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.
You decide. Sound off in the comments below.