By Jenny Bullough, Manager of Digital Content for Harlequin and Carina Press, and confirmed ebook addict
Have ebooks changed the way you read? I don’t just mean reading in print vs. reading in ebook. I suspect a lot of folks, like me, read more digitally than we ever thought we would I’ve spent most of my adult life reading only in print; and even after I got my first eReader I read a mix of formats, sometimes print, sometimes ebooks, depending on where and how I bought or obtained the book. (Oddly, if I started a connected series in print, I felt compelled to finish it in print — still do, in fact.)
But now, after 3 years, I read almost exclusively digitally, and the mix is between my eReader and the apps on my tablet. And I think that shift has changed the way I read books.
Print reading is immersive. Aside from outside distractions, once I picked up that book, typically I read all the way through in; I didn’t leave that world created by the author until I put the book down and picked up another – usually because I finished it (or rarely, DNF or Did Not Finish).
But with my eReader, reading is no longer a singular activity. It’s like being presented with a menu and I get to decide each time I pick it up: What am I in the mood for right now? Do I want something thought-provoking? Something dramatic and thrilling? Something emotional? Or something familiar and relaxing that won’t demand too much of me intellectually? (Incidentally, I love this post on NPR’s blog about the different ways of reading and how there is room for both brainy texts and sappy stories.)
And as for my tablet – to be honest, I sometimes forget that I can read on it beyond blogs and twitter When I do remember (oh yeah, I can access my ereader on here through the app!) then I’m immersed again until I put it down or turn it off. But when I pick it up again, I feel compelled to check my tweetstream and facebook before I open my ebook. To stay with the menu analogy, it’s like I have to eat the bread before I even look at menu
I love what ebooks have brought to my reading – convenience and the ability to read whatever I’m in the mood for — but sometimes I do miss that feeling of developing a monogamous relationship with one book at a time, becoming totally immersed in the writing until it’s finished.
If you read ebooks, has it changed the way you read? Do you pick and choose like a menu? Or do you still see one book through from start to finish before starting another?