Are you (still) reading on paper?

I was just a little surprised when I red the title of this article on Washington Post. Why digital native prefer reading in print… Well, I am not a “digital native” in any way (my age will prevent me to think that), so you may understand that I’m rather used to printed papers. As a matter of fact, I remember ages in which printed papers was the only way, since there was absolutely no alternatives.

With all of that, I admit that I got used to digital books quite fast. For me, their advantages are by far more intriguing in respect to their shortcomings. So that now I’m a bit annoyed when I do not find the electronic version of a text I want to read.

Is reading in print really better?

Not that I do not understand the reasons explained in the article. Online distraction, for example, is a serious issue. Reading on a computer screen, or reading on a tablet it’s the same: just to put it down simply, you can do too much things. That’s fine, when you play games. That’s not so fine, when you want to concentrate on a difficult book. In the meddle of a difficult page you’re working on, you suddendly remember that you did not check your Facebook status in the last ten minutes! Well, let me see if any notification is waiting, after all it may be important. Oh, in passing, any new email? And what about Twitter replies?

That’s hardly deniable. It’s part of our world, nowadays.

That’s why I do not like reading from a computer of from a tablet.

Anyway, I feel that there is another option, which is not clearly covered in the article. Yes, the article generally talk about “reading from a screen” as simply opposed to “reading from paper”. Actually, there is a third choice: the ebooks devices (Kindle and similar stuff). When coming to serious reading (or studying) an ebook reader has several advantages.

The bigger advantage is that a Kindle cannot show your Facebook timeline. Yes, it can post portions of text you are reading (on Facebook and/or Twitter) but that’s all. It even cannot allow you to check emails, too (until you try to use the experimental browser inside, definitively not a easy route).

That’s very good when you want to seriously concentrate. I definitively need a device that cannot deal about my presence on social network, at least at a certain point of my day. I need something that does not show how many notification I’m missing on Facebook (oh, speaking of it, let me check now…)

A Kindle is a very good alternative to paper, in my opinion. Other considerations can be done: for example, it’s easy to highlight some part of text without any worries, since it’s now a “digital operation” fully reversible. Also, it allows you to carry around hundreds of books, without much effort.

Anyway, there will always be place for printed books (art publications, etc…). But it’s not too difficult to speculate that one day, reading on print could became the exception, not the rule.

Book problems….

I stumbled upon this nice video, which in a few minutes shows you a couple of (very good) reasons to switch to digital also in reading books – in the case you’ve not already done it. Yes, “the smell of paper” can’t be reproduced by a common e-reader (at least, not yet) but it’s not all so amusing with books: sometimes you’d prefer to have a Kindle instead 🙂

See why….

Play Books more closed than iBook?

This morning I installed Google Play Books on my Android device. It ‘s quite obvious that Google is trying to create its own ecosystem that will be a viable alternative to Apple, so Google Books takes its place alongside Play Music, the Store, etc…

From my first impression, I’d say that I like the graphics, the rendering of the books is excellent – even on small screen (like my Xperia Ray) –  and the possibility to read a book everywhere using the browser (unlike Apple iBooks) is appreciable. Moreover, synchronization between devices is an added value.
Among the things that I do not like, I have to mention that there is no possibility to highlight text on your mobile device (or at least I’m not finding it!), and (most annoying) it seems to me that you can’t upload your books, to be added to the library.
It ‘s the thing that leaves me more puzzled, because even Apple iBooks allows you to load books in ePub format (with no or Social DRM) in order to be addet to your library. I find this is a very a useful thing, and I am disappointed that you can not do it in Play Books (if there is, let me know, please!).
Definitively, it seems to me that you can only add books from Google Play Store.
Is Google getting more “closed” than Apple?