This is the best explanation I’ve read to-date about how and why ebooks “feel different” than print books for readers. I particularly like the analogy to Google Maps:

In contrast [to print books], most screens, e-readers, smartphones and tablets interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds. A reader of digital text might scroll through a seamless stream of words, tap forward one page at a time or use the search function to immediately locate a particular phrase — but it is difficult to see any one passage in the context of the entire text. As an analogy, imagine if Google Maps allowed people to navigate street by individual street, as well as to teleport to any specific address, but prevented them from zooming out to see a neighborhood, state or country. Although e-readers like the Kindle and tablets like the iPad re-create pagination — sometimes complete with page numbers, headers and illustrations — the screen only displays a single virtual page: it is there and then it is gone. Instead of hiking the trail yourself, the trees, rocks and moss move past you in flashes with no trace of what came before and no way to see what lies ahead.

Read the entire article, it’s excellent: “Do e-readers inhibit reading comprehension?” by Ferris Jabr.

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2 Responses to Understanding Why eBooks “Feel Different”

  1. […] For my blog reflection this week I ended up at Wesley Fryer’s Moving at the Speed of Creativity to his explanation of resistance to eBooks in “Understanding Why eBooks ‘Feel Different.‘” […]

  2. […] author of Moving at the Speed of Creativity and our textbook for DED 318, recently talked about why eTextbooks “feel” different. He said the best explanation he could come up with was […]

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