We are currently in an environment where more people are reading online newspapers, books and magazines than ever before… No longer do we need to sit on the train or bus getting inky fingers while trying to tentatively turn the page of the paper in the crowded carriage, nor are we lumbered by having to carry around our books or magazines all day long. Instead, with a quick flick of a switch on our e-reader, tablet or mobile device, we are instantly able to access a vast array of literature, idle gossip and daily news, all in an easily readable, bright and vivid way.
We do not need to fret about adequate lighting, or if our paper is causing our seated neighbor an annoyance on the morning journey, we no longer worry about forgetting to buy our favourite magazine or pick up the novel from the bedside table. Regardless of all this, the question arises: Do we need print books or newspapers anymore? Asked about reading text files on a handheld device, defenders of print proclaim their love for the printed word, the feel of the paper, the experience of holding, owning and reading a physical book.
They also say that a physical book is something one can take pleasure in, just seeing it on their shelf. They also mention that reading on electronic devices has bad impact on eyes, that it is tiring for eyes. Other advantage of printed books is their accessibility. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people in the world don’t have Internet access.
But people in favor of e-books have different opinion on this topic. First advantage of digital books is portability. The wonderful thing about electronic text is that it takes up virtually no room, in both a physical and digital sense.
If we have a storage card, we can walk around with at least a dozen books, and probably many more than that. Even if we don’t have a storage card, you can still walk around with a fair collection of three to six books (again, depending on book size and available memory). In many situations it’s hard to carry even one book around with you. The storage abilities of most e-books allow readers to carry a reasonable collection of reading materials and/or reference texts. Second point in favor of e-books is variety of features.
For starters, since most e-books are in some form of digital text file, we can search the text for words or phrases. This is helpful when we want to find a quote or another specific section of the book. This can cut minutes, if not hours, off of wild goose chases for particular passages. Additionally, digital formats can be duplicated forever without decay or any real expense. This duplication ability can make it possible for us to share books with our friends without ever having to actually give up one of our possessions.
Of course, assuming copy protection doesn’t get in the way. Next advantage mentioned by e-books followers is that they are in fact easy to read. The electronic format offers readers even more benefits over traditional paper books. eBooks can be read in a variety of lighting situations, and due to the backlighted screens that most Palm computers have, we can read an ebook in most low or no light situations, such as on the subway, during nighttime road trips, or in bed when we don’t want to disturb your partner. Also, the readability of an e-book won’t degrade over time.
The pages won’t crumble because of high acid content, the binding can never break, and there can be no variations in the ink. Despite being criticized for their inconvenience and for being hard to read, e-books are often more convenient than their paper based counterparts. Regardless of future developments in e-reading technology, I think the book market will have plenty of room for paper books for quite some time, they won’t be replaced, like vinyl records have not been supplanted by CD’s. There always will be people who will buy printed book.
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