This week I have been reading an old-fashioned paper book. (The Martian – outstanding read) For the last two years most of my reading has been on my Kindle. I love my Kindle. I didn’t realize quite how much it changed things for me until I started reading the “dead tree” book though.
There are a couple of game changers for me in the Kindle. One is the obvious fact that if I read a book that is part of a series and I like it I can order the rest of the books and start reading them right away. A more subtle change though is that the Kindle has a dictionary.
If I run into a word I don’t know, which happens more than I like to admit, I can highlight the work and the dictionary will tell me what it means.
This feature doesn’t seem to exist in paper books. Yes, I find myself wanting to press on a word on the paper to see definitions but it doesn’t work. Silly I know but one gets used to things.
I remember as a child reading encyclopedias which were also paper back them. I would see references to other articles and in a few hours I would have a stack of books as I followed links from one article and book to another. I could do that because my mother worked hard selling encyclopedias so that we could have a set at home. Not every child was so lucky. Today of course we have the world wide web and following links is easy and doesn’t require stacks of books. It’s wonderful for the curious.
I wonder what things will be like when my grandson is my age. Will he just ask the computer for more information and say “tell me more?” Will he virtually walk though virtual corridors looking at virtual things? Or will it be something else again?