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Do you love books or do you love reading?

November 4th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

At this years Alt-C session I went along to a session presented by James Clay entitled ‘Do you love books or do you love reading?’. James demonstrated several e-book readers and went on to speculate on the potential of e-books in education.

It was the first time I have actually got my hands on an e-book reader and I liked it! So when Amazon updated the Kindle I got myself one. Now the kindle, despite the neat leather covers which try to make it look like a book, is not the same thing. If you like the appearance of your book collection on your shelf it is going to do nothing for you. But if on the other hand you like reading the Kindle is brilliant, especially if you travel a lot.

I can see the e-book revolutionising education. Readers are already relatively cheap and will only fall in price. they are highly portable and e-paper can be read in bright sunlight. e-Books could be another step in taking learning outside the classroom.

If open educatio0nal resources were provided in an e-book format we could provide learners with most of the materials they need to follow a course. However, I have two provisos. The up-market Kindle comes with free G3 connectivity. However, ignoring the rather difficult to use Webkeit browser, Ok if you have nothing else but not really7 a great browsing experience, the only thing the Kindle connects to is the Amazon store. To get other materials onto the kindle you have link it up to a computer. And although it will display PDFs they do not always seem to be formatted right for the Kindle. I am still messing with this and would be grateful to hear from others’ experiences. I also must have a go at converting documents into e-Pub and transferring these ot the Kindle. Amazon will convert PDF, word and Open Office documents and put them on your Kindle, but they charge for that service.

The third issue of course is Digital Rights Management. It is not as easy to give away or share an Amazon e-book as it is a traditional paper copy.

My second reservation is that merely making documents available returns us back to passive consumption of learning materials,. But there seems plenty of potential for more interactive reading, as has been shown by a number of iPad apps.

My feeling is that the e-Book is here to stay. And I also think it may transform education. But we need to think through the pedagogic process and potential of using e-Books and need to experiment with standards and formats.

I love books. But I love reading even more! What do you think?

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3 Responses to “Do you love books or do you love reading?”

  1. Karsten Wolf says:

    Hi Graham, plain eBook reader have to evolve into the app culture. plain ebooks are not as heavy as real books, but loose haptics, smell, tear, smudge, physical presence in shelf. lapps (learning apps) add much more – video and interactivity… big potential. so right now iPad is the only relevant player imho.


    ps: cant publish

  2. Ale Oseguera says:

    I’m an old-fashioned little young lady. I still use a pencil and a notebook for writing, I use that same pencil to underline and make marks and comments in the books I like, I love sending postcards with actual stamps, and receiving emails -or better, actual letters-insted of messages in my FB inbox, twitter or whatever social network is currently being used.

    So I love reading, but I also love books. I love them because they’re part of the whole. I make them mine. I possess a book everytime I read it. I write on them, I put big question marks, squares, wavy underlines for the gramatical constructions I like, squares for the words I don’t know or don’t use frequently, straight lines for the phrases I think as beautiful, big parenthesis to chapters I’d love to go back to in order to learn more.

    Last time I asked about reader machines I was told you cannot do that in the text. But maybe it was a long time ago. I’m trying to update myself in this e-reading thing, but I so love the smell of the recently opened page.

    I love reading, but I give reading a special time and moment and place. I don’t like my books sharing the same space as Facebook or Safari or Messenger or some stupid game I could download for the Ipad.

    But hey, maybe I’m just old fashioned and I would be happy with an Ipad as a writer. I’d love to have a portable writing machine. They’re useful for that, aren’t they?

  3. Jan says:

    I’ve just got the new Kindle and I love it for English books. Especially the dictionaries that come with it are fantastic. The possibility to search in Google or Wikipedia is also great. However, I miss the option to search for marked words and the user interface is suboptimal.

    As a lover of books I was highly sceptical about this sterile piece of technology, as a reader I like it. Nevertheless, I won’t stop buying books because I really miss one thing: Putting the book back into the shelf after reading it.

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