Online vs Print: The Digital Age of Books
The feel of the paper, the flip of the page, the texture of the cover, why would anyone want to read from a screen at the expense of this tactile experience?
Well, according to recent market data, approximately 1-in-5 book buyers prefer the screen, and for reasons a plenty.
Ebooks, still a relatively new invention gaining popularity in the past decade, have carved their way into the book marketplace, and are not going anywhere soon. While print books still remain a popular medium for those accustomed to physical copies, ebooks prove beneficial for key demographics, and many publishing companies are taking notice. As with anything, there are both advantages and disadvantages. In the case of ebooks, however, the advantages appear to be outweighing the disadvantages and it is predicted that ebook popularity will continue to grow and outpace print books in the future.
Brief History of Ebooks
Before delving into the advantages and disadvantages of ebooks, here is a quick history of ebooks in the American marketplace.
The first ebook was created back in 1971 by Michael Hart. Hart typed up a copy of the Declaration of Independence and uploaded it to the internet with six people downloading it. Realizing the potential of this new reading format, Hart created project Gutenberg (named after Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press). The goal of his project was to turn public domain books into ebooks and upload them to the internet.
As Project Gutenberg continued to grow, the first ereaders were released in 1998. Portable devices such as the Rocket eBook and the Softbook made ebooks easily accessible and revolutionized the way ebooks were used. Instead of having to sit at a desktop computer to read, one could take their book with them on the go.
The market for ebooks also began to grow as more people became familiar with them. In 2000, Stephen King’s novel Bag of Bones was offered exclusively in the ebook format, drawing even more attention to ebooks. People who once thought they would never read ebooks were now buying the digital version of King’s book.
In the late 2000s, ebooks’ popularity continued to grow and competition between companies in the electronic and book selling businesses continued to rise. Companies such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple began releasing their own ereaders.
In 2011, Amazon hit a new record: Ebooks outsold print books, with 105 ebooks sold for every 100 print books. No one predicted that this would happen as quickly as it did. Today, ebooks make up about 20% of publishers’ revenue.
Advantages of Ebooks
The first advantage of ebooks is their relatively low price. Research conducted by Mintel in 2014 states that 23% of book buyers think that print books cost too much, and 31% of ebook buyers say they prefer print books, but they by ebooks because they cost less. For example, at Barnes & Noble, a paperback book of the widely popular The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, has a list price of $10.99, while the Nook price is $7.99, with the Amazon Kindle price being $2.99. That is a discount of almost 30% and 73% respectively.
The second advantage of ebooks is that they aid readers with special needs. Older readers (aged 55 and older) have found reading much easier on tablets and ereaders due to the adjustable font size, which gives them the ability to read faster with much less frustration. Dyslexic individuals also benefit from ebooks. According to one study, dyslexic readers reported that reading on tablets and ereaders was much easier than print books due to the adjustable font size and paragraph spacing, which translates into fewer words per page. With fewer words on a single page, dyslexic readers can concentrate on small sections of words at a time. This ultimately results in faster reading and better comprehension.
The third advantage of ebooks is their interactivity, especially in children’s books. Images, videos, and games now supplement the text in ebooks. Publishers, such as Harper Collins, see these interactive elements as the future of the publishing industry. Attributable to a young generation of tech-savvy readers, interactive and multimedia ebooks will adapt to the rapidly-changing digital landscape in which children will develop and learn.
The fourth advantage of ebooks is their equalizing factor. Before ebooks, big name publishers controlled who could publish their work. Nowadays, many indie authors and publishers can create, design, and publish their work online, catering to niche markets or to fulfill their creative goals. According to Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords (an indie ebook distributor), indie authors will make up a larger percentage of the book marketplace at the expense of large publishers. The new marketplace benefits indie authors, as indie titles experience swifter distribution, greater creative control, and substantially higher royalties. Over time, indie authors will gain professional publishing skills, making their work identical to that of a large publishers. As Andrew Albanese, senior writer and features editor for Publisher’s Weekly writes, “I also believe that the major publishers are seeing more competition from indie ebooks…Amazon has a million titles accessible, many of which are free or very inexpensive.”
