These past weeks, JM and I have been on the road, overnighting in as many as three different places in a span of four days. We prepared for this happy hustle, and we anticipated there could be losses because of scurrying.
That first night in our hotel room, searching through suitcases for toothpaste and jammies, JM looked bleak. “I can’t believe I left my books and magazines at home,” he admitted when I asked what was wrong.
For my sweet historian, editor, and avid reader, the oversight was tantamount to disaster.
It was late, and we were too tired to find bookstores in unfamiliar territory. Instead, I popped open my tablet, pulled up the Library Anywhere app, and connected to my library 500 miles away in Carolina. Within five minutes, I downloaded an Inspector Gamache mystery by Louise Penny I knew JM would enjoy.
After a 60-second tut on tablet controls, he spent the next few evenings powering through the tale and asking for another download before our trip ended. JM, who saved “Auto Week” magazine as far back as the 1980s and has two rooms of books stacked on every corner and shelf, entered the digi-age at last…and he loved it.
As we crossed the eastern US on our road trip, listening to audio books downloaded on my smart phone and piped through car speakers, I considered the many reading options available today and over debate which is best.
According to a recent Pew Research study, print is the dominant way Americans read books:
More than two-thirds (69%) of people said they had read at least one printed book in the past year, versus 28% who said they’d read an e-book and 14% who said they had listened to an audiobook.
I adore the convenience of pulling up a digital book and seeing it appear on my tablet seconds later, without a run to the library or bookstore. Easy-peasy. Saves on gas and time.
I’m not a person who likes being still, so it’s tough to sit down to read for pleasure, (though I read online for work all the time). My mind races in a million directions, and I always think of something else I need to do. However, with ear buds dangling and an mp3 player tucked in a pocket, an audio book keeps me company when I exercise, tackle chores, and finish yard work. It even motivates during my morning routine to make teeth brushing and flossing less onerous. (My dentist loves the results!)
3. Alternative Learning
As a writing coach for college students with vision impairments and learning disabilities, I saw how audio books were lifesavers when printed words eluded these young people. Screen readers, another digital-reading cousin, even pull up text, highlight it, and read aloud with a voice quality and pace that users determine.
4. Sleep Aid
Full disclosure: I’m proud to be a librocubicularist. I hope we can still be friends.
Reading in bed at night helps me fall asleep; however, keeping a light on to illuminate my book keeps others awake. Tah-da! E-reader to the rescue. Using backlighting and control adjustments on my tablet, I snap off the lamp and read into the night without disturbing anyone.
Digital books allow print and layout customization that suit me to a T. I select a two-column spread on sepia background, with mid-sized font and gentle line spacing. My tablet is super light and easy to prop up. I even slip it into my briefcase or knitting bag to carry without adding serious weight.
6. Space Saving
Unlike those whose rooms are blanketed with books and piled along the back stairs (and you know who you are!), my books sit on a lovely, floating cloud in cyberspace. I imagine them there, smiling down on me, waiting for me to summon them in my reading queue. They remain in pristine condition, never crumpled or stained. Plus, there’s no need to dust them. Ever.
7. Kid Magnets
Has a toddler ever grabbed your tablet and started pushing buttons? They finding apps you didn’t know existed! Digital books and reading apps are made for those little fingers.
I marvel at the way my niecelettes navigate a reading app intuitively on their own. Plus, it’s pure delight to sit down together to scroll through pages and laugh at sound effects and pop-ups.
If you price an e-book against its print counterpart, you already know which is more affordable.
So, there you have my preferences. Whatever way we prefer, the important point is to get people reading, no matter which platform they use.
The Pew Research organization found that the typical American read five books in 2013. Let’s pump up that number for adults and get kids hooked on books, too.
Print. Digital. Audio. Whatever it takes. It’s time to get reading!
What's YOUR preference? Let’s have fun with two unscientific polls:
Please indicate your answers by clicking your response below.
