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posted by janrinok on Wednesday February 25 2015, @07:38PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the read-all-about-it! dept.

Michael Rosenwald writes in the WaPot that textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer reading on paper for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. “These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” says Naomi S. Baron. “It’s quite astounding.” Earlier this month, Baron published “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World,” a book that examines university students’ preferences for print and explains the science of why dead-tree versions are often superior to digital. Her conclusion: readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers. Researchers say readers remember the location of information simply by page and text layout — that, say, the key piece of dialogue was on that page early in the book with that one long paragraph and a smudge on the corner. Researchers think this plays a key role in comprehension - something that is more difficult on screens, primarily because the time we devote to reading online is usually spent scanning and skimming, with few places (or little time) for mental markers.

Another significant problem, especially for college students, is distraction. The lives of millennials are increasingly lived on screens. In her surveys, Baron writes that she found “jaw-dropping” results to the question of whether students were more likely to multitask in hard copy (1 percent) vs. reading on-screen (90 percent). "The explanation is hardly rocket science," says Baron. "When a digital device has an Internet connection, it’s hard to resist the temptation to jump ship: I’ll just respond to that text I heard come in, check the headlines, order those boots that are on sale." “You just get so distracted,” one student says. “It’s like if I finish a paragraph, I’ll go on Tumblr, and then three hours later you’re still not done with reading.”

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday February 25 2015, @07:50PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @07:50PM (#149654)

    Next up in the astroturf rotation, why all good men prefer horses to the new fangled unstylish automobile.

    Something I do like about paper is resolution. I don't work in an open office plan, so I have the space to take 10, maybe 16 sheets of print and spread them all over a desk resulting in the equivalent of a square yard of display that must be tens of thousands of pixels on a side. Good luck buying an electronic device with those specs. Sometimes you need that. Not often, but it happens.

    Anecdotally I do all my "work reading" thats related to the job while multitasking, so its good training for the kids. After graduation they're going to have one tab open to google, another to the upstream github, another to some tutorial, all while coding in an emacs window on another monitor.

    As far as distraction I've found I have to kill all the notifications on my phone to get work done. Any work.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:22PM (#149670)

      Your "resolution" is one problem that e-readers have yet to solve. I prefer printing technical documents, especially when there are complicated instructions, or diagrams, because I can flip pages, or put the pages of interest next to each other on my desk.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:34PM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:34PM (#149673) Homepage

        Not to mention being able to more readily hand-write notes and circle things on paper drawings. I deal with a fuckload of drawings during my day-job and we're constantly fighting the ISO inspection preparation Nazis in being able to have our own paper drawings with hand-written notes in drawings laying around.

        Of course, that may not be a problem if engineers could draw and write procedures that are not in glaring need of basic common sense and logical flow, but engineers lacking common sense will be as timeless as the discipline of engineering itself.

        As for reading paper books for pleasure, well, no shit. You can drop them in the swimming pool, jacuzzi, or toilet without losing a significant investment. And you know those fucking kids are cannonballing all over the pools and jacuzzis because Gen. X-ers don't believe in disciplining their children.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:53PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:53PM (#149686)

        I thought of another example of "innovation" people who don't boardgame LOVE to tell boardgamers how awesome games look on their phone and the future of board gaming is going to be on the phone.

        Meanwhile I got a tournament scale Agricola game going on covering two card tables and I probably need three tables and I'm thinking to myself, and where am I going to find an android phone with a screen that covers three card tables at 100 dpi much less the 600 or so stuff is currently printed at?

        Or Steel Wolves, that needs like an entire room? Even COIN series takes some table real estate? Ever try pathfinder card game with 6 characters, thats like 48 or 52 or whatever piles of cards?

        Also my set of Dominion cards from a decade ago is still playable, but my phone and computer from 2005 isn't working so well... I kinda like the idea I could whip out "Phantom Leader" in 2035 and play if I want.

      • (Score: 2) by Jaruzel on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:00PM

        by Jaruzel (812) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:00PM (#149688) Homepage Journal

        I'd never swap out my massive dead tree fiction collection for e-ink, simply because reading is just *better* when it's a flexiable, warm, book that needs no power, and has always 'instant on'. Proper bookmarks are also more trust-worthy than a digital flag on a file.

        For technical tomes though, I'd love an e-reader - it needs to be at least 10" screen size, and be able to display PDFs correctly formatted. If such a thing existed I'd buy it in heartbeat and fill it up with the 1000s of technical manuals I've been meaning to read...

        --
        This is my opinion, there are many others, but this one is mine.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:32PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:32PM (#149749) Journal

          See, I'm just the opposite. Tech books, I need paper, so I can scrawl on it.
          I dislike, (but completely understand) software or hardware manuals in PDF form, because you can't easily zip from place to place.
          And reading history that has many maps is a nightmare on an e-reader.

          But regular reading, for enjoyment, give the an ereader every time. Oh, and make it e-ink please.
          Nothing messes up your sleep worse than staring at light emitting screens late into the night.
          Reading a physical book with one hand, or no hands? Great.
          Irritating font? Change it.
          Forgot your ereader at home, pick up exactly where you left off on your phone.

          No, for casual reading anywhere, anytime, give me an ereader every time, and take these moldering paperbacks out of my sight.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by stormwyrm on Thursday February 26 2015, @12:13AM

            by stormwyrm (717) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 26 2015, @12:13AM (#149779) Journal

            For tech books, paper may be nice, but electronic editions offer something that can be really valuable: the ability to quickly search for specific information. Finding out where a massive manual mentions how to do X is relatively easy with a properly built PDF, but can be incredibly clumsy with paper.

            --
            Nothing in life is to be feared, only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, that we may fear less.
            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:52AM

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:52AM (#149798) Journal

              True, search is nice, as long as your reading platform lets you quickly bookmark your present position so that you can return.

              A physical book with a good index, and a few extra fingers to retain your current page works too. I've noticed that PDFs seem to dispense with indexes, relying on search capability.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 0) by Balderdash on Thursday February 26 2015, @03:28AM

            by Balderdash (693) on Thursday February 26 2015, @03:28AM (#149829)

            I use an early 7 inch Android tablet to read for pleasure.

            Cool Reader in night mode works very well. Black background with light gray text doesn't seem to interfere with sleep as much as a white background and black text.

            --
            I browse at -1. Free and open discourse requires consideration and review of all attempts at participation.
    • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Thursday February 26 2015, @02:48PM

      by WillAdams (1424) on Thursday February 26 2015, @02:48PM (#149959)

      True, but the new-fangled electronics do afford some options which paper don't. I've been doing the assembly instructions for a hobby-level CNC milling machine ( http://docs.shapeoko.com [shapeoko.com] ) --- after it was featured in _Popular Mechanics_ we had much less mechanically inclined people buying them and trying to put them together --- people who couldn't intuit the location of "hidden" parts the location of which was implied by symmetry, but not explicitly shown.

      Converted the diagrams to SVG and added a clickable parts list which would highlight all instances of a part:

      http://docs.shapeoko.com/content/tPictures/PS20029-100.svg [shapeoko.com]

      One can zoom in / out as desired and a number of people have put their machines together w/o printing the instructions, instead just using an iPad, Android or Windows tablet to view them.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday February 27 2015, @12:00AM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 27 2015, @12:00AM (#150214)

        One can zoom in / out as desired and a number of people have put their machines together w/o printing the instructions, instead just using an iPad, Android or Windows tablet to view them.

        Yes sir +1000 to that post the days of my printing out a schematic diagram or PCB layout are over, its all tablet for a couple years now. Zoom and scroll all I want. I imagine tablets and phones will sweep the construction industry sooner or later too.

        Much as I used to screw around making hand drawn diagrams in the bad old days when working on my car, but now I use the phone camera as my "breadcumbs" to make sure I don't leave parts out.

  • (Score: 2) by SlimmPickens on Wednesday February 25 2015, @07:57PM

    by SlimmPickens (1056) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @07:57PM (#149657)

    Heh. Those people don't have e-ink. I just wish I could have something like a paperwhite 3G kindle without the Amazon account.

    The issue of people developing bad reading habits is a seperate one IMO. In this day and age switching between searching, skimming and absorbing is part of reading itself, if you can't do it you can't read.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by physicsmajor on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:39PM

      by physicsmajor (1471) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:39PM (#149679)

      You might want to check out the Kobo Aura HD. It's basically a paperwhite sans Amazon.

      Also, the Nook Simple Touch is amazing for pure reading on an ergonomic level. The resolution may not be quite as high, but it's past high enough. I've read probably a hundred thousand pages on mine.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:17PM

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:17PM (#149742) Homepage Journal

        That's what I use. It's good for reading fiction, some pdfs -- stuff that you read sequentially.

        pdf's that are from conference proceedings in two columns in sall type to save money when printing it for the paper proceedings -- these are almost unreadably small. The zoom feature requires too much scrolling to be comfortable.

        Not very useful for mathematics. Mathematics epubs are often properly formatted, and hence readable, but often have cross-references. "Applying equation 7.34 we obtain ..." And whoever formats them seem to forget to use the epub HTML codes for links. The result is a *lot* of paging around whereupon you lose where you were originally. For a paper book, you'd just keep your thumb in it whhile you paged back.

        For technical pdf's like that I use my Android tablet (approx 10-inch screen) and there are a variety of pdf viewers available. This kind of works.

        In general, when the content permits it, I prefer an e-ink e-reader.

        -- hendrik

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by K_benzoate on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:03PM

    by K_benzoate (5036) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:03PM (#149661)

    I'm young enough that I can't remember a world without the Internet and reading text on screens, but I'll never give up my paper books. I do like my Kindle for traveling because I can take more with me in less space, but it's an inferior experience. For me, the same thing that makes books impractical is also their appeal. I like my small library because of its physical presence and permanence. There's also something timeless about my book collection. My oldest book is over a hundred years old. I can pull it off the shelf and read it just as easily as when it was new. In a hundred more years, it'll probably still be around and will be just as accessible. I can leave that to someone else when I'm gone.

    I doubt PDF/epub/mobi will be around for even another 20 years, and the devices we use to read them last an even shorter amount of time. There's also DRM to worry about. You're explicitly not allowed to give some of those files away, and that's a scandal.

    --
    Climate change is real and primarily caused by human activity.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:06PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:06PM (#149690)

      I think its hilarious seeing your post next to ikanreed's post complaining about 5 boxes, especially considering 5 boxes is like ONE big bookshelf and my house has, if I counted correctly, 8 bookshelves? So that's 40 heavy boxes? They add up over time ya know. What kills me is collectors editions as gifts.

      • (Score: 2) by K_benzoate on Thursday February 26 2015, @08:30AM

        by K_benzoate (5036) on Thursday February 26 2015, @08:30AM (#149886)

        My library fills an entire bedroom of the home I inherited at no cost. If I was forced to relocate these books every few years, I would probably feel differently. As it is, I have a permanent home for my library which will be in my family indefinitely. This is a huge privilege. If I was an oft-relocating hermit I'd probably settle on some drm-free electronic library and a Kindle.

        --
        Climate change is real and primarily caused by human activity.
    • (Score: 2) by Adamsjas on Wednesday February 25 2015, @11:31PM

      by Adamsjas (4507) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @11:31PM (#149773)

      Screw DRM. Its theft.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by anubi on Thursday February 26 2015, @03:03AM

        by anubi (2828) on Thursday February 26 2015, @03:03AM (#149820) Journal

        DRM is the primary reason I have held off on e-books. A tablet with .pdf reader is OK, but seeing how DRM is being implemented to restrict use of the thing, I see no reason to actually buy something like that. As far as I am concerned, the only use DRM has in a book is to force college kids to buy the latest course text as yet another way of extorting money because the kids can't substitute another good and pass the course.

        I would just as soon buy a DRM'ed E-book as buy a bicycle with interlocks on it where I must first get permission from someone else to ride it. What use is the damned thing?

        I saw those nooks at the bookstore, but no-one there could show me how to do anything useful with them. They looked to me like they had little use to do anything but buy stuff for. And then, one accident and your whole inventory is wiped out.

        No thanks, I will use a tablet and PDF reader, transferring whatever files I am interested in reading to PDF and importing them. And knowing if I want to revisit the text 50 years from now, I can do so. I can still read my old .txt files, however I would be hard pressed to read anything "Microsofted". Those proprietary formats become obsoleted with software revisions and are only useful for temporary use, like use of a rented car.

        This morning while doing the king-thing on the throne, I was revisiting my past with the old Sylvania tube manual I was given as a kid. It has complete documentation on things like those old 7 inch round CRT's that used to be in TV's. All the old vacuum tubes I played around with as a kid. There I was, mulling over all the old vacuum tubes, designing in my head all sorts of amplifiers, but knowing it would be too much work to actually build one of them. I wonder if I would be able to do that 50 years from now with today's E-book technologies? Or would it be like trying to load a modern word document into DOS? That book was copyright 1953.

        I was a young kid when that thing was printed.

        I have a hardcopy and a PDF of the RCA tube manual. Its on the net. I really need to find someone who scans books into PDF format, and get my Sylvania manual scanned so I can upload it to the folks who shared the PDF'd RCA manual with me. My guess is I probably have one of the last remaining old Sylvania technical manuals of vacuum tubes. The paper will eventually rot, but worse yet, I pass away and the book falls into the hands of someone who doesn't know what it is, and it becomes more landfill. The internet is now serving the purpose of an international public museum, and as long as we can keep it accessible to anyone interested, hopefully the works of those long since gone will be still be remembered.

        If these works get DRM'd, for all purposes, they will cease to exist.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
        • (Score: 1) by ncc74656 on Thursday February 26 2015, @04:33AM

          by ncc74656 (4917) on Thursday February 26 2015, @04:33AM (#149849) Homepage

          DRM is the primary reason I have held off on e-books. A tablet with .pdf reader is OK, but seeing how DRM is being implemented to restrict use of the thing, I see no reason to actually buy something like that. As far as I am concerned, the only use DRM has in a book is to force college kids to buy the latest course text as yet another way of extorting money because the kids can't substitute another good and pass the course.

          I would just as soon buy a DRM'ed E-book as buy a bicycle with interlocks on it where I must first get permission from someone else to ride it. What use is the damned thing?

          If there is a means to remove the DRM (as there is for both Kindle and Nook), I'll buy it, get rid of the DRM, and archive the clean copy...DMCA be damned. If there isn't (supposedly there is for iBooks, but I've not gotten it to work), I won't buy it. (Kinda a shame with the iBooks thing, too, as my late wife had over $40 in iTunes credit I could use for books...guess I'll have to burn it off on music instead.)

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by anubi on Thursday February 26 2015, @05:48AM

            by anubi (2828) on Thursday February 26 2015, @05:48AM (#149860) Journal

            I did not adopt PADS-PCB for DOS until a guy at the PCB house I was using shared a version that did not require the dongle.

            At that point, I felt safe enough to know I was not going to be locked out of my own work because someone else wanted to force me into an unwanted upgrade - an upgrade that would likely be laced with yet more burdensome terms I have to accept.

            That made the difference whether the little company I was with at the time went PADS or Protel.

            We ended up buying three copies of licensed PADS of the same version, the company owner kept the dongles as "proof of purchase", and the three of us who were using the software used the neutered version.

            It wasn't about piracy. It was all about resilience and resistance to extortion into unwanted post-purchase obligations. We knew some businesses practice an extortion model of holding our own work as hostage to enforce their demands.

            Incidentally, even though all of my new stuff is in EAGLE, I still have PADS for DOS running in a legacy machine, and I can still support everything I had ever done for that company. I still have the original program disks and the manuals, but the dongle ceased to function long ago. Neither is that old version of PADS even supported, but by now it makes no difference... I know it will work as long as I can find a DOS machine to run it in. Same with Futurenet DASH-2.

            And, yes, when my work with that company was complete, I took the dongle representing my paid copy with me. Its still in a drawer, along with the original install disks and the instruction manuals. I would be hard-pressed to even read the original install disks, but I keep them just in case anyone ever questions me about pirated code.

            I do not steal stuff, but I see nothing wrong with trying to protect myself from businesses who I think are likely to pull a fast one on me, kidnapping my own work and holding it hostage, as a business model based on extortion to force me into something else.

            If I am going to "own" something, I have to know someone else can't take it back anytime he wants.... just as he has to have assurance I cannot reverse payment anytime I want.

            I don't think our lobbied congressmen see it that way, though.

            --
            "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
          • (Score: 2) by Adamsjas on Tuesday March 03 2015, @11:06PM

            by Adamsjas (4507) on Tuesday March 03 2015, @11:06PM (#152794)

            Investigate Calibre and the third party plugins named DeDrm_calibre_plugin.
            Google is your friend.

            You have to have a valid Barns and Noble, Amazon Kindle account. Basically if you can read it with their software on your pc then you can remove the drm. (In other words if it was a legal purchase).

            • (Score: 1) by ncc74656 on Thursday March 05 2015, @11:26PM

              by ncc74656 (4917) on Thursday March 05 2015, @11:26PM (#153675) Homepage

              Investigate Calibre and the third party plugins named DeDrm_calibre_plugin. Google is your friend.

              That's pretty much what I alluded to with the parenthetical.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ikanreed on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:04PM

    by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:04PM (#149662) Journal

    When I'm moving. You get to your fourth or fifth extremely box full of books, see the huge pile of boxes left to move, and then you get a bit of an appreciation for tablets.

    • (Score: 1) by Anton on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:59PM

      by Anton (4337) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:59PM (#149687)

      Multiple moves over the last decade have helped to sort my book collection down to tomes of high importance to me. The mass, and space it takes up, forces me to decide on the personal importance of keeping it around. The same cannot be said for my ever growing digital collection...

    • (Score: 2) by Daiv on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:45PM

      by Daiv (3940) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:45PM (#149719)

      Invest in a hand truck (a dolly). They're relatively inexpensive, solve this problem and you'll find all kinds of scenarios to use it in. I've been trying to figure out how to put my books in my will. Even after I know I'll be gone, I still don't want to give them up.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by ikanreed on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:51AM

        by ikanreed (3164) on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:51AM (#149797) Journal

        Take them to the crematorium with you. Send mixed messages!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by willoughby on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:17PM

    by willoughby (4742) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:17PM (#149667)

    First, E-readers are mentioned. Then, toward the end of the first paragraph, "...reading online...", and later "...a digital device has an internet connection...".

    I don't know if they are talking about desktop computers, laptops, tablets, or e-ink readers - and I'm not sure they know, either.

    I have had several e-ink readers and have had none of the problems they mention.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:35PM

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:35PM (#149675) Journal

      I think it depends on the book. I have an E-Ink Kindle I rarely use for anything but novels. When a book has footnotes or endnotes, reading it on the kindle is a massive pain -- either I just skip the notes or go through all the button pressing to view them and get back to the text. Neither option is desirable. Even novels like the LOTR have maps and things that are nice to refer to on occasion while reading and doing so on a Kindle is a pain. I've tried using the Kindle app on my Android tablet for the touch screen ability (as compared to the buttons on my kindle), and I still find it clunky with supplementary materials, plus not so nice as E-Ink.