Disadvantages of Ebooks
Despite the advantages as mentioned above, ebooks do create some unique problems for users.
Firstly, the internet connection via ereaders opens the door for hacking and pirating. Knowing that people can hack into an ereader, consumers may return to print books and avoid this problem altogether. Additionally, with a connection to the internet, there are also privacy concerns with companies collecting data on users.
Secondly, not all ebook formats are compatible with ereaders. Depending on the file type of the book, the ereader may not allow the ebook to be read. Consumers may be put off if their ebook cannot be read on different digital formats.
Thirdly, ebooks cause issues in educational settings. Some critics assert that when schools begin equipping students with ebooks, inequality arises as some students do not have the technology to access ebooks. Additionally, as schools provide their students with more technology, they do so at the cost of laying off teachers, libraries, and increasing student-teacher ratios. According to David Wees, an education specialist and mathematics teacher at The Reflective Educator, writes, “Many [publishers] expect schools to pay individually for each copy of the ebook, requiring schools to purchase an ebook multiple times if they need to share it with multiple students simultaneously…some publishers even expect the ebook to expire after a certain number of uses, requiring school libraries to repurchase books.”
Finally, environmental concerns are the fourth disadvantage of ebooks. While many believe that ebooks are better for the environment because they are not composed of paper, arguments have been made for the opposite. The materials used to make ereaders, on which ebooks are read, are not eco-friendly and often end up in landfills. Paper used for books, on the other hand, is typically grown on farms with the sole purpose of being harvested for paper.
The Future: Online or Print?
With nearly a decade of market data and research, it is possible to make predictions for the future concerning ebooks. According to industry experts and leaders, ebooks face a future filled with indie authors, innovation, and online marketing. Despite these advances, however, print books remain the go-to option for most readers.
Amazon will continue to flood the market with inexpensive, digital titles as indie authors gain skills to publish professional-grade content. The future of ebooks appears to blend multimedia elements with traditional books, satisfying a consumer base composed of digital natives. As more consumers spend time online, social media and other online content will become crucial ways in which authors, publishers, and consumers interact. As many industry leaders have planned, the future of book publishing will focus on digital campaigns. For example, Harlequin’s Publisher and CEO Donna Hayes says that her company is focused on, “Search and discovery and the use of robust metadata, building our brand digitally and enhancing our reader relationships with…interactivity.” Politics and Prose reflects a similar sediment, as the company is building awareness through online seminars. Harper Collins Children’s Books have also forged into the digital space through blogs and social media, giving the company audience insights. As ebooks become more accessible, promotional efforts will dive deeper into the digital world, and partnerships with bloggers and online reading communities will increase.
Against these innovations into the digital space, print books remain the most popular reading medium. According to the Pew Research Center, most U.S. adults have read a print book (65%) compared to ebooks (28%). This may be attributable to older readers remaining loyal to print books, the reading medium with which they grew up. The tides are changing gradually, however, as approximately one third of readers aged 18-49 have read an ebook, compared to about a quarter of readers aged 50-64. As publishers continue to cater to children (who are now developing in a digital age) via multimedia books, the numbers of readers who will read an ebook are expected to increase.
The future of books, much like other forms of media, appears to be heading in a digital direction, as a growing number of consumers are digital natives.
Abbruzzese, Jason, and Katie Nelson. “How Amazon Brought Publishing to Its Knees- and Why Authors Might Be Next.” Mashable.com. 30 July 2014.
Béhar, Patrick, Laurent Colombani, and Sophie Krishnan. “Publishing in the Digital Era: A Bain & Company Study for the Forum D’Avignon.” 2011.
Blackman, Trivonnia, et al. “Ebooks and the Publishing Industry.” Grand Valley State University. 2016.
Bluestone, Marisa. “U.S. Publishing Industry’s Annual Survey Reveals $28 Billion in Revenue in 2014.” Association of American Publishers. 10 June 2015.
Cheng, Roger. “Amazon to Users: Hey, the Kindle Paperwhite Isn’t Perfect.” CNET. N.p., 12 Oct. 2012.
