March 28, 2011 – As Kindle and iPad sales continue to soar, where does that leave “real” books and more importantly the unique experiences in reading a book that cannot be captured on an e-reader?

This interesting topic was found on The Atlantic in their article, “As Kindles Take Over, What Happens to Margin Notes?.” Many are questioning whether e-annotations will add value to paperless books or simply release more irrelevant, unfiltered data into the digital world.

Some long-time readers consider the tradition of writing in the margins the highlight of their literary experience, and annotating an e-book with a stylus does not come even close to the same experience. Clicking on the Kindle keyboard isn’t any easier.

Adding to the data overload is the “popular highlights” feature on Kindle – the faint dotted underlining that tells you how many readers have underlined it before. This is often perceived as someone telling you the good parts of a movie or how the book ends.

I personally understand this, and frankly, it was part of the reason I boycotted an e-reader for some time. My friends were always surprised that I, who usually has the latest techie item and loves to read, did not have this new wonderful reader’s toy. I enjoyed writing in the margins of my books and frankly I didn’t want to know, in advance, what part you liked best.

However, it seems that the goal is to make everything a social activity – including reading. So what do you do? First, turn off “popular highlights” on your Kindle. Then be prepared to share what was once a personal experience, with strangers.

Melody K. Smith