E-Readers vs. Books

29 Sep

Congratulations! You’ve just bought yourself your brand new Apple iPad!  What are you going to do with it now?  The obvious answers can be found in the below video:

So many choices right? Aside from playing video games, checking facebook, or watching movies that kill your battery life, you can also read books on the small LED screen. They even have a little book shelf where all your favorite e-books sit patiently waiting for you to come and read them. And even more, the iPad can simulate the turning of a page just like a real book!

E-readers like the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle are very much the rage today. For those environmentally conscious people out there, e-readers tout the ability to enjoy literature without the wasting of paper. As an English major, the need to save paper is an ongoing battle and many find e-readers to be an attractive alternative. The Green Lantern, a weekly environmental column from the Washington Post discussed the varying advantages of owning an e-reader over regular books.

While there is a lot of environmental data to back up why you should own an e-reader over buying books, I think there is something lost in the flipping of a digital page. Where is that aged smell that comes with a worn and previously read book? Where is that sense of accomplishment when you’ve reached the 300th page and look back to see just how much ground you’ve covered? These are those sentimental ideas that keep me with the hard copy of a book over the digital. What’s more, the are more than just a book. They are a distraction.

While I may be one to choose a book over television on any given day, many people of this generation would rather hit a button and watch a story than flip a page and build a story in their head. With the iPad’s ability to stream video and music and play games, the choice of reading a book to our generation sounds like the last thing they would choose to do. The Peel has even met the digital world half way with both our Online Edition in the fall and our Print Edition in the spring. Digital literature is encroaching on territory long held by the printed page. And some day soon, moveable printed type will no longer be the standard of which we learn to read.

So I say to you, Internet. Go and pick up your favorite book. If you want to save the environment, order it online to save on the shipping costs that occur at large chain book stores. But please pick up a hard copy instead of download it onto your iPad or Kindle. It may not be the most environmentally friendly option, but one day, we may all miss the crisp sound of a page turned and a real bookmark instead of a digital one.

– Andrew H. Baker
Poetry Committee Chair

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One Response to “E-Readers vs. Books”

  1. Caitlin Fitzpatrick September 29, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    I totally agree about the satisfaction of having a hard copy book, but as a poor college student the free book classics are a definite bonus for the Kindle.

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