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Books vs Ebooks Essay

Now days with the rise of digital technology many physical items such as pen and paper are slowly being replaced by computers and smart phones. But is this really a good thing? I read books and of course so do many other people in this class and around the globe. But since the creation of ‘e-readers’ more and more people have been converting to the technology based side of reading. Although technology is slowly becoming more predominant in this era we should not rely on it to always entertain and keep us occupied. I think ‘real, physical’ books are better than e-books because you can truly own a book. As Mortimer J.

Adler, a popular author, says, ‘Full ownership comes only when you have made [the book] a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it is by writing in it. ’ When owning an e-book it is more like owning ‘insurance’ than owning a camera. In one case ownership of books is physical and irrevocable but e-books are not and can be taken away easily as Kindle users discovered when one day their copies of 1984 suddenly disappeared. You will know a book that is truly owned because it will be ‘dog-eared and dilapidated, shaken and loosened by continual use, marked and scribbled in from front to back,’ says Adler.

It also lets you know how old and how well enjoyed a book was. E-readers are beginning to allow some interactivity, but it is of a very different order. Taking a note in an e-book or making a highlight in it is independent of the book; all of that information is stored apart from the book in a file or a database. Send the book to another person and you’ll find that all of the notes and highlights are gone. They belong to you or your device, not to your book. One of the most disappointing aspects of e-books is that they cannot be loaned out. Most have some kind of digital rights management which ties a book to a particular owner.

When you buy a Kindle book, you might have a copy of that book on up to 5 of your devices, but they must be devices tied to your Amazon account. You cannot loan your book to your friend; you cannot even loan it to your mum if she has a Kindle of her own. Of course that’s not strictly true—you can loan your book by loaning your reading device, but that’s like giving someone access to one of your books by loaning them an entire library, book cases and all. And books are a tactile experience, meaning they are supposed to be experienced through touch and smell (especially for the old books).

A book is meant to be an experience that can have depressions and elevations on the cover and text, feeling the weight of the pages as you turn them and all of these elements when combined make a book what it is, but when you read an e-book you are exposed to digitized text and a screen. And it’s been proven that when people are exposed to screens of TVs or computers they are less likely to have a good night sleep. On a web poll about e-books vs. books one person commented, ‘I’ve tried reading a few e-books but I’ve always given up. I just don’t like looking at digitized text when I’m reading a novel.

I like the feel, the weight and even the smell of books,’ many of the following comments made by others agreed with this persons thoughts. A book is a single-task item that is written to distract the reader from everything else happening around them, they are technology designed for the best possible reading experience. An e-reader, however, tends to be a multi-tasking item with the ability to play music and videos as well as hold books. The iPad has a reading function but the focus is usually on the masses of games and the ability to search the internet.

They beep, they buzz, and they disengage in a thousand ways. I don’t ever anticipate searching quiet side streets in old towns hoping to find used e-book stores. That’s because there is no such thing as a used e-book. E-books are never used, even when they have been read. They are still just files, as unblemished after ten years as they were the day they were duplicated. They will never suddenly appear as hidden treasures, dug out of a box in an old, rundown book store. They can never be loaned out and they can never be resold. They are forever new, forever fresh, forever unused and unstained.

There will be no rare first editions, no beautiful special editions to be searched for decades from now. But whether used or new physical books can have sentimental value, you can get given a book for you birthday from your aunt but she can’t buy you an e-book, although she can give you the money for one, there won’t be a sweet message in its cover and you probably won’t remember if you bought the e-book or not. Books have sentimental value to them and are special reminders of times in you life because you can see them age and they will always be a physical reminder where they came from.

We may be replacing things for easy technology even though some of it keeps us occupied. We still use old fashion books and letters because it connects us to what is happening, the letter you got from your grandma is special because its physical and you can keep it without it somehow disappearing. You can mark a book to show others its yours and to show them how you felt about it, you can lend them to a friend so they can enjoy it too and you can really get into a book that you can feel and smell and hide away from the world to find somewhere you can be or do whatever you want.


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