Books vs E-Books

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Books and E-Books both have their advantages; but which is better? It is often considered debatable as to wherever reading should become fully digitalised for the 21st century or whether we should stick to traditional paper books, as many readers  prefer the idea of having a book to read in their hands or displayed on a bookshelf.

Books; paper back and hard back, are what most people are used too. When reading for work or academic reasons, many often find it hard to stare at a computer screen constantly and find it a lot easy to have the book in their hands themselves. This can also be said for people reading books for pleasure; when on holiday there is just something about taking a book to the beach or when you are sunbathing. Obviously other advantages of using a classic book is that they are easily obtainable (with bookstores everywhere), easily portable and don’t usually cause any significant eye-strain. Other specific books such as text books (larger formats) or picture/photo books are usually better in the paperback formant. And most importantly, the ease of paperback books is that they don’t need any power to function, they can be read anywhere with enough light and make perfect travelling companions.

The introduction of new technology, e-books, Amazon kindle’s, iPads, etc, has highlighted the fact that e-books may well be the way forward. Unlike paperbacks they are not bulky and heavy to carry around and seem to have a lot of advantages. E-books are easily readable with the option of zoom functions, letter resizing as well as being easily portable by having more than one book on a device. The future of technology has influenced other aspects of writing such as journalism,  with the future of journalism in newspapers and magazines being very much being affected by the introduction of iPod’s, apps and internet craze. E-books therefore are also much more environmentally friendly, as well as having better note-taking facilities for academic readings. It must be noted however that e-books are useless without a reader, whether it be a laptop, kindle, e-reader or I-pad. They also very much rely on battery life and there is the risk of software bugs and problems.

An interesting argument is that an unfinished e-book is not a constant reminder to finish reading a book. This comes from the idea that e-books aren’t in our peripheral vision, they don’t taunt you to finish reading what you’ve started and they aren’t sitting on the table beside your bed with a bookmark in half-way through for about a week. Perhaps paper back books are advantageous in the fact that they are always there to remind you to finish (unless the book is that dire). A possibly shallow but perhaps convincing argument is that e-books cannot be displayed in your house as part of ‘interior design’. Although it might sound vain, the way books are arranged in a house and displayed can sometimes say something about how we want to be perceived – what books have we kept and which ones have we chosen to be displayed?

So what should we use? It could all come down to a mix and match situation, using them for different purposes and when it is of more convenience. However, with the increased use of technology in many aspects of our social lives, the argument would probably lean more towards using e-book; but only time will tell whether e-books become a practical alternative.

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