The E-Reader: Pros and Cons

I am certainly what the tech-world calls a "late adopter," for example: I only recently got a cell-phone, and that's because my wife purchased it for me, brought it home, and said: "You have two kids . . you need a phone," and then handed me a slim, white, lime green gadget that my students described as the phone a "12 year old Asian girl would have"-- and so, well behind the rest of the reading world,  I have finally started knocking around the idea of getting an e-reader . . . but, as I am a disciple of Neil Postman, I always think about the pros and cons of any technology before I allow it access to my life . . . and the pros for an e-reader are pretty obvious:

1) I like to read multiple books at the same time and some of them are hefty, so it would save a lot of space and clutter,

2) I hate small font, and so I could adjust this on an e-reader,

3) my book-light would be attached to the e-reader, so I wouldn't always lose it,

4) when we travel, I like to bring a lot of books . . .

but I have decided, for now, that the cons outweigh the pros, and here they are:

1) I like to take books out of the library because (duh) it's free,

2) I like to buy cheap used books off Amazon and,

3) I don't want to spill coffee or soup onto an e-reader, while I don't care if I spill coffee or soup onto a library book,

4) this one is the most important: if I read on an e-reader, no one can see what I'm reading, and-- if these things become ubiquitous-- I won't be able to see what other people are reading, and maybe I'm obnoxious, but I like it when people see me reading the new translation of War and Peace, and I liked sharing a knowing glance with the dude I saw last week on the exercise bike at the gym reading Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From . . . and if that dude was a cute female, I might have even said a word or two about how much I liked the book . . . so really what it comes down to is that I have enough trouble making conversation, and I don't need the one topic that I am knowledgeable about taken away from me, made obscure by a convenient technology-- I'm still recovering from the switch from boom boxes to personal stereos . . . who knows what the kids are listening to on those head-phones?


zman said...

I received a Nook for father's day. I read one book on it (visit from the goon squad), browsed the Internet a bit, then never used it again. Now I can't find the charger. I prefer cheap paperbacks too, for some of the same smug reasons.

Jason Elliott said...

The textbook racket is the primary reason I purchased an iPad. I spent half the price on e-textbooks (saving about $300 and nearly paying for the iPad) and I don't have to carry 60 pounds of paper to and from school. I suspect absolutely nobody is interested in the fact I'm reading "Spreadsheet Analysis & Decision Modeling" at the gym.

Dave said...

i loved "spreadsheet analysis & decision modelling" but the sequel was really boring.

Squeaky said...

You don't need a book light for an e-reader. So throw that one out for the pros.

And you can check out e-books from several sites and the library online for free.

Diana Guess said...

I'm pro about e-readers, because I can get the eBooks much easier than printed ones. We can find so many good and free sites like All you can books where downloading is just one click far. Also, if we travel a lot, we can take only this little device with us and having on it hundreds of our favorite books. I love my device, but it won't replace printed books, because I want to have a big, diversified library.

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