Sunday, February 7, 2010

The future generation weighs in on e-readers

My 'real job' (and I use the term loosely because for me, writing is the one of the few 'real' things I do) is working as the education coordinator for a large fabric and craft store. That means I organize instructor schedules, plan demonstrations, and organize classes in sewing, quilting, jewelry and more. I sometimes teach the classes too. Last week, I taught a class on Duck Tape Art (that's right, making pictures of out pieces of duck tape). I had three students, ranging in age from 12 to 16, one boy and two girls. Since I had three hours to fill, and since cutting and sticking duck tape is a fairly tedious -- uh, quiet -- activity, I took advantage of my captive audience and started interrogating them of what they read, how often the read, and all things book-related.

In the course of discussion, I asked them if they knew about e-readers. Now, they were a pretty tech-savvy bunch. I say this because they all had phones much nicer than mine. How do I know? Because they each pulled their phone out at least a dozen times during class. So I was rather surprised that none of them had really heard of e-readers, other than the having seen something about the iPad recently. When I asked if they wanted an e-reader, all three said no. When I asked why, they all said the same thing: they liked books. They liked to browse them, liked to look at the covers, and liked to hold them. They wanted to turn pages, wanted to shove it in a bag or read it in a bathtub, wanted to skim through it when making reading choices.

Can I tell you how happy this made me? It was so nice to hear this group (granted, a very small group) of teens talk about books that way. I like technology and I'll get an e-reader someday. But I like books. Before, I was scared that the generation behind me wasn't going to want to keep them. And now I feel a little reassured that there will always be a future for paper-based books.

I'm curious if this is a common feeling among the computer generation. Have you talked to kids or teens about books and e-readers?


  1. wow that surprises me! thanks for the insight!

  2. Hi! I too find this very interesting information. Especially since everyone is saying it's the future generation who's all hooked up who will be the e-readers. Maybe not? What I also find interesting is that you are from San Antonio like Carol Kilgore (Under the Tiki Hut) and you guys have the exact same blog design/format!

  3. P.S. I just added myself as a follower here because I love Texans (my son & family live in San Antonio.) I'm the gaudy flower on your follower icon lol.

  4. Welcome Karen! I like San Antonio, though I'm really hoping we have a softer summer than last year. I'll have to check out Carol's blog too. Total coincidence on the design.