Books Versus E-books

Books Versus E-books

by the Reader’s Carnival Team

photo by neverlandjewelry

The invention of the printing press stands as one of turning points in human history through the sharing of knowledge and creative expression. The printed word connects us in deep ways, both intellectually and emotionally. Technology marches forward and e-books have emerged as a new way to create and share the written word. But is it better? Let’s explore that question, shall we?

Doug’s Argument for E-books

Reading electronically has changed considerably over the years. We are no longer shackled to a computer. The world has gone mobile. Tablets and phones are roughly the same size and carrying weight as a single book, but can hold thousands. The shear convenience of having my entire reading library with me is astounding.

With the advent of e-ink, reading electronically for pleasure and comfort has been further transformed. Gone are the eye-strain inducing, posture torturing problems associated with reading on a backlit screen. E-readers like the Kobo Touch and the Amazon Kindle replicate the on-paper experience with amazing fidelity.

That an e-book is often less than half the price of its dead-tree counterpart, is a bonus.

In much the same way that Wikipedia has disrupted the print encyclopedia industry (the last Britannica was printed in 2012), e-books and e-reading have fundamentally changed how people access books and connect with authors. Books are no longer static; they can be updated on-the-fly and integrate with other reference information on the Internet.

Whenever I ride the bus, go camping, head to the beach or simply want to hide from the world, I grab my trusty Kobo and enjoy whatever piques my interest at the moment. Nothing there that I want to read? No problem. My local library and the world’s largest bookstore are but a few taps away.

All that said, I love real books and do collect some of my favorites but, it comes down to clutter. If I’m only going to read a book once, then spend the next twenty years dusting it, then it’s just psychic dead weight. So why not donate most of your books to your local library and only keep those which have special meaning or value?

Anisa’s Defense of Traditional Books

In a world where nearly everything has gone electronic, printed books are somewhat of a treat.  We spend a lot of time online, on computers, phones, gaming stations, and now, lost in e-books.  Personally, I find curling up on the couch, away from any electronics, gives me a chance to unplug and just appreciate the act of reading, flipping through actual pages and not staring into a screen.  I almost need this time to center myself.

Things are becoming less and less personal.  Stores are closing down, telling us to contact them via automated website interactions, etc.  People are leaving their houses less and less, even having groceries delivered to them instead of heading to the store to pick something up.

Going out to the bookstore to browse the newest releases or to take a trip down your favourite genre aisle is a good way to reconnect with your community.  What’s going to happen when all the stores decide to close their doors because they found an e-version of their product or a way to have it delivered to your front door?

As for books being dead weight… Well, as Doug said, old copies can be donated after they’ve been read.  That’s not the road for me, personally.  I hate clutter, but I love gazing over and seeing giant bookcases filled with books.  It’s the best piece of art I own.

All that said, I think e-books are great for travelling.  There is nothing worse than carrying a huge hard cover copy George Martin’s, A Dance with Dragons, around in your purse.

Conclusion?

You decide. Sound off in the comments below.

7 Comments for “Books Versus E-books”

Tim Hillebrant

says:

I can see the benefits of an e-book. They’re convenient, easy to store, and can be accessed anywhere. You can take a library with you, and there’s something to be said for that too- I guess.
I have an ereader- on my phone & tablet. Which means they have to be charged to work, and are subject to all of the banes of electronic interface devices these days- viruses, requiring updates, and cannot be dropped on hard surfaces, dunked in water, etc.
Books. I like paper books because for me, that makes reading a more personal experience. It’s just me and the book, not me and the screen that I can change at any moment. Yes, they’re made of dead trees, hemp, or some other material. And they’re heavy and have to be lugged around, for as many stories as you want to take with you. Except- a regular book can take a lot more abuse than an ereader can. They can even get wet (tho not dunked), and never have to be updated. Just cared for. I have books that I’ve owned since childhood. My ereader/phone will be obsolete next year.
Yes, both have their advantages. But I prefer the paper book. I just connect better with the story that way.

TJBar

says:

It’s a tough call. In the age of ones and zeros, it seems all things are going digital, online and “real time”. I am a huge fan of technology myself. The things we have accomplished with the use of micro chips and processors blows my mind on a regular basis. That being said, the simplistic beauty of a printed book can never be reconfigured, downloaded or formatted. The touch, smell and connection with paper books is something that will never die (I hope).

Love Wikipedia, hate hardcover encyclopedias. Love email, hate snail mail … But books can’t be beat 🙂

Just one mans opinion of course.

Craig Lincoln

says:

I have both but am losing paperbacks as they get ruined and replacing them with ebooks it is the way to go as far as I can see

Lisa Doesburg

says:

In my opinion, though I do love today’s modern technology, I grew up with a grandmother who was a librarian. She taught me to ready avidly by the tender age of 4, and there is nothing like the smell and feel of a good book in my hands.
On the flip side, the convenience of using an e-reader can’t be denied.

says:

Having never read a book via an electronic device (I know!! *gasp*) I can’t defend or advocate eBooks. I think both have their merits and their uses. I’m with Anisa though, I do love glancing over at my bookshelf and seeing actual, real, touchable books.

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