What’s your favorite format for children’s books?
What's your favorite format for reading adult fiction?
What do you think about digital books?
I'm experimenting with the polling feature, so I especially appreciate feedback about how the poll worked for you.
Please be social and join the conversation in the comment section.
Click below to receive this blog by RSS feed or email.
Subscribe to updates about my books and receive your free downloadable tale I penned for the young at heart:
Driving to Dillon: a Very Short Story of Love and New Beginnings.
1/9/2015 08:44:41 am
Great post very interesting subject. I really enjoyed the polls Cat great addition
1/10/2015 02:09:14 am
I'm glad you found the content and the poll ....my experimental blog feature -:D ... to be useful. I think polls can be a quick and easy way to be social and add a spot of fun.
1/25/2015 09:51:18 am
I can fully relate to JM when you are on a trip and you forget your books..... Having something to read on a trip for me can make all the difference between relaxing with noting to but read, and having nothing to do. I personally prefer an actual book in my hands, but in a pinch a tablet is perfect! Tablets to the rescue!
1/25/2015 10:54:18 am
I agree, Carmela....a trip without something to read is a lost opportunity and makes for a long haul. Print seems to reign for children's books, but e-readers make a dent in adult reading preferences. As long as people (((((read)))), I am over the moon whatever method they select.
The polls worked great. Very easy to take part. My kids and I are just starting to read books on our Kindle iPad app for about a year now. I am not a convert yet but I can see how my kids and future kids will likely read more on devices. At the school the kids use a program for extra practice reading that i put on iPad. They will just grow up with it as for me I still prefer to hold the books in my hand. And I did watch a podcast recently can't remember where or who right now but they were talking about how much cheaper it is to get kids books for the devices as opposed to print copies so I definitely see a future in ebooks. I guess I will just have to continue to try reading on the devices as well.
1/26/2015 10:42:57 pm
Thanks for the feedback about the polls, Bonnie. You made an excellent observation on the way schools and children embrace tablets and e-readers. Some students with visual impairments and reading disabilities also depend on e-book's text-to-speech capabilities to access the written word by hearing it. We'll look to the kids to keep us up to speed with the latest in digital reading.
Most interesting as I read both ways but still like the printed format best. I use the Nook with my tutoring student for learning apps and then a few books while I wait for them to arrive. But when I sit down in my chair to read, I most often pick up a real book.
2/18/2015 02:03:22 pm
You know Cat, I did your poll, but I was so torn. I love e-reading for all the things you have listed, absolutely, but I tire so easily on an e-reader. Perhaps I need a better one, not my ipad and kindle app. I love it for convenience and yes we do read books to Gigi on tablet, which is super when you are out and have nothing to distract. However, I love the physical book and can read about 4 times longer with a paperback. Thanks for a great insight into your reading journey and for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop
2/23/2015 09:03:20 am
I love my Kindle and can't survive without it :) For our daughter we did a ton of picture books in the beginning. But as she grew into chapter books we do both kinds of reading, digital as well as paper. I do think its economical at times to have digital content, but there is a charm to reading a paper book as well. My daughter also loves some of the good book apps out there and we have used several over the past. Hopefully we continue to find good digital content.
2/23/2015 09:05:26 am
I love my Kindle. Read on it voraciously but I do love to read paper copies as well. For my daughter we read a ton of picture books growing up. But as she switched to longer books, we download books on Kindle and read there often (while waiting for her paper books to come through via the library). We also used some good book apps. Hopefully we continue to get good digital content in the future.
Fascinating post! I prefer to read print books. My son has access to tablets at school, but he also enjoys reading print books at home. We only have a few children's books on our Kindle. I will always be in love with holding print children's books in my hands with my kiddos on my lap. I will be sad when they are too big to sit on my lap! Visiting from the Kid Lit Blog Hop :). Have a great week!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Blogging about books, writing, family life, travel and more good stuff.