Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where do you sit when reading an e-book?

People who like e-books can't understand why people who dislike e-books dislike e-books, and people who dislike e-books can't understand why people who like e-books like e-books. I certainly don't understand how people could like e-books. Or, how they could prefer them to real books. People who like e-books like to claim that it's all about the words, that nothing else should matter. I don't understand how anyone can have that opinion. The experience of reading isn't just about reading, but about sitting, or standing, or reclining, or walking, or doing something else with your body while reading that is a comfort to your body. Sitting at a desk in front of a computer, staring into its buzzing electronic light burning into your retinas, hunched over, your arms with nothing to do, your neck stiffening, the words on the screen a good foot and a half or more away from your face, is never comfortable. Comfortable is sitting in a comfy chair, couch, bed, bench, or standing on a sidewalk, or walking on an esplanade, or pacing back and forth in a hotel room. In how many locations of those I just mentioned is it practical, or even possible, to read from a computer? A laptop, you say? Who wants to hold something that heavy for an extended period? What happens when the battery runs out? What if you're in a sketchy neighborhood and you don't want people to notice that you own an expensive electronic appliance? (I know there are e-readers, like the Kindle, but that's a different discussion altogether. Not that I don't hate those too. But I'm talking about those e-books that are designed only as e-books and run on some kind of e-book program on your computer.)

So the gist of what I'm saying here is, with e-books you're chained to your desk. With real books you can read in any position or location. You can choose what's best for you. Also, your eyes won't boil and dissolve in your head like they do when reading from a screen.