Monday, January 12, 2009

eBooks on the Cell Phone/PDA (the 2009 version)

When I was younger I never went anywhere without a book.  Besides commuting there were two other basic reasons:

  • I was so enthralled with my book I could barely put it down
  • I never knew when I would get stuck somewhere and (Heaven forbid) I would have to just sit there. . . waiting

I am sure that some of my back problems as an adult come from years of lugging a heavy book in my shoulder bag.  But that is another story.

Life is different now!  Instead of a book, I carry my PDA with me (usually in a pocket). I am not exactly unique!  Walk down any city street, almost anywhere in the world, and you will see that almost everyone has a cell phone or PDA.  You see iPods, Blackberry''s, Pocket PCs, Palms and too many Smart Phones to name.

Closeup of young men and women holding cellphoneThe other thing you see is people peering at their screen; reading. 

You might think they were actually reading a book, until you notice their fingers flying over the keys as they answer the text, twitter or IM. 

Seems that for those under 30 there is much more peering than talking going on.

I am not a big texter or twitterer (no patience with those little buttons) and I rarely do IM, so it would seem logical that I would be reading more books.  Right?  Well, not exactly. I find that books have a lot of competition these days!

Now when I have to wait I have so many choices!  Most of them infinitely more interruptible activities than reading.  So, I usually opt for something easier:  do a sudoku, talk on the phone, answer email, surf the net, watch TV or (even occasionally) text. Reading has become something I do when I know I have a long stretch of time ahead of me -- like on a train or a plane.

I never carry a book around with me anymore.  And I find that reading on a handheld device has subtly changed my reading habits in other ways as well:

  • I read faster and with better comprehension when the text is in smaller chunks.
  • I actually look up words I don't know or want clarification on because I can do it easily and immediately.
  • I am reading the classics again.  They are almost always free (
  • I buy books I would not have ever bought before because they are relatively cheap

Which makes me wonder about you. 

Has reading on a digital device changed your reading habits?  And if so, how? 

No comments:


Subscribe Now: Feed Icon