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E-book V/s The Paperback: What Would You Prefer?

Posted on November 4, 2011 in Specials

By Neetha Kurup:

The perfect Sunday evening for someone like me would be curling up on the sofa, with a cup of coffee within reach and a good book to read.

If it were saying this a few years ago, the picture forming in your mind as you read the above sentence would be a person with a cup of coffee and an actual hard-paper book in his or her hands.

But in this day and age, a book could mean a print book or an e-book. With the rising popularity of devices like the iPad, have we come to a stage where print books stand the danger of being completely eradicated?

The answer is not a very simple one. While print books do stand the danger of being endangered, they are not in a position of being eradicated completely. Several advantages make the e-books superior to print books. The most obvious one being the age-old concept of “saving trees”. Global warming is on the rise, most people believe Armageddon is approaching. People are beginning to realize earth may have an expiration date and it has come to their senses that they should do what is possible to put off the aforementioned expiration date. Using e-books would mean saving paper, which would mean saving trees.

Ease of access is another reason the e-book revolution could happen. More often than not, buying an e-book off an online store is much easier than dragging oneself to various bookstores in hopes of finding that illusive book. You may or may not end up going back with a copy with you. The same won’t happen with e-books. If you want a copy, you will get it.

Portability is yet another factor to consider in this debate. While lugging around five to six books for your summer vacation will be hard, if you have a laptop or an iPad, you can have multiple e-books stored in either of them-pick whatever you want to read and life is all the more simpler.

Then what is it that is keeping the printed word alive? Consider this, you are an author. You would worry more about piracy of your e-books than your printed books. You are a reader, you may not have the necessary software for reading e-books. Not everyone can afford an e-book reader or an iPad, or even a laptop.

There could be several kinks in the system. There is the strain on the eyes one has to consider if he or she is used to reading e-books a lot.

The rise of e-books is also resulting in the decline of bookstores. Borders — the chain of bookstores based in the USA recently announced the closing sown of 511 of its stores in the US and Puerto Rico after declaring bankruptcy.

It’s true that both forms have their advantages.

But personally I prefer the traditional way. Half the joy in reading I experience comes from the anticipation before I turn each page, the smell of a book — be it old or new. Books have a particular smell that does transport you to another world. Also, I would prefer shopping for books aimlessly wandering around a bookstore for hours rather than browse online for an e-book. Being surrounded by so many books is a joy in itself.

What about you? E-books, or paperback?