By Greg Sitek
The following editorial appeared in the July issues of the Associated Construction Publications
When you read on a computer monitor, a tablet, smartphone or even an e-reader you are looking at a screen, staring into a lighted surface that is hard, sharp, bright, even glaring. Except for a few, these screens are not “eye-friendly” for reading text. Pictures are fantastic especially with some of the newest technologies.
I read most of my non-work-related books on a Kindle and have been for several years, it’s convenient; it’s easy; it’s quick and an especially good travel companion. I’ve tried reading on tablets, computers, smartphones and find that it is more difficult.
I still read books and magazines, newspapers and newsletters. Because I’m old fashioned? No, not really. There’s something to holding a book or magazine, a feel even a smell. Pages are easy to turn and go back to; mark or fold the corner for quick easy future reference. To me this is a shortcoming with the e-readers – going back to something you read, making noites in the margins or highlighting. The devices do have a highlighter feature and you can click on a “go-to” tab or a button but it’s not as easy as it should be.
Back in the old days when you want to share an article it was a simple matter of copying it and forwarding it to your target recipient. If I’m reading a book on an e-reader I can’t do this – well maybe there are some out there that have this capability but mine doesn’t. I have problems reading e-zines, or digital magazines. It seems like I’m constantly adjusting the size of the pages to make them readable. Yes, if you want to share an article, you can send a link to the publication, or even the article and you can attach your comments and observations.
No question, there are pros and cons about both print and electronic communication materials. To me the biggest difference is in the reality of a book or magazine – they are tangible; you can hold and feel them; they have character and personality. Pick up a book that’s a hundred years old and you have to wonder who else held that book; how did they feel about it; did they learn from it; where has the book been.
Book or magazine, when you hold them in you hands you know that others have been involved with their creation. Someone wrote the material and checked the facts; another proofed the copy; still another formatted it for printing; a designer or artist laid the material out and placed the pictures and graphics; the compiled information found its way to a printing press either in a digital format or a printers plate; ink was applied to the blank paper which was cut to size, shipped to a bindery, assembled, labeled or packaged for shipment.
By the time you get it, it has been handled by a number of people adding to its character. Books can be handed down in a family or in your profession. I still have most of the books I was given when I first started reading and writing and when I became involved in construction journalism. I still use a number of them as reference tools.
The other day I was sent a link to a video about Lisa Bu a Chinese woman who found the door to a new world through books.
“What happens when a dream you’ve held since childhood … doesn’t come true? As Lisa Bu adjusted to a new life in the United States, she turned to books to expand her mind and create a new path for herself. She shares her unique approach to “comparative reading” in this lovely, personal talk about the magic of books.”
Lisa Bu, How Books Can OpenYour Mind
Today reading can be enhanced with the use of technology. The above link is one way, it allows you to stop reading and watch a video on the subject. In other instances you could link to other related articles enhancing your knowledge.
Books, magazines, newspapers are treasure chests of knowledge and information and they are good friends.