Paper books share shelf space with new technology

Melanie Roberts

Paper books are slowly dying out as the digital age creeps its way into society with the invention of e-books.

While the convenience of having an e-book and one thousand digital books seems like a nice idea, the feeling of a physical book in your hands and pages to flip is a unique experience an e-book is unable to offer.

Often people wouldn’t consider “curling up” with a machine.

Though, as the the appeal of e-books increases, it’s hard to decide which one is easier to use or better for the environment. There are pros and cons with each option.

As bookstores, like Borders, go out of business and e-books come in, the whole feel of reading a book is changing. Many young kids are denied the privilege of sitting in a bookstore enjoying a good read.

While libraries and few bookstores are still available, it is probable that they will eventually go out of business as well.

A draw to e-books is how little they weigh (Kindle 8.5 oz.). Lugging books around can be undesirable.

Often people don’t consider the fact that not every book weighs several pounds. There are light reads or magazines, as some prefer, which are just as light as the device.

Some may argue books are not the most eco-friendly when it comes to CO2 emissions and trees that are cut down however, it is doubtful the average big business doesn’t go through just as much or more paper a year than a single person’s library.

Many environmentalists have done studies to show that e-books are greener to produce, but Amazon has never released a statistical study themselves, making them seem suspicious.

Not taken into account is the additional energy it takes to charge the machine each time.

With any technology or electronic device, there is the risk of glitches or failures. If you spill something on the device, it may cause a malfunction. So, naturally with any e-book there is risk of losing all your stored books or other prints.

Also, with any screened electronic like lap tops and iPads there is risk of eyestrain or RSI after long periods of time.

There has also been issues with e-book hackers cracking kindles and deleting stored data. These hackers have made careers out of messing with these devices just to see if they can. Many of them have been successful.

Having a digital copy may also make it easier to censor certain sections from books, which you are unable to do with a printed book.

This may be a nice feature for parents of young children, but undesirable if you don’t want your story cut short.

Part of reading a book is being able to share it with other people and building community around a new story.

E-books, like Kindle by Amazon or the Nook, make it difficult to share books, because every book is not lendable. If you don’t have the rights to lend a book to a friend then you don’t really own the book.

The books that are lendable make it difficult to do so, because it is exclusive to U.S. residence and there is a 14-day loaning period. During this time, the owner cannot read the book himself or herself.

In addition, the borrower has to have an Amazon account or set one up and may only borrow a book one time.

For leisurely readers, 14 days is not always enough time, especially in our fast-paced society in which many people barely have two seconds to take a breather and read.

All of which can be avoided with a physical book that you can just hand to someone or send to him or her.

Another note is the costliness of the Kindle, Nook and other e-books claiming to save money. Though, the initial price to purchase one is approximately $120 and each book around $10. Having to purchase every book can become expensive in the bad economy.

With paper books, there are libraries where you can borrow books for free, used book stores where you can pick up books for next to nothing, and circulation of books between friends, exchanging to constantly enjoy new pieces of literature.

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