Coker, Mark. “2016 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Myriad Opportunities Amid a Slow Growth Environment.” Smashwords. 23 December 2015.
“E-Book Boom Sparks Growth in Brits Reading: But What Will the next Chapter Bring?” Mintel. 10 Oct. 2014.
“Ebook Timeline.” The Guardian. 3 Jan. 2002. U.S. edition.
“Google Editions: A History of Ebooks.” The Telegraph. 2 Dec. 2010.
Inouye, Alan S. “What’s in Store for Ebooks?” American Libraries Magazine. 31 Dec. 2015.
“Johannes Gutenberg Biography.” Biography.com. 7 Nov. 2016.
“Looking for the 50% Solution.” Publishers Weekly. 30 Dec. 2011.
Losowsky, Andrew. “Michael Hart, Inventor Of The eBook And Pioneer Of Electronic Literacy, Has Died.” The Huffington Post, edited by Katie Nelson and Maxwell Strachan. 8 Sept. 2009.
Miller, Claire C., and Julie Bosman. “E-Books Outsell Print Books at Amazon.” The New York Times. 20 May 2011, p. B2.
Perrin, Andrew. “Book Reading 2016.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. 1 Sept. 2016.
Richmond, Shane. “Over-55s most likely to own e-readers.” The Telegraph. 18 Jan. 2013.
Schneps, Matthew H., et al. “E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia.” PLOS ONE 8(9): e75634. (2013).
“Some Problems with E-Books in Schools.” The Reflective Educator.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
I’m a librarian, a reader, and a book lover, but honestly I don’t read that many physical books anymore. A few weeks ago I was reading a physical book at bedtime, and I wanted to see if it was time to turn out the light and go to sleep yet, and I automatically glanced down at the lower right-hand side of the right page for the clock.
The ebook now cost the same or more as the physical book. So then I buy the physical book. To stop court cases for monopoly supplier against Amazon, Amazon upped ebook prices.
Depends on the book. As a college student, I can tell you that many textbooks are cheaper in the ebook format.
My kids all love to read but they only read free stuff (either off-copyright or fan-fic) in electronic form, if they part with cash they are like me, they want a physical, paper book. My 80 year old mum, however, loves her Kindle.
Great conclusion and I agree with your prediction that reading ebooks is probably going to rise.
I’ve been thinking for the whole day whether or not to subscribe to a print version of a newspaper, since it’s way more expensive than the digital version.
There is only one form of print media that I, personally, prefer to their online counterparts, and that is books. No matter how updated technology gets, nothing beats owning, holding, feeling and reading a real book, turning real paper pages to read a physical novel is how many people relax at night. I, personally (although I respect opposing views), prefer online news, advertising and other media forms (e.g., forums), simply for the time saving (and money saving) convenience. However I hope to God that real printed novels are never phased out completely.
As an author myself I know that “e-books” end up earning us more money, as we do not have to go through publishers, book stores and other hoops that printed media makes us jump through, however I am also an avid reader, and dearly love the feel of a nice paperback in one hand and a cuppa in the other, as I’m sure, despite the growing popularity of online media, so many people still do.
Online venues for publishing have made getting your voice out much more accessible and more free market. Fewer hoops! Quality controlled by the online community too which is better than being vetted by an establishment. I am sue some will disagree with the notion of quality though.
This is very informative post. Thank you for sharing.
I personally much prefer printed books.
Many of my friends my age (early to mid twenties) like e-books, however I don’t know anybody under the age of 30 who has ever paid for one of them.
Whenever digital content is priced at or near the level of analog content despite the lack of raw material and processing costs, there is a huge incentive for consumers to use digital ways to circumvent those excessive prices. Go to the torrent sites and count downloads of popular ebooks to see how many copies are actually out there on readers.
Eventually the market will adapt and literary versions of Spotify will show that digital content can be monetized successfully and be wildly popular if it provides a) access to extensive offerings b) additional features such as recommendations/reading lists and above all c) sane pricing for a bunch of zeros and ones reproducible at essentially zero cost.
