E-books and the cuddle myth

image "It seems every time there is an article about e-books there has to be a line in it about how you cannot cuddle up with an e-book." – Nonstopbooks, via Bibliofutures, in LISNews.

The TeleRead take: Kinda like the bathtub myth, eh? Or the you-can’t-take-’em-to-beach myth? Links lead to The Facts.

"Personally," Nonstopbooks goes on, "I cringe everytime I read about cuddling an e-book. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against cuddling but I don’t think every passionate reader should be labeled a cuddler. For me the closest I come to cuddling is reading on my couch. When I do read on my couch I like to read on my Kindle. I don’t have to hold a Kindle open like I do a book so it is much more relaxing for me to read this way."

(Mother-daughter painting is by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. A prolonged hug is a cuddle. I don’t know if this qualified. So how long do you have to "hug" your Kindle to qualify as a cuddler?)

6 Comments on E-books and the cuddle myth

  1. The Kindle is also great for reading while eating. Easy to prop up without having to keep pages open.

  2. It is far easier to read in bed with the iPhone than with a real book, especially a heavy one. Most of these reviews start with the words “I can’t imagine”, which means they have never tried it!

    The same applies to the immersion argument – i.e. you can’t possibly immerse yourself in an ebook because of screen size, frequent page turning etc. If the book is good enough the mode of delivery is usually irrelevant. The other day I managed to exit from the tube (subway) navigate 2 crowded concourses, swipe ticket over a ticket barrier and scale 2 escalators while reading my book in eReader on iPhone. When I looked up I was startled to discover that I was out of the tube station, as I had no recollection of any of those actions – they took place automatically. That seems pretty immersive to me!

  3. I don’t own a Kindle, but I cuddle with my iPhone all the time! :-)

    Seriously, I think this cuddle myth is more of an excuse than anything for some people who, for whatever reason, don’t want to embrace e-books.

    I also agree with what Christo said, about the immersion argument. Last August I spent a good chunk of a plane ride reading an ebook on my iPhone and I totally lost track of time. Had they not told me to turn off all electronic devices, I probably would have read right through the landing!

    Great post! Keep up the good work!

  4. Off the top of my head:

    – Cuddling ruins paperback books. One good squeeze and the binding will never be the same.

    – Why the bathtub comparison? Do people read in the tub? I try to keep my books far away from water. Best case scenario and even a drop can run the ink on a page (OK, so I buy cheap versions…), or if you drop the whole thing in it’s done for. Sure, you’re out more money losing the whole reading device, but why bring this argument up? Isn’t this a bit like: “Oh yeah, well, fire will ruin your Kindle!” Both printed and eBooks are equally afraid of water (yeah, it’s debatable if a dunking would really ruin a book reader, but…) so if you’re a printed book lover who hates eBooks, why bring it up as if it’s a fault of only eBook readers?

    Also, I agree with Christo. My iPod Touch is MUCH nicer for reading in bed. Not only is the light out (so my wife can sleep while I read until the wee hours), but I can lay on my side and read without the binding getting in the way.

  5. I used to try to read in the bath tub, but book vs. e-reader aside, the water gets cold too fast to make it an issue.

    On the other hand, as far as reading while lying down goes, I find my Kindle easier to read than a print book. I need bifocals and it’s a pain to hold the book up to the correct place for the bifocals to kick in, but with Kindle I just make the font bigger and take off my glasses altogether.

  6. I could read in the tub if I wanted to, thanks to the magic of the ziplock baggie + my iPod Touch.

    But I generally take showers.

    I must admit to having been rather surprised by the whole “but I can’t read it in the tub” line of complaints. Not just because I’d never even thought of reading in the tub before, but because their complaints are so counterintuitive.

    Their line of reasoning seems to be that it’s okay to read a print book but not an e-book in the tub, in case you drop it. But all the same, you’ll end up getting water spots on your print book that way.

    But if you read an e-book device inside a ziplock baggie, the danger from dropping it is vastly reduced and there are no water spots. Thus, an e-book device is better for reading in the tub than a print book.

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