One Librarian's Opinion - eBooks? pBooks?
...the one librarian being Greg Hill, director of the Fairbanks (AK) North Star Borough libraries. Story from Newsminer.
FAIRBANKS - “E-reader ownership doubles in six months,” proclaimed the headline to a recent Pew Research news release. However, careful readers note that the 100 percent jump was because e-book ownership among U.S. adults increased from 6 percent to 12 percent. Ownership of tablet computers like iPads and Xooms, by comparison, increased in that time period by only 3 percent. The ongoing economic crisis may be dampening consumer purchasing of electronic devices, and print book publishing is still flourishing, but Pew’s articles and the ballyhoo surrounding e-books generally is causing consternation for many print-book lovers.
“Consternation” comes from the Latin stem word “consternare,” which meant “overcome, confuse, dismay, perplex, terrify, alarm.” Many librarians embrace the convenience of e-books; after all, reading’s reading, right? Maybe not. An article from 2008 titled “Not Quite Average: An Empirical Study of Web Use” found that “On the average, Web page users have time to read at most 28 percent of the words during an average visit; 20 percent is more likely.” Being connected to social media like Facebook and Twitter multiplies the stream of messages, notices and interruptions that constantly bombard the technorati, the technologically proficient, and make sustained reading online difficult.
The e-book reading experience is better than online, but booklovers know the satisfaction of getting immersed in a good book, its heft, texture, and smell, the flow of text generating mental images superior to any video. The codex book, printed on paper and bound on one side, still appeals to many readers on multiple levels, from physical comfort to readability. But do print books surpass e-books in long-term functionality?