I love, love, love reading books on my Kindle and through any app on my iPad mini, with one caveat: the book I am reading must be for enjoyment not for learning. I have the first and second generation Amazon Kindles as well as a Kindle Paperwhite. I also have an old Sony eReader that was supported by the now defunct Borders, and I have one of the early generation Barnes and Noble Nooks. I really enjoy reading books on a dedicated eReader because the device only needs charging about once a month with active reading, it automatically saves your page (no more dog eared pages), and there is no eye strain in different lighting conditions. eReaders are also very portable in that they are lighter and thiner than the average Tom Clancy (may he rest in peace) novel.
My second generation Kindle is my eReader of choice. It stays on my bedside table for night time reading and it travels with me around the globe. I have a larger library with me when I travel than half of the Medieval nobility had in their very homes. I need a light source (like a lamp at night) in order to read my Kindle as it doesn’t have internal lighting like the Kindle Paperwhite. I have had so many problems with some of Barnes and Nobles’s eInk eBooks in the past that I don’t even bother with owning one or buying anymore for my Nook tablet. The Nook tablet has been relegated to my kids who use it to watch Netflix and play games.
I like the speed of service and the lack of problems with Amazon’s Kindle. Although there is no physical store to walk into whenever I have questions, I have never had any questions because my Kindle has always just worked. Sometimes, if something works, don’t mess with it!
Why fiction only?
I cannot get used to using an eBook to learn from. When I am reading for information or learning something new I must have the physical printed word in front of me. I know it’s kind of weird because much of my life depends on digital devices. I have my system of highlighting, dog earing, writing in the margins, and tagging with colored sticky tabs (are sticky tabs even a thing?). These things can all be accomplished in an eBook, but I just can’t get past my old ingrained system. I don’t think I’m set in my ways yet, but I think I need someone to teach me how to make the change before trusting myself to actually do it. Maybe Vicki Davis could do a webinar on that?!
My oldest daughter is a reading purist (I think I just made that up). She refuses to read on any device. Check that, she refuses to read books in any electronic format. She reads lots of things (Pinterest, Facebook, and texts) on the computer, her iPod, and phone, just not books. I really don’t think she would even read the greatest everyone’s talking about it book if it was only offered in eBook format.
Students can publish
I know that I have to get past my antiquated ways because I will eventually want my students to publish eBooks. Heck, I would even like to publish an eBook some day (The Great American Novel). But seriously, what better way for students to write than to chose an audience, write, and then publish for that audience. Students could then market their eBooks through various social media, people read the book, then write to the author, and walla Bob’s your uncle. What better way to get authentic feedback and constructive criticism. No longer are we bound by the walls of the classroom. No longer are students writing for just a teacher and forgetting the piece after they get it back with a grade on it. I can see a mad dash of students wanting editors in the future as they finally figure out that spell check doesn’t correct usage errors or grammar errors.
Don’t forget to have conversations about copyright and citing sources properly. Plagiarism in this forum could lead to legal action, but there is a lesson to be learned in that too. As for me, I will always counsel the use of some sort of creative commons attribution. CC SA ND. If you don’t understand that last sentence go to http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/copypol2.html and http://j.mp/12L3pok