Enhanced E-books

I don’t currently own an e-reader (Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.), but I expect I will someday. I like printed books, and I’ll have shelves upon shelves of them for as long as live, but I’m not opposed to the e-book revolution. I’m all for saving trees and decreasing the dust-collecting stuff in my life.

I’ve been learning about enhanced e-books and iPad apps, etc., and I have a question.

One of Darwin’s finches. Props to the first person who can tell me why I chose this image for this post.

Reading a book is different from, say, watching a movie. The brain is somehow more active when reading. Reading is cognitive exercise in a way that movies are not, and, thus, are in some way better for our brains.

Enhanced e-books are adding images, audio, and all sorts of other things to the text. Some enhanced e-books for kids include audio of the printed text, among other things.

My question is: At what point does the enhanced e-book become more like a movie than like a book in terms of cognitive exercise?

If we were to draw a linear scale showing the degree of cognitive exercise with movies on the left, audio books in the center, and books on the right, where might enhanced e-books fall?

Do we know what it is about books we have to keep when enhancing–or what we have to avoid–in order to not compromise the cognitive exercise?

Will enhanced e-books increase the level of cognitive exercise in a text, or will they decrease it?


Categories: Reading

1 reply »

  1. Veddy interestink.
    I really know very little about e-books. The idea of enhancements is intriguing, but I do wonder about brain activity. I also don’t know that I want an interruption to my reading. If I am driven by a book to want to find andditional info, I want that info after I’m through reading.
    Yet, e-books are obviously the next evolution (did I get it right?) of publishing and reading. While I don’t think (and very much hope) that print will never become obsolete, we will access more and more from the ether.
    Reading has become more and more accessible over the centuries and is critical for being an informed and thinking species. So this can be seen as the next step.
    If it is ultimately a good thing or not, remains to be seen.