders, I’m sure.
I do wonder, though, if it’s good for us to be reading so many things on computers. This writer believes that we are losing the ability to “deep read.” He says we’re so used to being distracted by other things on the screen (hyperlinks, ads, etc.) when we read that we no longer become immersed in one piece of writing. Instead, we flit from topic to topic.
I’ve noticed this myself. Just yesterday I was reading an interesting biography of Katharine Hepburn. She had a 25-year-long affair with actor Spencer Tracy, who apparently cheated on Hepburn just as he cheated on his wife with Hepburn. Had I been reading an eBook or online article, there probably would have been a hyperlink to more information about the many women in Spencer Tracy’s life, and I probably would have clicked on it and gone off on yet another Internet bunny trail. But since I was reading an actual hardback book, I just thought, “I might look that up online sometime,” and continued reading the book. Score one for deep reading.
Right now, reading on the Kindle is not so different from reading a hardback book. I had the opportunity to play with a Kindle recently, and I can see why people like it. It’s very much like a print book in shape and usage. But while it’s similar in size, it holds many books, and you can easily buy more on impulse.
But according to Amazon, before long eBooks on the Kindle will have hyperlinks. Some believe there will also be ads. Then it will become just another way to read online, and the war on “deep reading” will continue.