By Asha Ritu:
In a technology driven age, the term ‘eBook’ is no surprise to anyone. EBook or Electronic book is a virtual book that is on a word processor or a PDF file that can be mailed and read anywhere. EBooks are the convenient and easy to download since one only requires a word processor to view and read them.
For many avid readers, this change was quick and comfortable. Their objective was just to read! But many are still dwindling in the middle of the two — EBooks and traditional books — which one to go for? Does the reading experience differ in the two? Which gives more satisfaction — the one that you hold in your hand and flip pages or the one that you carry in your laptop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle and scroll using the arrow keys? These questions are bound to vary from individual to individual and so is the preference but its still a question of development or degradation in the reading habits of people.
Many well justified arguments for EBooks talk about the easy portability of such books. Quick to produce, these books give instant credibility and huge profits to the authors. One very significant point is the free access to many authors worldwide which might have been impossible otherwise. It’s ‘knowledge’ that eBooks target and not the ‘reading experience’, hence they cannot be convicted for not providing the satisfaction of a traditional book! But nevertheless, the fact that eBooks have transformed the perception of reading and somewhat made reading less exciting, cannot be ignored!
Traditional books on the other side cannot boast of easy portability but provide the reader with immense satisfaction of holding the book and feeling each page as s/he flips them, making the price of the book worthwhile since the experience is complete. The reader travels through the book with the writer, feeling just as the writer must have felt writing those lines – the excitement, the curiosity, the melancholy, the pain, the love — and this is something an eBook loses a point for. A traditional book feels like a possession of the reader which s/he cherishes throughout his life, while an eBook is just like those other hundred word documents that occupy your reader’s memory space.
EBooks are supposed to be environment friendly since they don’t use paper and thus reduce production costs which in turn save time and effort. Thus they also escape the risk of wearing and tearing off with time. On the other hand, traditional books cost more since they go through the entire process of publishing. But using paper that can be recycled seems a good solution to this. And since paper cannot be preserved for long, traditional books are less durable than their digital counterparts. But the hard paperbacks available these days aim to increase the durability of traditional books.
Having mentioned the pros and cons of both eBooks and traditional books, it’s important to point out that at the end of it, all that matters is the habit of reading that one cultivates, either through a digital medium or a traditional book. While these arguments may not force you to choose one from the two options, they are bound to make you put on your thinking caps and ponder for a while — a book in your hand or a word document?