Okay, love is too strong a strong word. I've never quite gotten over the smell of paper and the comforting heft of a much-loved tome, but I'm not quite the reluctant adopter I was a year ago. Still, it seems I'm not alone in making this shift: According to a report from the Pew research Center, the number of readers using e-books increased seven percent in 2012, while the number of readers reading actual print books dropped about five percent.
There are more e-Readers in the wild these days. They're affordable and convenient. Pew has classified the typical e-book reader (the people, not the devices) as a college graduate between the ages of 40 and 49 who lives in a household with an income of more than $75,000. While that may be the way the data pans our currently, the increasing popularity of these devices suggests that they may spill out of this bracket relatively quickly. As they infiltrate schools in particular, tablets and e-readers are establishing a foothold in American literacy.
So how did I come around on my thinking? There were a few reasons:
- Convenience. Instead of carrying two or three books and magazines with me for my commute, I use my e-Reader. It has about five books ready for reading at the moment, and it has a stash of my favorites in case I want something tried and true.
- Privacy. I can read just about anything on my e-Reader without inviting comment or criticism. Of course, this is also a bit of a drawback too because I lose the basic interaction readers sometimes have with one another: "Oh, hey that looks like a good book" or "I read that too!"
- An awesome cover. This is probably the most important reason, though the one that is superfluous: My cover makes the device look like an old leather-bound volume. It changes the initial experience of the device, which helped soften some of my initial resistance.
Still, I'm likely not going to be a spokesperson for these things anytime soon―I'm just more likely to admit they have their uses. Why is this important to acknowledge? Well, it's a sign that overall tendencies are shifting, but also a sign that the divisions (print or digital) are blurring. And belonging in one camp over another isn't necessarily regarding the degree of your intelligence or preferences for technology.
Have you also changed your perception of these devices recently? What swayed you?