Click the title of this entry to go to the fascinating compilation of short essays in the New York Times.
The question: is reading an electronic text (or video book, called "vook") qualitatively different from reading ink on paper? My two favorite quotes:
"I have no doubt that the digital immersion of our children will provide a rich life of entertainment and information and knowledge. My concern is that they will not learn, with their passive immersion, the joy and the effort of the third life, of thinking one’s own thoughts and going beyond what is given. Let us bring our best thought and research to preserving what is most precious about the present reading brain as we add the new capacities of its next iteration." Maryanne Wolf, author of "Proust and the Squid."
"Reading online is thus not just about reading text in isolation. When you read news, or blogs or fiction, you are reading one document in a networked maze of an unfathomable amount of information. My own research shows that people are continually distracted when working with digital information. They switch simple activities an average of every three minutes (e.g. reading email or IM) and switch projects about every 10 and a half minutes. It’s just not possible to engage in deep thought about a topic when we’re switching so rapidly." - Gloria Mark
These are not Luddites, but thoughtful researchers revealing what we do now (decode, then go beyond), and trying to track the continuing evolution of the brain as it wraps itself around new technology.