I LOVE to read. Read, read, read, read, read. Sometimes I wish that instead of following my passion for Economics in college I had continued in my study and love of literature. I think back over this sometimes especially because I often feel that my field of study did not significantly impact my career path to becoming a recruiter. After I graduated, I really just needed a job and actually credit my becoming a recruiter to my friend, and now pseudo-husband Jarett for my first recommendation to my first job as a new student recruiter for the University of Idaho New Student Services. Though I digress.
In 2011 I began keeping track of how many books I read in a year. Last year it was 26, front to back. I am also currently in a reading contest with a dear friend of mine who works also works in Healthcare IT for HIMSS Analytics. A reading contest you say? Yes, the contest is, “Who can finish The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand first?” Our previous bout took place over Atlas Shrugged also by Ayn Rand; a hair-raising 690 and 1069 pages respectively. Fun and tortuous to be certain; however has me thinking because my friend is reading a book (as in something made out of paper) and I am reading the Kindle version.
This had me thinking (and writing) about e-readers. I was also spurred on by Joe Lavelle’s last comment in his most recent post where he admits that instead of having books in his office, he now reads on an iPad/Kindle. In Healthcare IT where we are charging forward to create a paperless healthcare industry, are there any purists who still read a book?
I love my Kindle as well as my Kindle App on my Android Tablet (I can feel all you Apple folks grinding your teeth right now). I think the benefits include access to thousands of books with minimal effort, the ability to peruse reader reviews before buying, speed and convenience. However, I can’t help but think that the lore of books is being wasted. In this New York Times article, the author gives an example that social conversations between strangers on the subway that begin with, “That looks like an interesting book cover,” are ever decreasing. One distressed patron stated that she’s proud she’s reading a title like Anna Karenina and wants those around her to see it.
I believe e-readers erase the surprise of judging a book by its cover and taking a guess that could turn into your new favorite story. Dancer by Colum McCann turned into a book that I can’t forget and picked up randomly at a Borders Going-Out-of-Business sale. And don’t you like thinking about the journey a book has taken? Let’s say you pick up a book at Goodwill or a used book store, and you find a Christmas note inside or a receipt from 1992 that was used as a page marker. Don’t you think it’s neat (and maybe a little gross teehee) to imagine where that book has been and who has read it before you? All this is lost on an e-reader. And finally, that used book store smell will never get to your nose from an e-reader.
For me, I’m a mix of both paper and e-reader books, but am curious who else is out there that won’t give up their musty, well-traveled books. So what do you think Healthcare IT comrades and book nerds out there? Who is with me on paper?