Monday, December 5, 2011

Has technology changed the way you read?

After probably frying my daughter's stereo tonight by leaving it too close to the humidifier, it took 2 grow adults half and hour to figure out how to sooth our precious (and particular) 5 year old to sleep. She needed her music and what should have been a simple task turned into an incredibly silly ordeal.

It got me thinking. What about all those times when you only had 1 option? I had a Walkman once. It broke and I upgraded to a portable CD player - which I had for years! I had a stereo system - with 2 tape decks thank you very much. It was the only one in the house. If anyone wanted to listen to music, they came to my room. My first car, didn't even come with a tape deck! If at any time, that one device broke - I was out of luck. No music for me that day. And you know what? Oh well.

So tonight, after running through every possible scenario of the seemingly simple task of getting music into my daughter's room it strikes me as very funny that after: dismissing the old 'boom box' (it doesn't always play CDs right) my work lap top (because I didn't feel like disconnecting it from it's external monitor), my other lap top (because, hello? I need that one tonight!), the old Mac in the bedroom (but what if we want to watch a movie before bed?) - my brain finally settled on the ancient lap top gathering dust under the dresser. No one needed that one tonight and it still works! Now...if I could only remember the password....

My daughter is finally asleep basking in the soft glow of a 10 year old Toshiba.

Really?

Now granted, my guy works in IT and sometimes it feels like our house is a place technology comes to die. But still. Think about it. How many things do you have in your house that do exactly the same thing? How many can openers? How many pairs of scissors? How many things that can make music happen? Or that you can watch a movie on?

Now think about how many ways you can read. Do you have a computer? More then one? What about a smart phone? iPod or iPad? Nook? Kindle? ACTUAL PAPER AND INK BOOKS?

Some of you may only have one or two of these things and a few years ago, I really didn't have any. I'm lucky in my life at the moment but sometimes I ask myself, how much is too much?

When I was younger and I wanted to read a book, I did just that, I went to my bookshelf and I picked up a book. No other option was ever available to me.

Today? I have to ask myself not only WHAT I want to read but HOW I want to read it. Did I put that NetGalley book on my iPad or my Nook? Did I start reading it on my computer at work? What about that short story I downloaded? Is it still on my phone?

How much time do I waste with these ridiculous 'problems'? More then I should.

Now, I feel that I work hard and when I do spend money on myself it's almost always book / reading or technology related. I just never thought that the two would be so very connected - at least in my life.

So I ask you, how has technology changed the way you read? Has it affected you at all?

I for one could never envision a world without hard copy books. Books you have to hold in your hand and open to read. Books make out of paper and ink. Digital just isn't the same. But it is here and it's hard to ignore at times.

In a lot of ways, technology has made my reading experiences better. On a very basic level, without technology, there wouldn't be book bloggers (or any bloggers for that matter). There wouldn't be this wonderful virtual community where we can all gather and share. So for that, I will always be grateful.

But sometimes? It's too much. And even in the end, if I do choose to pick up that paper and ink book, the journey to my bookcase now takes a little bit longer.

6 comments:

  1. Great story/post.
    We're old school in my house so even though I read on my Kindle alllot and my husband reads on his iPod, we do have a boom box and several radios for those times you just need a more simplified form of technology.

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  2. Technology as far as reading goes has been a huge help to me. I have always been a huge reader, and my bulging bookshelves all over the house bear that fact. However, I can only read print books under very specific conditions due to my vision deterioration. In that sense, my Kindle has allowed me to continue to read books affordably, since I don't have to pay for large print books any more. The savings from buying Kindle books over LP books have paid for my Kindle DX several times over now, and I've only had it for 18 months or so. :-)

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  3. I love this post. Technology has definitely changed the way I read, but too much (yet). The majority of the books I get for review are sent to me as eBooks, which I have to read on my laptop because I don't have an eReader. Sometimes I would like to get an eReader, because it would be easier than reading on my laptop, and because apparently I don't get carsick while reading on my laptop but I do while reading print books. Right now, though, the cost of an eReader isn't worth it--I like getting eBooks for review, and I also download eBooks from the library, but only when I can't get the print version. I don't purchase eBooks, and I don't plan on doing so any time soon. For me, nothing is better than a print book to curl up with. As much as I like reading eBooks, I look forward to reading my print books more than any eBook I've had.

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  4. Great post Emily! I'm not one of those people with tons of technology options. I mean, yes I can listen to music on my laptop, phone AND radio, and I can read physical books, kindle books, and books on my laptop. But that doesn't mean anything, does it? I think we're all more dependent on technology than we think and it's only when we sit there and think about it that we realise it. We're so used to all this stuff, we hardly give it a second thought. Though I have to say, I love my kindle because reading has become waaaaaay easier, it was hard to get used to not turning pages but that's okay. I'm never going to give up print books, but technology has found a way to add to my reading experiences, and I could never go back.

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  5. I was going to say tech hasn't changed my reading at all, but when I thought about it, it has a little. I've read few books on my laptop - not very many, because I have a hard time even relaxing with the laptop - though it's better than sitting at a desktop trying to read an e-book. And of course, there's all the books that I found out about through blogs and were able to buy from online stores...I wouldn't have been able to even get them before the tech.

    But for the most part, the actual reading of the books is from physical print books, which I prefer. - and I'm jealous of all the laptops you have...wow! :)

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  6. Thanks guys!

    @Juju - I used to think I was old school but technology has become such a huge part of my life that I can't imagine going back now. I'm all for simplified technology though

    @Kimberly and Abby - I didn't even think about the ways in which technology could help a reader! Great to hear your Kindle has allowed you continue enjoying books.

    @Kelly - I also receive a lot of books for review as eBooks (thank you NetGalley!) and I couldn't imagine reading them all on my computer.

    @Kris - I do think we are dependent on technology but I don't think it has come to the point where we couldn't survive without it. Not yet at least!

    @Mardel - At first, I didn't think technology had changed my reading habits at all, but like you, when I thought about it I realised that it had. Just a little but I can see my use of technology growing.

    BUT! Even the coolest gadet can't compare to the feel of a real live book!

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