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The Evolution of Reading


Like many past times of daily life, reading a book has been impacted by technology shifts and the Internet. Significantly so. The rise of electronic readers like the Amazon Kindle, or e-readers, is fundamentally shifting how we consume the printed word. And it’s not just e-readers. Smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets also are impacting how we read.

The New York Times recently published a great article outlining the pros and cons regarding how we read these days. There are some definite advantages to the electronic version of reading. But as Dwight Garner points out in his story, you can’t exactly take an e-reader into the tub for a leisurely bath.

On the other hand, the convenience of e-readers allows you to read many different topics throughout the day, week, or month, without lugging around several different books. E-readers also potentially allow a broader diversity of reading sources, which might be appealing. It’s like carrying around a virtual library in your purse. Garner quotes one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, “Read much, but not too many books,” as apropos to this new style of reading, where you tap multiple reading sources for snippets of information. E-readers and smartphones are great tools for that.

E-readers do take some getting used to. Human beings are creatures of habit. I know in my own experience, I use a Kindle Fire for reading and a bunch of other activities. But one area where I have not made the transition is reading newspapers. I can download just about any major newspaper to the Kindle, but I’m so used to reading the newspaper the old fashioned way, I’m slow to adopt this new techno method.

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