By Meghan B
The other day on the train, a woman sat down in the seat in front of me. She turned to the stranger next to her to apologize for having to rummage through her bags. "I'm so glad to be on the train." She said. "I'm so tired of staring at a computer screen all day! Now I can sit back and read my book."
Since I am a busy body, I looked over when she said this. I felt the same way entirely and had already cracked open the paperback that had been in my purse. I wondered what book the woman was reading and glanced at her. To my astonishment, she pulled out a slim Kindle from her purse.
I'm right in thinking that e-book readers are computers, right? Staring at the screen of a Kindle is just like staring at the screen of a computer, right? I was totally taken by surprise by the Kindle the woman produced. Are e-book readers not considered computers?
My unease about e-readers is well known. I don't trust them. You can pry my books out of my cold dead hands, get off my lawn, etc. I spend basically every waking hour staring at a screen in some form or another so I am always glad to settle down with the comforting off-white pages of a paperback. I have always thought of e-book readers as single purpose little computers. They have screens, they have buttons, they have text. They aren't books, they are computers that store the texts of books on them.
The lady on the train seemed perfectly happy to stare at another screen for a half hour, after a long day of screen-staring at her job. I just couldn't get over it. When did e-book reader become synonymous with actual books? Is staring at the screen of one really all that different than staring at your work computer for eight hours?
I propose the question to you, dear readers. Are e-book readers computers or books? Do you pull your Kindle out after a long day at work and don't think about how you are staring at another screen? Does the fabled e-ink really make a difference? Help me to understand this, because I am still just baffled.