Paper books don’t need charging. The battery never runs out. That said – i like ebooks because i live in a tiny flat and don’t have room for more and more books.
If i buy a book, it’s generally because it’s something i will probably re-read. Thus – bookshelves. I read a lot on my kindle – some that i’m glad i haven’t bought, others i’m glad aren’t going to wind up a dog-eared state in the bottom of a bag somewhere, and others i promise myself i’ll buy a nice copy of and put on my fantasy bookshelves in my fantasy 1 bedroom flat that i have no hope of affording.
I have a Kindle but I do often buy books. The reason is simply that more often than not the e-book is more expensive than the physical product! I might buy more e-books if the prices were more reasonable. After all they aren’t limited to printing x amount of books with digital distribution.
The way you read a physical book is a completely different experience. It is not only the tactile experience of holding the book, research has shown that the rentention and depth of understanding of reading a physical book is higher than for an ebook.
That said, they both serve different purposes, so a sensible person would own both of them.
For my part, physical books will never go away. It’s part of the charm, and the fact that our house’s walls are largely covered with shelves to accommodate books, records, CDs and DVDs (yep, a happy collector!) is a comforting thing happily contributed to by the rest of the family. That our daughter, 11 years old and already worryingly addicted to her blessed tablet, is happy to read physical books, is merely one of the tiny victories over the ever consuming affect of technology.
Excellent and incisive reporting. It’s good to see that such quality appears on a website.
I actually suggested this as a potential topic on this site. My personal opinion is that physical literature is always more enjoyable, but as many others have already pointed out, the convenience and mobility of eReaders is a deciding factor. Overall, you have crafted a really well written article. However, I would suggest that the article could have done without the history lesson on eBooks. For example, the space could have been used to compare learning spaces. I am a recent college grad and during my time in undergrad, many of my professors offered the class books as open source pdf to alleviate cost. So, you could have compared the ebook advantages and disadvantages between k-12 and upper level educational spaces.
Thank you for the feedback! Ebooks in educational settings could be an entire post in itself! Ebooks do create some problems in primary and secondary schools, as I tried to elaborate in the article. One aspect I did not look into was in higher education. The textbook industry, free online formats, and much more contribute to an interesting situation on campus.
I enjoy books in both formats – My house is full of books and shelf space is forever running low. Reference books, antique books and children’s books I have on shelves – most novels I read as ebooks as they are often not read again and would be a waste of paper (and trees). Secondhand, most paperback fiction books now have little value and charity shops are disposing of them – presumably they are pulped. Older people often prefer not to accumulate more physical belongings and may have a lifetime of clutter and dusty times – this may be a reason for a preference for digital formats in that age group. Families and friends do share ebooks and ereader devices so they are not always a one off purchase – for the elderly elending libraries are excellent as they are easily accessible
I have never gotten as much enjoyment out of reading an ebook as I have a print book. Plus, the prices of ebooks are ridiculous.
Physical books are more pleasant to read, besides usually being able to survive at least one dip in the bath.
However, if you are learning a foreign language and want nigh-on instant access to a dictionary or translation the eBook is streets ahead (not all eBooks have this functionality).
Foreign language titles are also much easier to get (about 30 seconds) and cheaper than the physical book.
After decades of taking this or that book or books in hand luggage and seldom or never opening it during the trip, I’ve been taking a large collection of ebooks on an sd card in my phone. To my surprise, I’ve been reading a lot more in circumstances where, at the hotel, I’d have decided not to carry that book with me, then found myself somewhere suitable for reading.
Of course, in a typical (universal?) discussion of relative merits, the game is always to ‘prove one wins over the other’, a truly ‘bipolar’ game. Books are books, ebooks are ebooks, cassettes are cassettes, vinyl is vinyl and mp3 is similarly easier to have available all the time, anytime.
End the comparanoia and favour the choice and abundance, I say.
I agree, I think the future is likely to see a mixed diet depending on what the individual reader wants and where they might be reading a book at a given time.
