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Are eBooks better than print books?

‘Kindle is the new Library’

It’s bye-bye to the wooden shelves and mahogany libraries. The feel and grandeur of the vast libraries will soon be a thing of the past as the entire content of the library will be within the bounds of a 12 inch screen of eBook readers and gadgets. With lots of facilities these eBooks are giving a tough competition to the printed books market and are looking towards replacing them. However many still prefer printed books over eBooks. It’s worth discussing which ones are better.

Yes eBooks are better –

1. eBooks are more convenient in many respects owing to its digital format.

2. They may cost less than printed ones, and help the environment by saving trees.

3. They are portable and easy to make and consolidate notes from numerous books.

4. It is easier to search words, passages and references.

5. It easier to exchange or get new books after finishing one.

6. There are nowadays facilities of dictionary in the devices which integrate with eBooks and help in finding meaning very quickly and easily.

7. EBook, internet and research-everything in one device helps a lot. This is not there in print books.

8. In rural and inaccessible areas and in dark areas where there is low light, reading eBooks on portable devices is convenient.

9. It’s easier to adjust the font size.

10. You can zoom in on the maps and diagrams.

11. Also there is no limit on number of pages. In print books, increase in pages means increase in weight.

12. In eBooks we can have color images. In print books, printing color images costs more.

13. The read aloud facility helps the reader to understand the exact pronunciation of words in the eBook. In case of print books, we need to take help of someone else.

No they are not –

1. It is not good for eyes to expose them to the screen for a long time.

2. Many like the feel of the books. They are deprived of the pleasure in case of eBooks. Paper books just feel good in hands. However even the best designed eBook seems cold and lifeless.

3. The print books have good packaging with cover arts running at back and front, both sides. The book binding and typeface both give a unique look and touch to the print books. Aesthetics matter and feeling a book is part of aesthetics.

4. When it comes to charting out maps, huge diagrams, etc. print books are better. There we can have folded page which when unfolded can give the entire map right in front of one’s eyes and one can capture the entire map in one swoop of sight. In eBooks there is limit as to how large a map can fit on the screen. Larger maps are divided into pages which kills its feel and purpose sometimes.

5. Sometimes zooming adversely affects the resolution of the image and distorts/blurs it.

6. Initial cost is more as we need to invest in machinery to access eBooks.

7. Though portable, portability is limited by battery backup. In rural areas print books are more suitable.

8. Books printed on recycled paper can help environment.

9. Books were and are considered as one of the best gifts. There is a personal touch to print books and kind of nostalgia attached to it. The feel and look of our handwriting and the notes made in it give it a personal touch which lacks in the eBooks.

10. It’s difficult to share a copy of an eBook due to DRM (Digital Rights Management) or sometimes incompatible eBook formats. For sharing one needs to download a pirated copy which means venturing into an illegal area.

11. eBooks still are costly. Many cannot afford new print books and so buy second-hand print books. This is not possible with eBooks.

Conclusion

Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” – Stephen Fry. One technology doesn’t replace another, it complements. The eBooks are still developing and it will take a lot of time till they become popular as the print books. This is because the primary need before resorting to eBooks is penetration of technology and devices which support eBooks. There are pros and cons for both paper books and eBooks. The eBook market is ripe for innovations in how we read, so eBooks will only improve over the coming years. However, the real value of the book is in its content and its words, whether in printed or digital format.

Are eBooks better than print books?

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