Due to my borderline obsession with technology and reading, I'm a proud owner of Amazon's Kindle. I haven't traded up yet to the Kindle 2 (but I am eagerly waiting for a 3rd version to be released). Since I first started using the Kindle, I've hardly read a "dead tree" book (which is, of course, how readers of e-books refer to traditional, printed books). In fact, I hardly even enter a bookstore anymore. I simply love the Kindle and the portability of my library.
What''s been even more rare than a visit to the bookstore is a trip to the library. This past weekend was probably my first trip to the library since I received my Kindle. And how much I missed the experience immediately struck me. Physically touching books and searching through racks containing books similar to what I was looking for was gratifying. While I've read a lot and enjoyed myself in my time with the Kindle, I had already started to forget how much I enjoy trips to the bookstore and the library.
I don't have any answers or deep thoughts about it (at least not yet). But it's an interesting place we find ourselves in. What will happen in the future? Will students be familiar with physical books or will they "read" everything on Kindle, iPad, and computer-like devices? Or will these e-readers and similar technologies simply augment our reading opportunities (similar to how radio, television, and the Internet have supplemented newspapers, magazines, and oral story telling)?
Time will tell.