From print to screen

October 25, 2010


It’s been long proclaimed that print media is dead. In my opinion, it’s not really dead. Not yet, at least. As I strolled around in Borders a few days ago, books are still going strong. Of course, it’s kind of a sign of the times when next to the bestsellers shelf is a little table set up that displays a e-book reader and the promise of carrying all the latest titles. Actual book carrying is fading ever so slowly. I’ll use myself as an example.

Recollect and consolidate
Over the summer, I wanted to tackle my personal reading list. When stacked up, the amount of books I wanted to read would literally tower over me. Reading all of them would be difficult and just gathering them all in one place was a daunting matter. I ended up just leaving my books in their various scattered locations and typed up a list on my phone. I grabbed a few to start and began consuming. However, I was always plagued by one thing, light.

You see, I was always able to see my reading list because my phone had light. But the act of reading the novels themselves was limited to the amount of time in which light was visible and thusly, the text. I found myself closing a book earlier in the evening far too often due to my eyes getting tired of reading in dim light. Combining that with awkward positions when I did have light and I just gave up reading hours sooner than normal. I was able to acquire an .epub e-book of a few books and actually read them on my phone. I even read a few chapters worth on my desktop computer!

Tired eyes or just trained?
For many people, the thought of reading on a screen is tiring. The light from a screen causes stress on the eyes and over time will makes readers shunt it. Hence, most e-book readers such as the Kindle or the Nook use e-ink. It’s a screen technology that simulates printed font, making reading and focusing easier on the eyes. But e-ink still poses the problem of being too dark to read in low light conditions.

But, I see a difference of opinion in our generation. Some are experience eye strain like the older folks while others are flying through easily. What I mean is that we’ve been raised with reading on computer screens. I have no problem working and reading on a computer monitor for hours. And I’m sure there are many out there like me. When it came to reading on my phone, I simple reduced the brightness a bit as to not blow out my retinas and I was on my way. I have friends who do reading entirely on their iPads. The only problem is the weight of the iPad makes it annoying to hold after a long time.

Still curl up
Don’t get me wrong, I still love paper books. There’s a distinct feeling when you buy that latest hardcover or pick up a paperback. And it’s much more satisfactory laying in bed with a paperback. Besides, you can throw a book into your backpack and not worry about it being crushed. Well, maybe the corners will get bent a bit, but that damage is minimal and I regard them as battle scars. Also, the next big feature of digital books is the ability to lend them to your friends, something that you can do with physical books for the last…couple thousand years?

Physical books won’t be going away any time soon, they’re just scooting over a bit to make room for the new guy. Digital books still need to develop a pricing model that makes sense. As it stands, they require less work to produce yet still cost quite high. Hopefully, they’ll be able to make digital books and physical books coexist in a way where neither steals each other’s lunch every single day.



  1. […] it at From print to screen via The Brain 2 […]

  2. Honestly, you can’t beat the feel; even the smell of reading a good paperbook. I’ve read so many online comics, but it’s really not the same compared to a physical comic.

    For comics, at least, I feel like the images are more alive on ink rather than pixel. But again, that’s just me.

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