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4 thoughts on “E-Readers vs. Printed Books? Let’s Argue. Or Not.

  1. It is not so much an either/or question as a matter of practicality. I have no room for more printed books! All my walls are lined with shelves. If I need to replace a carpet or paint I must spend days or weeks doing nothing but moving books around.

    I like Apple’s iBooks reader on the iPad and iPhone, but the selection of books is quite limited. Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle apps on these devices offer a much larger selection, though they are not quite as well done.

    Eventually, I can see e-books blurring the lines separating books from other media. Imagine books with embedded video or sound, for example. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a moving picture might be worth 10,000 words. A Spanish language text that contained both sound and video, for example, could help the student master pronunciation. A book on archeology could take the student to a virtual site, demonstrating proper techniques for preservation of artifacts. Books might contain frames with their own mini-browsers with web site links.

    Applications like iBook retain much of the traditional feel of reading a book. “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg” is hysterically funny whether you read it on a printed page or not. And yes, I think that e-readers will eventually become water resistant.

  2. I don’t think books will ever go away. There will always be some people who want them or some books people want. Like watching old movies in a theatre. I will have a mix of both using whichever medium is convenient or desired at the time. I see e-books being very advantageous for schools and students the most.

  3. Like CJCampbell, I have way too many books, but I keep them because I love them. I’ve found great deals on books on eBay and in used book stores, because I can’t afford to buy books at the going rate. I wish I could – some of my books are paperbacks with their original price of 50 cents on them and they’re falling apart page by page. I will always have printed books because standing in front of the bookcase looking at a kindle and trying to decide what to read without being able to see all those titles just seems…I don’t know, sort of sad.

  4. CJCampbell: One of the frustrating myths about e-readers is that reading one is like staring into a computer screen. With the Kindle, as well as the iPad and the Nook, that’s just not true. The light gray backdrops and “e-ink” technology makes the experience very book-like.

    And I agree that the number of books that are exclusively e-books will grow. Probably not at a super-fast rate, though, is my guess.

    OfficeGirl: Excellent point. E-books for textbooks is a great way to deal with the insanely escalating expense of school materials. I myself am preparing to go back to school (22 years after I got my bachelor’s degree) and am staring at up to $400 in textbook costs. If e-books can knock at least 25% off that prohibitive cost, I’d sure embrace that idea.

    Kelly: I felt as you did until I tried it out in person. Now I read my Kindle in bed at night once or twice a week. After an initial sense of displacement, I found it easy to give myself over to what I was reading and not think at all about HOW I was reading it. But, yeah, it took me a few years to get to the point of even being willing to try. At my age (45), I’m just old-school and cranky enough to ignore what I don’t want to absorb. For a while, anyway. I will always have my heavy, ungainly, great-smelling stacks of books, however.

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