There is a lot of debate surrounding e-books in regard to if they will ever replace real books as the conventional way to digest writer’s works. One undeniable fact is that e-book readers are getting less expensive everyday and therefore becoming more popular. Certain publications are only being offered as e-books and with the increasing cost of physical resources like paper and gasoline makes e-books pretty attractive.
Still, people are creatures of habit, and change doesn’t always come easy. Did you know that many feared the invention of the printing press? Previous to the press, books were unique hand-written works of art which were most commonly read aloud in performances and sermons.
The Bible was the first “pressed” book. It was most commonly read and interpreted by religious figures and scholars. A predominant fear of its mass production was that the layman would begin to consume and interpret its meaning without the guidience of church officials and draw their own conclusion about the content. Not good as far as the church saw it.
Regardless, books became common enough that they were not just for public performance or religeous sermon any more. Everyone knows books are for everyone and are an excepted way to pass on knowledge, learn facts, document history, and entertain us. More recently, we have the evolution of the book, the e-book, and some have anxiety about its role in society.
Let’s look at what book lover’s are thinking on both sides of the coin: For and against e-books domination of the market.
Pros For E-Books:
1). Real books are heavy and cumbersome. Often it is hard for them to stay open on their own and readers have to fidget with them to get comfortable.
2). Real books are expensive. Not only for consumers but also to manufacturers. The books have to be printed, packaged, and distributed. These processes consume materials and resources not to mention what the consumer has to go through to get it from the retailer.
3). Real books can easily be lost or damage. While an e-reader is expensive at first, many books can be read and saved on the device. Even if the reader was damaged, the contents of the publication can be accessed by a replacement reader more easily than a water damaged box of books can be replaced.
4). An e-reader offers much that a book cannot. A dictionary, a clock, internet access, the list goes on. A book is just a book. It has more uses than just reading however; those uses are relatively limited.
5). Privacy. People cannot see what book you are reading. In fact, you can have one e-reader and be reading several books at once. also, if your e-reader is password protected, no one else can even open your book.
Pros for Real Books:
1). A physical book is yours to own and use as you see fit. Make notes in the margins, write your name in it, display it on your bookshelf, cut out pictures from there pages, ect. You own the book.
2). You can loan a book in physical form and not have to worry about infringement of any kind on the authors intellectual property or right to be payed. Physical books allow you to “by hand” pass on the information inside of it and share the experience with others.
3). Physical books offer an experience that extends to more senses than just sight. Well worn books especially might have this effect. The smell, feel, weight of a book offer a feast to more of the senses. Perhaps the pictures offer more in physical print than those of digital format.
4). A book is a single purpose object. You won’t be distracted by clocks, software updates, or other tasks you can perform on the book. For those hoping to escape reality for awhile and enjoy a good book, this may come as a comfort.
5). A book can be purchased used. Used books offer an opportunity to access material at a discounted cost. Digital versions remain pristine forever and may never be discounted or the opposite, disappear from servers altogether. This could be a disadvantage for readers of older publications.
So a lot of what fans are saying about the pros and cons of e-books are in direct opposition of one another. I guess it really just comes down to what you need the publication for, where you plan to read it, and what kind of budget you’re on. The same debate could take place for digital versus cd or record format music. A lot of hardcore music lovers still swear by the record for sound quality and overall listening experience.