Books are wonderful. They provide lots of information and can evoke emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, and others, bound only by an individual’s imagination. It’s no wonder why people throughout the years have been so passionate about them.
However, though they provide so much enjoyment and knowledge, books are definitely not a convenient possession. Anyone who owns more than a few books has spent lots of time sorting, organizing, storing, loaning, and hauling them. So, the big question today is this: are traditional books really the best way to go in today’s technological world?
Along comes the e-reader to the scene, and especially the Amazon Kindle. The e-reader is an electronic device that lets you read a plethora of things in a nice, tidy digital format. Many of the e-readers today also give their owners the ability to surf the Web, play games, listen to music, watch movies, and a host of other things.
The Sony e-reader was launched in late 2006 and since then, sales have been on the rise.
When you think about this, you can’t help but wonder if these handy little devices are going to change the way people read. Could it be that these little devices are going to phase out traditional books all together? Both books and e-readers have advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages and Disadvantages of E-readers versus Traditional Books
When you want to answer the big question about whether these devices are phasing out traditional books, you must first think about everything that e-readers actually do. As of 2011, there were around a dozen- or more- e-readers available on the market. None of which were good at everything, so people were choosing their devices based on what they felt was important.
Some e-readers are simply e-readers. They allow you to read printed materials. Some of these do have internet connectivity and other functions, but the main purpose is to allow you to read.
Other e-readers are actually referred to as tablets and come with a host of other options from Wi-Fi connectivity to full color touch screens. They’re similar to laptops, but much more compact and convenient.
Now, let’s compare e-readers to traditional books. First of all, you can take your traditional book to the beach with you and read them as you enjoy the sounds of the surf. However, with the tablet e-readers, this can be tricky because of the glare. The devices that are basically just e-readers have a black and white or grayscale display, so these are easier to read in sunlight.
Many people like to share their books. This is much trickier when it comes to e-readers. In most cases, once you buy an e-book- it’s yours and only yours. Some of the services such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble do have programs where you can share books for a specified period of time and when that time is up, it is automatically deleted from the library of the person that borrowed it.
Cost is another issue that comes up when it comes to comparing the two. E-readers can be $100 or more- whereas most books, even the best sellers cost just under $10. For those who prefer shopping at second-hand bookstores or borrowing their reading material from the library, this can be a pretty big investment.
However, if you do purchase a lot of your books, it can actually be a good thing. Though it’s a hefty investment up front, it can save you lots of money in the long run because you’re able to get books for very cheap or even free sometimes. These devices have the storage capacity for thousands of books, all in one little device- so, when you travel, you can bring along your entire library.
Looking Into The Future
Looking ahead, it’s hard to determine at this point what the fate of traditional books is. One thing that might help is to look at the music industry. Until recent years, there was only a few ways that music could be recorded, then distributed, and enjoyed. However, these days, there are MP3 formats available, Pandora and other online radios, YouTube for music videos, and much more. These new formats have completely changed the face of the music industry. It is quite possible that a very similar trend could be happening with books.
However, before you say that books will go the way of the dinosaur, you must understand that there are still may people out there who have an emotional connection to books. Again, thinking about the music industry, though it may seem impractical, there are still people who have held on to their vinyl collections for the beauty of their sound.
So, while it does make sense for books to be available in a digital format for convenience sake, you should know that traditional books will never disappear entirely. An antique book is beautiful, which is something that will never change.
Finally, the truth is, even though e-reader sales are booming, this doesn’t necessarily mean that traditional book sales are suffering. Some retailers are reporting that their traditional book sales are as strong as ever.
On the other hand, due to the growth in popularity of these e-readers, traditional book sales may eventually taper off. The world of publishing is definitely changing, but for those of you who still prefer the feeling of a traditional print book in your hand, you should know that they’ll never become obsolete. Instead, they will find a place right next to these new devices.