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The Physicality of Books

Authors (including Neil Gaiman, M. John Harrison, James Patrick Kelly, Tanith Lee, Michael Moorcock, Brian Stableford, and Gene Wolfe) answer 5 questions about books

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

2 Comments on The Physicality of Books

  1. I think this article demonstrates why ebook readers haven’t really caught on. And I include in this the PocketPC and Palm-like devices that have built in readers. I know that I don’t like to read from a mini-computer screen, or even a big screen. There’s something about the fact that the screen is emitting light that wears my eyes out after awhile.

    Secondly, actually holding a book and turning the pages gives more ‘meaning’ to the story. Its a physical act that gets you involved in the story. Plus your eyes get a quick break when the page is turned.

    I just like books better.

  2. I also find it difficult reading long excerpts (especially fiction) onscreen. I find myself adjusting the text size for a given page, adjusting the browser width to maximize scanning, etc.

    I’ve always maintained that there is value in holding a book. Something about holding a book seems “more natural” than holding a comparable sized handheld device.

    I have a downloaded scifi novel from the Baen Free Library on my handheld, and I’ve yet to get past the first 50 pages…I mean screens. Page turning on a handheld occupies a much larger percentage of the reading time; noticeably so.

    Until the “Instant Cranial Fiction Absorber” is invented, I believe I will always prefer to hold a book. The tactile sensation is pleasurable, almost sensuous. Wait…am I still talking about books, or Dan’s mom? (Sorry, couldn’t resist the temptation. Then again, neither can Dan’s mom).

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