What was that eBook again?

QuestionMarkLast week, I stumbled onto a post at Time.com (via Lifehacker.com) about the effects on memory that reading physical books versus eBooks can have. The writer says that after receiving a Kindle as a gift, she loaded it up with a few pieces from her favourite authors for ‘light reading’ (her words, not mine), but quickly discovered that she wasn’t retaining details of what she was reading as well as she thought she should. After some research, and linking to yet another article reporting the same phenomenon, she discovered that eBooks may actually be bad if you want to retain any details about what you read.

It’s coincidental that I found this post, because a few months ago, I was buying some home medical reference books with my friend in Seattle and she commented that her thought was that I would go for the books on Kindle or Nook instead of the physical books. My response was that for something as serious as my health, I instinctively knew that I had to have the physical books on hand.

At the time, I had no concept of why I knew this or where the thought had initially come from. In retrospect, I realize that the reason is simple: I have myself found that for light entertainment, the eBook reading is great, but for school and reference it just isn’t as reliable.

Oh, don’t get me wrong! I love my Kindle, I still read on it and will always opt for the eBook over the physical book for most of my reading. However, for my reference books – such as the Chicago Manual of Style and my other language reference volumes, I much prefer to have a physical book that can provide some tactile memory cues to sections, points, and paragraphs. My copy of CMS is littered with pieces of post-it notes and bona-fide bookmarks that give me visual clues and prompts to sections I think I may want to revisit over time.

When I go to the dentist, or a long road trip, or on vacation, however, the last thing I want is to be reading the Chicago Manual of Style anyway and my Kindle is the perfect fit because I can carry all my books with me wherever I go. And who really needs to later reference page 233 or chapter 10 from that novel you’re reading now anyway?

Read. Review. Remember.

Well, in the event that you do want to highlight a passage in an eBook, this is one area in which the Kindle is the superior device. When you highlight anything in your Kindle, you can access it online at http://kindle.amazon.com by logging in with your amazon.com account credentials. This way you can access everything you have highlighted about a book in one spot without having to click-through the book again to find them. Furthermore, you can see all the highlights that anyone has added to the book.

Take for example, the book Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence in Speaking, Pronouncing, and Writing the English Language, Corrected - All the highlights in this book can be accessed at this page: https://kindle.amazon.com/work/mistakes-occurrence-pronouncing-corrected-ebook/B007D8ADCM/B004TPDBL2. Alongside is a link to the location in the text which when I click, attempts to open the eBook in Kindle for Mac (my computing platform).

Of course, if you have the Free-eBooks.net iOS or Android app, you will be happy to know that we also store your notes, highlights, and bookmarks. And the bonus is that when you click on a particular highlight, our app will open up that book in which you initially highlighted the text and straight to the particular location of the highlighted text to boot.

Tell us in the comments, on our Facebook wall, or even a tweet – what has been your experience with reading eBooks? Do you remember as much as you think you should?

One thought on “What was that eBook again?

  1. I also have found that I do not seem to retain what I have read in eBooks as well as in actual paper books. It is also difficult to “go back” to a certain passage instead of just paging back to it in a real book. But I do love my e reader and like the author would not trade it for anything.

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