Given that audio books have been around, at least since the advent of cassettes, are they part of the print era or the ebook era? Does it depend what device you use them on? If you transfer them from one medium to another, e.g. transfer your old cassette audio books to CD or to MP3s or you record a read book off the radio, where does that put you? Books are books are books and it is likely that in the coming decades we will see them in a plethora of formats just as you have highlighted is the case for music.
Audio book consumption has remained pretty stagnant throughout the years: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/09/01/book-reading-2016/
IMO, multimedia books will gain popularity in the near future.
I’ve heard there may even be a difference between the attention span that actual pages can bring rather than digital ebooks. Great article.
For real books try libraries where one can borrow for free. Wonderful places. Use them or lose them.
Ebooks are wonderful, especially for travelling, but they can’t replace the happiness I get looking over at my bookshelves and seeing something I haven’t read in years and remembering where and when I read it… right now I’m looking at a biography of Countess Tolstoy my aunt ‘lent’ me back in 2007ish with dire warnings to protect it at all costs. While what’s between the covers is paramount, there’s a lot more to a book than that alone. Rant over.
The strange thing about these inevitable ebook vs. book conversations is that all the claimed advantages of ebooks are concrete whereas all the claimed advantages of dead tree books are ineffable. I’ve been reading a good few decades and had somebody told me at the beginning when I schlepped several hundred pounds avoirdupois (and many many more pounds sterllng) around every time I moved that I could fit two thousand of them on something the size and weight of a small paperback novella, which would automatically keep my place in any book forever, allow me to read in bed without disturbing the wife, adjust the font to my taste and eyesight, have a built-in dictionary for the occasional pleasure of an unfamiliar word, and be easily backed up against loss, fire, water, rough handling or age, I would have been tempted to sell him my soul for the privilege, not wax hipster nostalgic about the joy of touching cheap paper and the aroma of industrial adhesives.
It’s good to see that despite the doomsaying of the general public book sales are on the up, suggesting we aren’t a nation of illiterate.
It doesn’t matter how people read.
Why would anyone ever pay for an ebook in the first place? If I’m buying a book I want something substantial in return
The online media is no doubt the evolving trend, and the world over.
Ebooks are very convenient for a vacation and using one is certainly not unpleasant, but when weight or bulk is not a concern I too prefer a real book.
Both formats have value and place in our diverse world. I enjoy reading ebooks nearly as well as print, in part because my medical issues make ebook’s viewing adjustment qualities increasingly helpful. However, if the power is out, I can still turn to my print books. My own books are published in both formats.
As a medic, one distinct advantage of physical books over ebooks that I have realised is that they allow us to recollect more data by aiding our memory spatially as in I can recollect more protocols and tables by their location in the book. This is lost in an ebook. Apart, from that I personally would never pay for an ebook. I only use free content. If I part with my money, I need to get something tangible in return. Virtual ebooks just never make the cut.
I personally will always love print books.
This is a very informative and thorough article. However I still prefer hardcover books; they don’t need to be charged, you can focus on the book instead of having a million apps dinging at once, and it provides a more intimate relationship than a kindle or E book. E books get the job done, but they’re just not the same!
Nice pros and cons on books and eBooks, thank you.
As an emerging indie author, I am looking to the ebook future with great interest. I have been delighted with the principles behind Project Gutenberg since its inception. Do I read ebooks myself? I like the feel of a real book in my hands. However, faced with the prospect of downsizing my home, there will come a time when I can’t continue to add 500 physical volumes per year.
E-Books might be the future of reading. But if you ask a true passionate reader, the essence of pages and virtual world of words have an unbeatable aura. The words printed have a unique impact and books have always been man’s best friend.
I agree with you in that I feel like both option have distinct advantages and disadvantages. For example, reading an ebook gives you the ability to read at night without needing a light, unlike a real book. But, then again, a real book does not run on electricity and can never run out of charge. Personally, I would never choose an ebook over the real thing as the change just seems alien or artificial, but I do think in the future humanity will adapt.
The e-books are probably going to rise in the future but personally there is nothing better than holding a real book in your hand.
