Sunday, April 28, 2019

Book Review: Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World by Naomi S. Baron

Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital WorldWords Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World by Naomi S. Baron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nicely balanced book about the advantages and disadvantages of reading works in print and on ebooks. And, I agree with her take on the future of reading.

I like the distinction the author makes between intensive, deep reading and extensive, broad reading. My reading tends to weigh heavily on the latter. I usually read for fun, and I rarely choose “challenging” books. I’ve tried, but most bore me. Non-fiction tends to be a little heavier. I think about 95% of the books I read are in print, but that’s because I’m a heavy user of our local library. I haven’t packed books in a suitcase for travel (unless it’s a car trip) in quite a while.

I’m a big fan of my Kindle, especially when I travel. Unlike some of the folks quoted in this book, I have no problem immersing myself in a novel on a Kindle. I change it to airplane mode to make it less likely that I’ll flip to email or the internet, and if it’s a good book, I’ll be fine.

I do agree that the main problem with ebooks is the issue of distraction – with my Kindle Fire, if I’m not in airplane mode, it’s just too easy to go to email or the internet. And if I read on my phone, it’s even worse.

I dismiss all that blather about the physicality of books. I too can get a case of nostalgia when I smell a new book. It brings me back to childhood and the start of school. Good thoughts, but not enough for me to declare that print books are superior. I find all that talk quite silly. The younger the kids, the less this will be the case as many will have grown up with digital books and not know what I’m talking about.

The bottom line: it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There’s room for both print and ebooks, and it’s quite likely both will be around for a long time.

View all my reviews

No comments: