EBooks are Changing the Way We Read and Write — A Writer’s Path

I haven’t really thought a lot about quantifying how I read differently on an electronic device, but it’s definitely different. After this post, though, I’m going to give it a bit more thought.

by Jillian Casey Although it is a bit cliché, on my bookshelf, I have a well-worn copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and the novel has been read so many times that it practically falls open to the page where Elizabeth Bennet cleverly refuses Mr. Darcy’s first proposal. However, this action becomes impossible when […]

via EBooks are Changing the Way We Read and Write — A Writer’s Path

2 thoughts on “EBooks are Changing the Way We Read and Write — A Writer’s Path

    • I hadn’t thought about that aspect, so I did a little research this morning.

      It turns out that the things our mothers told us about TV and screens being bad for our eyes is about half true (which, to be fair, is better than many of the old wives’ tales we’ve heard all our lives).

      This article says that screens don’t cause eye damage (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/do-e-readers-cause-eye-strain/?_r=0). But that isn’t the whole story. I’ve found a lot of debate about whether screens cause more eyestrain. Arguments for say that our eyes see pixelated images differently than analog images, and that the difference can cause eyestrain. We also tend to blink less, which can cause dry eyes.

      On the flip side, people with vision problems can read eReaders with LESS eyestrain, because you can increase the text size and add backlight for additional contrast (http://www.rebuildyourvision.com/blog/vision-conditions/computer-vision-syndrome/ereader-vs-printed-book-which-is-better-for-your-eyesight/).

      The additional issue seen from spending a lot of time in front of screens is sleep damage (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30574260), which is a pretty widespread issue caused by the blue light emitted. I try to reduce this by using Apple’s Night Shift option on my iOS devices and an app called f.lux for my PCs. These allow me to set times to set the color of my screens to something warmer as it gets later in the day. Not perfect, but an improvement.

      The biggest way to fight this though, is one I’ve noticed myself, though I never verified it or checked the reasoning behind it until now. An eInk reader like the Nook or Kindle is not backlit, so you don’t have the blue light issue, and it’s not pixelated in the same way as lit screens.

      I don’t find I get eyestrain from my Kindle, but everyone is different. I know people who don’t get eyestrain from computers, while I tend to start feeling like my eyeballs have been boiled after a while. And some people may get eyestrain from eInk, or even from reading a paper book. On this one, I’m going to go with: Find what works for you.

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