There are many stereotypes that go along with being an English major. The “proper” English major has a passion for literature, appreciates poetry, will always correct your grammar and always has a book in hand. However, it’s important to look at the English major in the digital age. The trend of e-readers in particular is often looked down upon by those who consider themselves “true” lovers of reading. I’ve heard this argument for years from some of my best friends, classmates and angry strangers in bookstores, and quite honestly it drives me insane.
There’s no reason why someone who finds it more convenient and accessible to read through digital means should have to feel ashamed or feel like they aren’t “actually reading.”
This isn’t just my individual prejudice, however. An article I found on the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development website called “E-Readers: Powering Up for Engagement” argues that giving students the means to read digitally actually increases their confidence and motivation to read. Students in today’s day and age are more interested in technology than other “boring” means of reading and learning, so by simply providing the same information through some means of technology, you capture the attention of students who would have otherwise been disinterested.
I have a ten-year-old brother who loves reading, especially because he can do it on his Kindle. There are parental controls that can allow parents to block the internet and other capabilities on the Kindle, before I’m attacked with the argument that kids don’t have the attention span to keep reading without perusing the Internet.
Benefits of reading digitally goes far beyond the mental benefits offered to those who use it. There are many more concrete examples to prove that e-readers are superior. While the initial price of an e-reader, like a Nook or an Amazon tablet may be higher than the cost of a book, but e-readers are inherently less expensive simply because of lesser production costs.
Another argument against e-readers is the fact that students are missing out on the classics. This is easily disputed by the fact that on many devices, classic books such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Moby Dick are free or deeply discounted, like this copy of Jane Eyre $0.99 through Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader. There’s no use in arguing that a reduced cost and easier access (you can buy these books with the click of a button!) does not increase to appeal to read more classic novels.
This has turned into more of a rant than an informative post, but I guess I’m just a little passionate. I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts; I might be passionate, but I’d love a lively debate!