Lev Grossman of the NY Times posts an interesting article last week on the rise of e-readers. Whether it’s your Kindle, your iPhones or Pads, Kobos or whatever, these things are on the rise and seem inescapable. Could it be that shortly we’ll all be carrying these tablets to church? Grossman thinks not.
In the article he speaks of nonlinear scrolling, a feature that has allowed users of books in codex form (i.e. books with pages and spines) to rapidly move around the text for almost two thousand years. It’s a feature that’s immensely powerful, and one that all but paved the way for the demise of the scroll in the first century A.D. For those of us with Bibles, this nonlinear scrolling allows us to quickly compare a passage in Romans with one in Leviticus. It allows us to find passages that are spatially located in our minds (“I know it’s in the New Testament on the right hand side…”). It allows us to become students of the Bible, and masters of the text.
Bottom line for the electronic age however: This kind of feature is essentially nonexistent in electronic mediums. Sure siliconed advances come close with their powerful search engines that can locate phrases with pinpoint accuracy, but for reference works – and the Bible is somewhat like that - nothing can compete with the ease and simplicity of flipping a page…nothing yet, at least.
With all that said, the nonlinear scrolling ‘feature’ of the good old fashioned book when coupled with the fact that I can’t write in the margins of an e-reader means that I’m bringing my leather bound to church for at least the next little while.
You can check the interesting article out HERE if you’re down with reading the whole thing…but sorry, I can’t get it to you in a book. You’re gonna have to e-read this one. ;)