Cory Doctorow on Reading Books From Screens

I’m not one of those people who particularly enjoys reading e-books. There’s just something about reading books and magazines on a computer screen that ruins the experience for me. Part of it, I’m sure, is the amount of eye strain I suffer – after extended periods of reading _anything_ on a computer monitor (or PDA screen), my eyes burn and my vision tends to be a bit on the wobbly side. Sometimes there are even headaches. It’s likely a combination of the continual bombardment of photons on my eyeballs and some degree of digital pixellation that does it. Either way, I just don’t enjoy that kind of pain, no matter _what_ the subject. Plus, I just prefer holding the pages in my hands, being able to flip through them at will and easily, and being able to scan at _my_ pace, rather than what I’m limited to with scrollbars, mouse wheels, and keyboard navigation. Sure, there are benefits to the digital versions of books, but in my opinion, those benefits apply exclusively to research and reference.

I’m not so arrogant, though, to suggest that e-books will go the way of the dodo anytime soon. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that subsequent generations end up turning more and more to e-books, particularly as technology develops. After a while, perhaps, people won’t even consider e-books to be new or novel (pardon the pun) – they’ll just be the way reading has always been done. They’ll be the ones that look back and wonder how anyone could _ever_ have been able to stand having words printed on physical pages. I don’t know – it just seems a bit presumptuous to assume that one media form or the other will die out completely.

For now, though, I will continue making my house a fire hazard by lining its walls with still more paper and cardboard. I love my books.

3 thoughts on “e-books”

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  2. Like you, I prefer books to e-books. I spend my daytime mostly on a computer, so my eyes are strained enough by evening. I don’t want to make that worse by reading e-books as well.

  3. You forgot the smell of paper . . . :-)

    Or how uncomfortable most computer chairs are . . .

    Nothing beats being curled up with a good book, a throw or blanket, and a mug of hot chocolate! You just can’t do that on a computer.

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