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By Howard Owen
SINCE THE AGE
In our home, though, an impasse between style and comfort has made my lifetime love
The minister of style, to whom I'm married, likes the lamps in the living area just where they are. The minister of comfort, to whom she is married, has his favorite spot on the family couch. Unfortunately, that spot isn't next to a light, which leads to squinting, which had led me to doing most of my recent recreational reading in bed, in the 15 minutes between my butt hitting the sheets and loss of consciousness.
The iPad mini Santa brought me has changed that. With its bright type and a size compatible to one of my hands, it has me reading more than I have in years. The transition has been painless. I don't find any loss of enjoyment or retention when in the thrall of an e-book as opposed to a printed one.
All this is on my mind after reading a couple of seemingly contradictory news reports earlier this month.
One, in Publishers Weekly, claims that "unit sales of print books fell just over 9 percent in 2012," according to a group that tracks such things. The decline was about the same as it was between 2010 and 2011 and seems to indicate a rise in electronic books (or a surge in illiteracy).
However, the other item, in the online Wall Street Journal, notes that e-book readership could be on the wane. According to Nicholas Carr, author of "Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," the growth
Carr also notes that "purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt for multipurpose tablets."
All this, he feels, could indicate that e-books could fit the same kind of niche as audio books--"a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute."
So, who's going to win the battle for readers' hearts and minds?