I’m a lover of books and love to see my bookshelves full of books. I have a kindle but honestly haven’t used it in over a year.
For my studies it’s so much easier to have the real copy of a book because it is easy to go back and find passages that I need when writing essays. Real books will always be my preferred choice.
Agreed! Physical textbooks are FAR more popular at my university. Students often complain when forced to buy an ebook.
A refreshing glimpse into readers’ preferences into the digital era. Much can be expected with the development of ebooks for the future because multimedia is becoming easier to use. A problem might be the recognition of multimedia programs by indie developers for producing their books because of multimedia’s nature, such as having an abundance of graphics, video, and audio available that will “reasonably” supplement chosen eBook dynamics.
Interesting post! I can definitely see the appeal of eBooks, and their many benefits…but I also just can’t go past a real, paper novel. I always buy my favourite books in the flesh; the rest I’m happy to read on a screen.
Great article. You gave the old print vs ebook debate a fresh take. I had never considered before that ebooks may be a more accessible format for people with disabilities, and I was very surprised to learn that ebook are actually worse for the environment that print books. Thanks for taking the time to put this article together.
Interesting to see that even in an increasingly digital age, many people still prefer a physical copy. It makes me wonder how libraries might transform in the future? Perhaps they will not only have e reader stations but also the potential to rent Ereaders to cater to individuals who perhaps can’t afford their own technology.
Interesting to see that even in an increasingly digital age, many people still prefer a physical copy. It makes me wonder how libraries might transform in the future? Perhaps they will not only have e reader stations but also the potential to rent Ereaders to cater today individuals who perhaps can’t afford their own technology.
Thats a very interesting prediction! At my university, the library acts as a knowledge production space as well. It is equipped with the writing, speech, and research center that teaches students how to use its resources. In addition to books, it has a plethora of meeting spaces, conference rooms, a technology showcase, and an art gallery! I believe that libraries are transforming from “just a place to get books” into a space where people can learn and create from many different mediums.
Great post on a topic that book lovers around the world continue to debate.
I started off with e-books because I wanted reading material while travelling long-term, and now only buy physical books for books I really look forward to from my favourite authors. The biggest thing for me is that my kindle turns my room and my house into a bookstore. Being able to jump into a new book or a free sample of one as soon as I finish my current one means I’m always reading something new and has really improved my reading habits.
I’m glad to hear another voice asserting print books are still valuable. For years, I swore I’d never get an e-reader, because of the disadvantages you mentioned and some other problems I had with them (ex.: I wanted to have my favorite books at my fingertips but not pay for them again).
Last Christmas though, I broke down and asked my family for a Kindle. They delivered, and I wonder now why I didn’t give in years ago. I will always love print books, and online shopping will never be the same as browsing in a bookstore. But I believe the answer is “online and print,” not “either/or.” That way, the reading experience remains unlimited and completely open.
An interesting continuation of this topic would be to explore when an “ebook” stops being a “book” and becomes something other/more/different.
I could see a future for “digital books” that act more like self contained networks of information that take advantage of the their digital nature that still has room for the more linear format of print materials.
I tend to remain partial to the antiquated form of reading. But, your article does an excellent job of tipping the scale for both camps with organized evidence and clear and focused expression. Not an easy thing to do in any dual themed composition, but you make it seem effortless and applicable to any topic. Look forward to your future texts.
Thank you! 🙂
Awesome read! Another argument for the regular book is how the “tactile experience” as you describe it can sometimes enhance the reading experience. For example, as someone runs their fingers through the 800 pages of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Christo, we’re experiencing it the same way his original readers would have, the way Dumas may have expected his audiences to experience it. The weight of the book acting as an extension of the weight of Dante’s vengeance on his psyche or the length of the book as an extension of the long-windedness of his oft harrowing journey. Some people even claim they just feel inexplicably more spiritually connected to stories on paper. I know for most it may seem insignificant, or even silly, and I used to think the same way, but I’ve grown to really appreciate the feeling of an actual book.
