by Joseph T. Sinclair
About two years ago I published a blog post entitled Tactility arguing that a Samsung Tab 3 (or the iPad equivalent) was superior in tactility to a printed book. The latest Samsung tablet, the Tab S2, is substantially thinner than its processors. Thinness is superior when it comes to tactility, or maybe it’s lightness. In any event, the Tab S2 is almost a miracle it’s so light and thin.
The Tab S2 is quite thin at 0.22 inches, and the iPad 4 is 0.24 inches thick. The tablet size I like for reading is 8”. The 8” Samsung Tab S2 weighs only 9.6 ounces, slightly over a half-pound. Although the Tab S2 is packed solid with heavy electronic components including a battery, the weight is still less than half the weight of the average paperback book that I have in my antiquated collection; and paper ain’t getting any lighter.
Why have a conversation about tactility? Because the neo-Luddite-literati always cite tactility as a reason to keep reading paper books. That argument just doesn’t hold water.
But perhaps I missed the point in comparing tablets to paper books. It turns out that about 70% of readers (reading ebooks) read on their phones. So the comparison should be between paper books and smart phones. But even for phones, their evolution toward thinness and lightness is remarkable.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 phone is 0.27 inches thick (the iPhone 6 is also 0.27 inches thick), which is not much thicker than a Tab S2. Since it’s quite a bit smaller than a Tab S2, the Galaxy S6 is very light for a reading device. Tactually it’s lighter and thinner than a paper book. Visually it may be too small to be ideal for many people, but tactually it’s comfortable.
Paper books are a cultural device with the momentum of six centuries. But that momentum has dissipated for over a third of all readers in less than a decade. How much longer can the paper momentum carry on?
The author of this article, Joseph T. Sinclair, is the author of twenty How2 books published by national publishers.
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©2016 Joseph T. Sinclair. All rights reserved.