Community /

Blogs


The opinions expressed in these blogs are solely those of the people who wrote them, and do not represent the views of WPSU or Penn State University.

Radio

What Makes a Book a Book?

Posted by Cynthia B on 08/03 at 08:16 AM

This morning, on NPR’s Morning Edition, Lynn Neary and Linda Wertheimer talked about the growing use of so-called “electronic readers,” and the question of, “What makes a book a book?”
I got an electronic reader recently, as a gift, and I can vouch for all the pros and cons cited. 

On a recent long airplane ride, I had run out of reading material.  Never again! These devices let you carry a suitcaseful of books in a package weighing a few ounces.  So that’s a definite plus.

For the technophobic, I can report, these devices are notably well designed and easy to use.  Many prompts are built in, so you don’t have to memorize a lot of commands; if you forget what button you need to push, it will remind you.

Linda talked in rather glowing terms about “cozying up to a Kindle.” I can report that one nifty feature—the display shifts automatically from vertical to landscape when you rotate it, just like an i-Phone—is actually a disadvantage when reading in bed. You’re just getting comfy, when you roll a fraction of an inch too far and oops, the screen displays in a plane perpendicular to your field of view.

Design is also an issue. The book I am currently reading has amusing epigrams at the start of each chapter—but each opening page has exactly one line of type that is forced to the next (otherwise blank) page.  I spent 8 years working at a magazine that won awards for design and layout, and if our designer had ever made such a gaffe, I think she would have given herself 20 lashes with an editor’s blue pencil.

Finally, when I buy books I often pass them along to friends.  The biggest disadvantage of an e-book: you can’t share it.  It’s on your reader, that’s it.

I love books—owning them, holding them, re-reading them, filling rooms with them.  My dad was in the book business, and back when I was a nerdy kid with big thick glasses and a different book lying facedown in every room of the house.  I thought he had the best job in the world. 

I don’t believe “real” books are going to disappear, but I do think electronic readers, in some form, are here to stay.

Author: Cynthia B
Bio: WPSU-FM Producer

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Comment

Commenting is not available in this section entry. « A Great Day in Sheffield and the Valley Texting While Driving is No Joke »

Most recent entries

Jamie Oberdick's avatar Winning (literally) apple pie recipes for Thanksgiving
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
By Jamie Oberdick in Local Food Journey
Jamie Oberdick's avatar Five local food additions to your Thanksgiving table
Monday, November 24, 2014
By Jamie Oberdick in Local Food Journey
Jamie Oberdick's avatar Final day of the season for two popular farmers market
Friday, November 21, 2014
By Jamie Oberdick in Local Food Journey
Anna Lombardo's avatar Shrubs are an “old-fashioned drink for modern times”
Thursday, November 20, 2014
By Anna Lombardo in Local Food Journey

Categories

Archives

Latest Photos