Tuesday, 23 August 2011
21st century reading habits
I've had my kindle for nearly a year now, and during that time it's been amazing to see how reading habits have changed in general. E-readers now seem to be the norm on public trainsport and in waiting rooms across the country, and they're increasingly being used in educational contexts. E-readers are now considered a requirement for some university courses, and many students report that they prefer e-ink or pixels to paper (read more on this).
I'm finding that my preferences are also shifting. I've been known to wish that I could increase the font size or improve the contrast on a paperback. I'm used to having everything I might want to read over the course of a long journey - from the newspaper, to journal articles, poetry and novels - on one small, light device, when I would have needed a suitcase to have that amount of choice before. Walking to the shop or the library now seems like a fairly difficult way of getting my hands on a book when I can download one in under a minute!
Despite the convenience of digital reading devices, I'm still not completely converted. A book is a pleasing object. It is also a shared object. I like the freedom to lend books I have enjoyed to friends and family. So in some ways e-readers, even though some allow you to tweet passages or post favourite lines on facebook, make reading more of a solitary than a social pursuit. When I can share the books I've bought I'll be more interested in buying a book on a device.
Like all digital habits, I think that reading habits in the 21st century will continue to be flexible and changeable. Have your reading habits changed?
Find out how you can try out an e-reader in the Library.