Nothing brings me more pleasure than a new book, one in print. I love the smell. I enjoy being the first one to bend the binding. I don’t have to worry if my electronic device is charged. I can take it from the bathroom to the beach. I can show it to friends and offer to share it with them afterward. When was the last time someone offered to show you a book in their Kindle device?
As much as I realize that ebooks are the future and are here to stay, the feeling of opening a new book and smelling the awesome smell that emanates from it is something that can never come back.
The same goes for reading the newspaper vs going online to get the news.
I’m a former ebook naysayer that now carries my ereader everywhere. I still love having physical books on my shelf and the tactile experience you have described here. The reality is that an ereader is just too convenient and has gotten me reading more than I have in years. It’s compact and can have several books loaded on it at once, which means that if I have 20 minutes of downtime here or there I can just whip it out and read a bit of whatever I feel like. It’s also more convenient for the availability of books, as it’s often easier to get a ebook of something a bit obscure than track it down in a shop or wait weeks for it to be delivered after buying online.
For an old reader like me the choice is difficult! But, luckily, both are available and each has its own benefits. Note keeping on my Kindle is easy and that makes writing reviews much easier than going through the physical pages looking for the underlined stuff. On the other hand the FEEL of a good book and the act of page turning is an important benefit of the real book.
Such a great discussion, and in fact reading the comments was as fascinating as the article. This is really an issue that has so many of us split in our desires and passions. For instance, the entire fact this website and its format exists leans into the amazing opportunities of engaging in the e-environment, yet I agree too with many people about the feel, the weight, the texture of a book that is so nostalgic and connects us to the generations of people who came before that have held these same formats. I must say there is always something rather incredible about picking up a book that is 100 years plus and realising how many hands have held that same text, have read those pages, the lives that have passed by as it continues to exist. Yet on the same note there are so many great books that go out of print, become “unfashionable” or in some places it is genuinely hard to gain a physical copy of them, the ebook format offers an accessibility that the physical just can’t meet.
A great discussion to encourage.
I love reading articles online, and that is one of my favorite way to read for knowledge. However, with older literature, like epic poetry, short stories, novels, and novellas, I prefer to read with a book in my hand. I read The Alchemist not too long ago, and sometimes during the climax, you need to grip onto that book and squeeze it for dear life. I also love the smell old books and walking into libraries actually filled with books.
I’m old school, the glare of reading on a tablet or computer tires my eyes. The intimacy of choosing a book at a library is simply known for a magical aura, the book is choosing you. The turning and physically touching the book forms an intimate bond and experience. People are meant to use all their senses, if people use less senses, computers will be diminishinG our essence of what makes us human. Exaggerating, but true, when people are on their phones they forget about the beauty of the physical world, relying on digital world, encouraging cyber confidence: artificial likes.
My Kindle proved extremely convenient on numerous occasions, but as a collector of all sorts of things I still prefer to buy physical copies.
An e-reader definitely has many advantages, like the ability to easily highlight passages, instant accessibility, dictionaries, etc. It’s arguably a cheaper alternative, too.
Print books will continue to exist, no doubt about it. The market might become more collectible-oriented in the future, much like Blu-ray steelbooks and collector editions of video games.
Well, Online books are much better as you can carry tons of data of various book in one device.
Paper books are kind of magic
For me, nothing will beat the smell of a new book or the feeling of the pages against your fingertips. I’ve read E-Books before and my eyes just glaze over the words. I feel like a book really sucks me in and I feel somewhat protected or at ease when I carry a physical copy with me.
I’m old-school when it comes to reading print books. I find that print books enable me to tap into the fictional world more than online books. I bought a few books on Google because I wasn’t able to find them in stores. As I was reading on my phone, I kept getting notifications on my phone and the battery kept running out. Based on my experience, online books are more distracting than print.
I’ve used ebooks in my courses for some years now. In fact, there is only one book in any of my courses that is an actual book I use and only because it is not yet an ebook. Over the years I’ve sampled students how they feel about using ebooks and most like them. Those that have a problem with a particular book say they have downloaded and printed off a particular chapter, for example. Obviously, the thrilling part to students is by accessing an ebook through the university library they have no book costs per course–a big savings.