A Book in the Hand is Worth….?

Thursday, October 2, 2008.

Well, our listeners didn’t weigh in yesterday on the perils of reading to a class with the help of a document camera and projector, but we did put the question out to Twitter and the few responses we received were highly in favour of book-in-hand group reading and the tactile pleasures of the paper book.

Which reminds us that we participated in a conversation this spring on an episode of John Meadows’ On The Log podcast about the future of the book in the age of technology. You can listen to that conversation here.

What do you think? Will we ever abandon the paper book?

Filed under: Podcast


Comment by Andy

October 2, 2008 @ 9:04 am

I have a lot of feelings on this subject. In fact, I’m tinkering with a PB manuscript now that examines this issue (but I need to lessen its preachiness)…


While I feel children should have and need books IN HAND unequivocally, I’m not sure what the future holds. I can’t picture a world without books in their physical form. Certainly, it’s inevitable that there are and will be additional, alternative forms of reading and learning… but will these new technologies REPLACE books altogether in the future? I can only say, I hope not.

Comment by Alycia

October 3, 2008 @ 9:58 am

I’m a public school special education teacher. I also have a degree in educational technology and personally I prefer to read online. However I feel that for children, they really need to have a book in hand. The feel of the paper, having the illustrations right in front of them and just learning falling in love with a tangible object- there’s just no replacement. I remember placing my favorite book under my pillow at night and hoping to fall into the world of Alice in Wonderland, and later- The Hobbit as a child. I’m not sure if that passion around a book can be duplicated on a computer screen.

Comment by Jane Lindaman

October 3, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

At the risk of being accused of self-promotion, I’m going to add my two cents. It was partially in response to the fear of losing the ‘book’ to technology, that Susan Allen and I wrote “Read Anything Good Lately?”. We are not against technology. We gave it a nod with ‘information on the internet’. Perhaps I’m too sentimental, but a book’s battery never needs recharging. And how does one curl up with a good computer? Jane Lindaman

Comment by vivian vasquez

October 4, 2008 @ 12:40 am

One of the first things I have my children’s lit students do is to talk about their first experience with a book. Time and time again what is highlighted in their responses are the contexts in which the encounter with the book took place. They talk about people, they talk about relationships, and they share memories of the experience. They often share that they still have the book and detail where it is kept and what state it’s in and so forth. This could be because having a book in hand was/is a dominant experience for them but increasingly children nowadays are living different sorts of experiences that are much more multi-modal. The question for me is what might technology afford the story experience? I think each experience with story (tech based or paper based) afford different people different things so for me it’s not a question of either or .

Another thing I have my students attend to is their language around and about books. For instance to have as an objective “teaching kids to love books” denies children the opportunity to make informed decisions about how to take in information from books. Print is a powerful medium that can do both harm and good so there are some books that we definitely don’t want to love.

Comment by Alkelda the Gleeful

October 6, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

I’m with Andy, and I vote for all of the above in terms of book media. I’m a fan of paper, though (Carl Sandburg wrote, “Paper people like to meet other paper people”). An article I read yesterday about the resurgence of vinyl records had the quote, “Vinyl is the new books.” I had to laugh.

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