Dinggwagwa: very good

Ding means the “the top,” and gwagwa is the transliteration of “good, good” in Cantonese.

Be the best–go to the top.

Confession: I own both a Nook Touch and a Kindle Fire.  Before the advent of e-readers and e-ink, I was skeptical about replacing written words with digital print.  Now, though, I love having portable books, an entire revolving library in the palm of my hand.  (It also preserves the life of my crammed bookshelves.)   

Electronic books have swept the country.  In fact, according to The Huffington Post, electronic versions are outselling hardcover fiction titles.  Recognizing this trend, the National Endowment for the Humanities provided a $1 million grant to create a Digital Public Library of America.  As an interesting aside, the popularity of e-books has led to increased purchases in the very different genres of erotica and religion

I have a couple of friends, though, who still prefer traditional reading.  One friend visits used bookstores and purchases copies there, gaining the book’s personal history along with the pages.  Someone else I know enjoys the actual feel and smell of paper as she reads. 

Are we missing something when we switch to digital versions?  Does the significance of a work lie in just the words and not the medium?  How will this trend revolutionize the reading process?  Already, people  produce more interactive books.  Will word count matter without printing costs?  And which way will it lean–to shorter, quick reads or longer, comprehensive tales?  A New York Times article details how the digital age pushes authors to create more content.  How will a writer rise up from among all the other stories wanting to be heard?   

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  1. Great post! The links are particularly helpful. As to the print vs. ebook debate, I personally still really like holding a book in my hands, even though I do A LOT of reading onscreen. There is something really wonderful about a book having its own personality – some are shiny and new and still dressed up in their jackets, while some are ragged and nicked and showing their age (and often, their value as long-lasting residents of the shelf). It’s great to carry a whole library around on an eReader, but it’s also really easy to become attached to the print volumes that I’ve read and re-read so many times, like visiting old friends.

    • Thanks, Pat! That’s a great comparison about re-reading books and visiting old friends. I still do a combination of reading using paper copies and digital books.

  2. Jennifer, I love how you use Chinese sayings to spark blog posts! Thanks for educating me. I’m hoping that ebooks and printed books will be able to coexist, because I’d hate for hard copy books to disappear! There are benefits to both formats, as you have listed above. But can you imagine reading “Where the Wild Things Are” to a child using a Kindle? Yuck! On the other hand, I’m hoping digital media will make things easier for authors by providing more avenues for us to get our material out to the public.

    • Julia,
      Thanks for stopping by! It sounds like a lot of parents like reading hard copies to their children–and I like that tactile sense that you get from flipping pages. I’m hoping that digital media will help both writers and readers to pursue their passion of words.

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