How Do You Like to Read?

…on your computer, your iPad or Kindle or Nook, your phone, or in a BOOK, on PAPER? e-readers vs. books

Adapting to new technologies can always be challenging – just take a look at this great YouTube video

And while our digital devices have endless uses that we all love, and having multiple titles on one small, easy-to-carry-around device can be great in certain circumstances (vacation, at school, etc.), and there are those that just love their devices for reading, it does seem that reading a book – an actual physical paper book – still resonates most powerfully with many of us.

Indeed, the evidence is in that, surprisingly, even millennials seem to prefer print as their reading medium of choice. As David Ulin, the LA Times Book Critic, notes in his February 24 column, Reading in the Material World, (and referencing Michael Rosenwald’s original article from the Washington Post), “if you’re a digital immigrant as I am, there’s something deeply satisfying about Michael S. Rosenwald’s report in the Washington Post that “millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. The reasons: Stillness, lack of distraction, the ability to concentrate and the understanding that memory relies on, among other things, physical cues.” It’s been proven that comprehension and retention are greatly increased when reading a real book.

Ann Marlowe has some interesting perspective in her January 14, 2014 article for Tablet Magazine-A New Read on Jewish Life, The People of the Book vs. The People of the Kindle: What happens when our libraries are purged from our homes, replacing spines with screens?

atomsbitsI’ve always wondered at what a perfect design the book is as a delivery system. The form supports the function so well, it fits just right in your hand, random access, how you can remember where on the page (left side near the top) that thing you’re looking for is, always available (no batteries), the permanence of it, easy to lend and etc. And how electronic device designers have gone to such great lengths to try and mimic what the book so successfully already has. If you’ve stuck with me this far, here’s one more article that takes an elegant look at the pros and cons of both systems: Books: Bits vs. Atoms and sparked some lively comments as well.

Whatever your personal preference, here at the library we support all kinds of medium and have always made the effort to ‘keep up’ as tastes and possibilities change, 8mm film projectors, microfilm, audio-cassettes, video cassettes, CDs, DVDs, Books-on-tape, Books-on-CD, mp3, Play-aways, computers, tablets and so on, but the physical book is still our meat and potatoes and at the heart of what we do and what we are!


Dan is currently the director of the Fanwood (NJ) Memorial Library. Since he accepted that position in 1997 he has dramatically taken this small suburban library into the 21st century with improvements in facilities, staffing and service. He has served locally, regionally and state wide on many civic and library related committees and boards. In his current position Dan gets to do it all, from overseeing web development, graphics design and renovations, to public relations and fund-raising, all while being the go-to-guy for overflowing toilets and salting the front walk. With his colleague, Meg Kolaya, Dan started the consulting firm Library Connections that developed the nationally recognized and award-winning Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected project. They produced a customer service training video (updated in 2014) and website primarily for library staff to help them serve individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families more effectively. Dan and Meg have given many customer service and autism workshop presentations and keynote addresses, participated in conferences, taught online courses and consulted both locally and around the United States. After hours, Dan continues his varied music career, now with well over 50 years of performing, singing and playing the guitar. He loves all kinds of music with a special fondness for vocalists (Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and George Jones), bluegrass, honky-tonk, and acoustic roots country. Check to find out where to hear him next.