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E-readers vs. Printed Books

Yes, Virginia, there is a difference

Make no mistake: I love my E-readers. All three of them. I have an iPhone, an iPad, and an Amazon Fire Tablet.Between them I have a library of over 3,000 books. I devour books the way children devour ice cream and cake at birthday parties.But my living space?—and therefore my storage space?—is limited to a single room. Ergo, E-books and E-readers.

Vive le différence?

But lately I’ve discovered a problem, and it has to do with the differences between reading a printed book and an E-book.

When I’m reading a printed book, I can spend hours in my comfortable chair, only stirring to brew a fresh cup of tea or, as a result thereof, heading into the loo to download the same.

I love the smell of printed pages. I love the feel. And I especially love the ability to leaf back to earlier pages to see if I missed something.

But…

I also love being able to carry my entire library in my purse. I love being able to conduct research whilst riding on the bus. And I love being able to finally finish my latest who-done-it sitting in the waiting area of my doctor’s office.

But but but…

Lately I’m finding that reading a mystery, a science text, or any kind of book at all on my iPhone gives me headaches.

My iPod is better, but here’s the really big thing: it’s exhausting to read my E-books. Where I can tear through five or six chapters of the printed page, I can barely get through a half of a chapter of an E-book.

And that’s strange, because I always adjust the text size on my E-readers so that it’s larger than it is on the printed page.

Does it have something to do with the fact that the printed word is reflected into my eyes, while E-text is beamed into them? But even that is questionable: I have no problem bingeing on Netflix for hours at a time.

And I can spend more than half a chapter’s worth of time composing a story for Medium on my iPhone.

It’s a mystery

One that may well fall under the rubric of religion: “There are some mysteries man was not meant to solve.”

But like young Jim Hawkins, I won’t rest until I’ve found the secret treasure. Perhaps then the mystery may be resolved.


NOTE: I’m sure there’s already a scientific or medical answer that I can easily find. But when have any of us let facts get in the way of a good story?

Originally published on Medium.com

Why Are Writers Afraid to Seek Critiquing?

A. J. Liebling once said, “Freedom of the press is only guaranteed to those who own one.” Now we live in the age of the Internet, where anyone with a network connection owns a printing press. This is both a boon and a disaster.

A boon in the sense that information can be shared widely and rapidly. Indeed, there are those who would argue that it was the widespread availability of cheap copy machines. that brought down the Berlin wall, not Ronald Reagan.

It’s a disaster in that misinformation can be spread just as widely and rapidly. Even worse, it means that anybody who can type or dictate can write books. Self-publishing no longer requires vanity publishing houses, where authors had to foot the bill for having their works published: all you need now is a keyboard and a connection.

Internet Addiction: The first step is admitting you have a modem.

Sites like Goodreads and similar others are a good way of filtering out the dreck, but Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (Barnes & Noble) work on the profit model. Which means that they’ll publish almost anything you submit to them – be it dreck or a Pulitzer-worthy novel.

Far too many would-be authors don’t seem to know one of the basic requirements of writing a book: read lots of books! Indeed, from what I’ve seen on the Internet, I’d say many of them haven’t even read one book.

One of the many things I like about Medium is the way it exposes me to new authors and new ideas. That, in turn, sparks my own ideas. And it helps me improve my own writing.

It’s also why I blog, both here and elsewhere: I’m not afraid to open myself to the possibility of harsh criticism. It’s the only way to learn.


Dead Trees, or Pixels?

I don’t follow the debate over printed books versus electronic readers. I made my choice long ago, and have never regretted it.

The reason for choosing an e-Reader was one of practicality: in my old apartment, I had very little storage place, and I have a voracious appetite for books. My Nook was the ideal place to keep my 2,000+ volume library. And now that I’ve given up the apartment and live in a rented bedroom, it’s even more of a necessity.

So saving space was my primary motive. Having something to read whilst waiting in doctors offices, waiting for the bus, and similar situations was only secondary.

Of course, the abundance of free books didn’t hurt, either. There are daily offerings from BookBub and other sources, and even Project Gutenberg has gotten in on the act and is converting all of their holdings to eBook format.

But still…

There’s still something about the smell of old books, the feeling of pages between your fingers.

A Nice Surprise!

Today’s mail brought a pleasant surprise. I recently changed my Medicare insurance provider and they told me I’d be getting a book in the mail explaining my benefits.

There was a book in today’s mail, along with a letter from the insurance company, so I assumed it was that book. But when I opened it, it turned out to be a mystery novel from St. Martin’s Press, along with an explanation of what they were asking me to do. Basically, they’d like me to read and review the book, as well as advertise it on social media.

And that brings us back to why I still like bound books: there’s always the chance that I’ll get one in the mail along with a request for a review.

So my plan for the next couple of days is to finish the book (I’ve already started it), and post a review both here and on my social media accounts.

I’ll keep you posted!

Robyn Jane

My Name is Robyn, and I’m a Bookaholic

I guess it started in the second grade. That’s when I realized that I had an unusual talent: I could read out loud better than most of the others in my class. So much better, in fact, that when it was time for reading class, Miss Sullivan would hand me a book and send me down the hall to read the book to the kindergarten class.

That was when I realized that I had a problem: I was addicted to books.

As I grew older, the problem worsened. A typical day in high school would find me in the library after school, devouring book after book, desperately trying to slake my thirst.

Novels were my drug of choice, although a good story line, like that in “Cyborg,” would send me to the encyclopedia, where I would search to see if the plot was reasonably accurate. (Incidentally, that book, written by Martin Caidin, was the basis for the hit television series, “The Six Million Dollar Man.”)

I think I read the entire Sherlock Holmes canon in two afternoons.

The Fault, Dear Brutus

The fault lay not in my stars but rather in my genes. My mother was a genius who could read an entire novel on the subway ride from Hunter College to her home on Kingsland Avenue in The Bronx, and I inherited her love of reading.

Couple that with the grandparents who had bestowed on me the entire My Little Golden Books library, along with a doting aunt whose favorite gifts at birthdays and other gift-giving occasions were books, and I didn’t stand a chance.

No, I’m not blaming them for my addiction. At worst, they were merely enablers. I and I alone am responsible for my inability to cope without the crutch a good book furnishes.

And now it seems I’ve passed my addiction on to my daughters, one of whom seems determined to pass it on in turn to her children.

How To Tell If YOU Are An Addict

It isn’t hard, but if you’re not sure, let me direct your attention to this page.

Here’s another clue:

dream home

This is all you think about when you picture your “dream home.”

Well, I’ve got to close for now: it’s almost time for my bookaholics support group meeting…at the city library.

Robyn