      So for me, a book that has no foot/end notes, no pictures, no maps, and no supplementary materials is the type of thing I'll read on my kindle. Otherwise, I just want the paper book.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by richtopia on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:48PM

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:48PM (#149683) Homepage Journal

      From the article, this chart is looking at textbooks:

      http://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_480w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2015/02/23/Local-Enterprise/Graphics/w-onlinereading0222.jpg?uuid=HY00irrwEeSd-wM2bnGa-A [washingtonpost.com]

      I completely agree, reference material in dead tree form is superior. You can flip between pages rapidly, get a feeling for how deep in the material a topic is covered, write notes in the margin, large pages and pictures for reference, and always have it on a shelf. However, when it comes to works of fiction, I would argue that the ebook readers are a good idea given the formfactor. A paperback novel does not need large real estate for images, and an ebook reader is ideal for travel.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:20PM (#149669)

    Paper does not emit light. Most e-readers do. Looking at light is subtlety painful. Worse, most websites have standardized on white backgrounds. A white background would be fine on an e-ink display, but on a display that emits light, that causes subtle pain. Hence why dead trees are more comfortable. We spend enough time as it is during the day looking at light from monitors. We need to rest by looking at something that is not emitting light directly into our eyes. Also, stress interferes with learning. So for recreation and learning, e-readers need passive displays.

    Color e-ink may never look as good as displays that emit light simply because when you emit light, you control the color temperature. With e-ink, the color will change if you bring it between warm incandescent lighting (2700k) and more natural daylight (6000k). But that is how print works, so it should be an acceptable compromise if it is comfort that you are looking for.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:21PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:21PM (#149702)

      Sure AC, just like TV. Nobody watches TV. TV doesn't emit light, it only emits dumbness waves (tm) or something harmless like that.

      Also I'm kinda mystified from a physics and biological perspective how a light photon magically knows it was reflected and not generated or whatever. Good luck with that. So I could stare into a laser reflected from a mirror and that would be OK, but not looking directly into the laser.

      I donno AC. The old site /. was crawling with crazy e-ink astroturfer trolls, it was beyond ridiculous, to the point of comedy, so I'm going to mod you funny.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:13PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:13PM (#149740) Journal

        Also I'm kinda mystified from a physics and biological perspective

        Speaking of biological perspective, if I'm reading a glowing screen in bed at night, I have troubles falling asleep (yes, I'm a fussy sleeper too, e.g. can't sleep well if not in cotton sheets).
        Seems [bbc.com] to have something to do with the light spectrum of those photons and the melatonin levels.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hendrikboom on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:27PM

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:27PM (#149748) Homepage Journal

        The photon doesn't know (well, maybe there's some quantum superposition going on), but there's the matter of contrast between the page and the ambient illumination. Your eyes have to work to accommodate both, and I suspect they're not that great at doing it. There's also the question of flicker, which can be tiring even if you don't explicitly notice it.

        And with e-ink there's no difficulty reading in bright sunlight.

        -- hendrik

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:41PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:41PM (#149755)

        The intensity of light making it inside your eyeball is very different, for one. Your eyes see relative differences. Not absolutes. Even color is relative. Look up color illusions.

        If you want to understand the biological perspective, look at what 60 nm light does to your melatonin levels and your brain's regulation.

        Do you want to rate this funny too?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:15AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:15AM (#149789)

          460 nm, not 60 nm. Sorry for the copy and paste mistake.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:15AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 26 2015, @01:15AM (#149790) Journal

          look at what 60 nm light does to your melatonin levels and your brain's regulation.

          If nm is nanometers, 60 nm is smack in the middle of extreme UV [wikipedia.org], strongly absorbed by tissue (unlike X) and ionizing radiation. Be expose to that and your melatonin level is the last of your problems (if nm is nautical miles, on the other hand, that's about 2700 Hz, I guess your melatonin level is as safe as it gets)

          On the other hand, while 600 nm (yellow) has an influence on the melatonin suppression, studies (8 pg PDF) [jneurosci.org] suggest that the wavelength with the greatest impact is around (blue) 450-460 nm (see page 5 figure 5).

          --
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    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:40PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @10:40PM (#149754)

      (Dang, VLM beat me to it. Go ahead, mod me redundant)

      > We need to rest by looking at something that is not emitting light directly into our eyes.

      and I need the government to keep its hands off my medicare!

    • (Score: 2) by bart9h on Thursday February 26 2015, @05:44PM

      by bart9h (767) on Thursday February 26 2015, @05:44PM (#150011)

      OLED, man.

      I love reading on my phone, because I can set the brightness level so low I can barely read even in a pitch dark room.
      Combine that with white text on black background, considering that OLED's black is *really* black, and you have a perfect device to read at bed without bothering your S.O.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:39PM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Wednesday February 25 2015, @08:39PM (#149678)

    The whole thing about people abandoning paper books was invented by the media as far as I can tell. I started seeing it with the release of the Kindle and other similar devices. People kept repeating the "fact" that books were on the way out and tablets were taking over for them, so much that it became "true" just because it was repeated a lot. I have never seen any statistics to back up the idea, and as far as I could tell printed book sales increased over the past few years.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:09PM (#149693)

      Indeed. Push for DRM. I buy and lend books all the time.

      Besides, I live with a screen all day. When given a chance, a physical book is just refreshing as hell.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:16PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:16PM (#149699)

      Oh man, whats that abbreviation, LMFGIFY? Kindle sold more quantity ebooks than hardcover in '10 and ditto more revenue in '12.

      Total book sales only go up about a percent a year (far less than inflation which is worrisome long term), and ebook sales went totally parabolic around '09 to '11. Now its dropping to only a bit more than total book sales.

      Probably everyone who's going to go digital has converted, more or less, and the figures are stabilizing around a fifth to quarter of all book sales by dollar.

      • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25 2015, @09:31PM (#149712)

        I'd imagine every single citation you could come up with on dead-tree books sold would not account for the half dozen independent bookstores within a few minutes drive of my house. Nevermind that there is no secondary market for ebooks while there is a couple dozen in the nearest college town. They don't seem to be hurting and two stores focusing on the obscure or first edition works have boomed so much they are literally overflowing with both dead-trees and live customers.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26 2015, @05:15AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26 2015, @05:15AM (#149857)

    As an oldster, I much prefer learning new technologies by reading books as opposed to online material. If there's a PDF that I want to read, I'll send it to the office printer after hours and read the hardcopy.

    I'm mildly surprised that even younger workers prefer to read hardcopy. But, when you factor in the relative newness of the Internet as a source of knowledge, and the clunkiness of client hardware and software (web browsers, etc), I think that will change in the coming years.

    So yeah, I think paper is going to be marginalized, but it will take longer than some of the "visionaries" originally thought. But it will happen.

  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday February 26 2015, @06:19PM

    by Freeman (732) on Thursday February 26 2015, @06:19PM (#150028) Journal

    E-Ink Screen Devices like the Nook GlowLight and Kindle Paperwhite are great examples of Good Devices to Read Electronic Text. The E-Ink Screen is Just Like reading paper. There may be some inconveniences compared to paper, but I have greatly enjoyed my E-Ink Nook. I am over 3/4 of the way through "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Obtained freely from Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1661 [gutenberg.org] It's too bad Public Domain isn't expanding as much as it was intended, but the classics are still there for free.

    --
    "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by darkfeline on Thursday February 26 2015, @08:44PM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Thursday February 26 2015, @08:44PM (#150085) Homepage

    Maybe the problem isn't that e-readers are inherently worse than dead tree books, but that the user interface sucks donkey dongs?

    With the advent of consumer tech, web apps, the graphical user interface, and the cloud, intelligent user interface design is at an all time low.

    Try this experiment: get a paper book, try using it. Flip through it, read it, make bookmarks, leave notes. Now find an e-reader or PDF reader. How long does it take to start up? Lag? How easy to add books? How easy to choose a book in your library? Flip through a book? Make bookmarks? Leave notes? Highlight text? How easy is it just to figure out how to do the above?

    E-readers have the potential to reach higher than paper books (especially when cross-referencing, looking up footnotes, endnotes, or indices), but they're hampered by truly mind-bafflingly inferior user interface design.

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