eBooks: Are They A Good Thing?

I guess change is inevitable, the best we can do is just prepare for it, and be ready to adapt when the time comes


And that’s what our civilization is doing now, were adapting. We’re learning to become more global, more independent and more cut off at the same time. A tweet, a beep, a text message, does that bring us together, or pull us apart?


Sorry for the rant; this isn’t what the article is about.

Words are important to us all; they inspire us, teach us, invigorate us. They are our friends, our enemies, our whatever we want them to be. Some tell stories, some inform us, and some defend us. It’s something that hasn’t changed over the last hundred of years – words have always been there to tell us something, to speak to us. What has changed is the medium in which we read these words. Not even ten years ago the world of publishing houses were flourishing with thousands of new books being published every year.


Oh, how the internet has changed us.


Now instead of thousands of new books being published yearly, thousands of publishing houses are going out of business. The main reason? Not enough people are buying books anymore; people are still reading, that’s not the problem. The problem is where we want to read our words – where we want to see those characters and learn that information. Our perception and priority has changed – we want convenience and portability.


The answer to our suddenly changed desire?


eBooks. Thousands and thousands of eBooks. Just a quick look on Google Trends, or eBay pulse and you will see how the popularity of these items as risen over the last five years. It’s our own industrial revolution, except this one is much more technological, and lot less specific – this one is happening everywhere.


I do believe, however, that one of the biggest adaptations that is coming over us the way we read. Right now you’re reading this on the computer; ten years ago you would not have been. eBooks and eBook readers are the new medium for reading novels, and this is both a great change, as well as a bad one.

Negatives:

  • Do we really need more time spent looking at a screen? The fact is looking at a computer screen all day takes a toll on the eyes, and to have that same stress during leisure time isn’t a good thing.

  • Battery life! We have to worry about our books running out of power. Imagine that. At the climax and suddenly it dies. That’s a new problem to have…

  • The whole feeling of reading a great story seems slightly tarnished. It’s almost a magical idea. Imagine that first time you ever spent a whole day finishing a novel – you were just so into that you couldn’t put it down. The best part of that is that you could. Nothing was stopping you. It was so… easy. To have to worry about battery life would just ruin the experience.

  • No more libraries of all your books. One of the coolest things about books is able to be surrounded by them. I like the idea of being surrounded by countless characters and stories.

Positives:

  • An eBook Reader can store thousands upon thousands of books and you can download them online – no more libraries. Plus you can read those old, forgotten classics, something that a lot of people weren’t doing a decade ago. In one way this technological reading is bringing us closer to the literature of the past, bridging the two worlds together. How will they collide? We’ll find out soon, I’m sure.

  • Much cheaper. Without a doubt the prices of hard cover books has risen significantly. For people who love reading, but don’t appreciate spending a lot of their money on it, then eBooks is the way to go.

  • More convenient. Take thousands of books in your pocket. Do I have to say anymore?

  • Hate to say it, but some of these eBooks have been ‘revamped’. Some have more serious editing, some better fonts, all for a better reading experience. Are you starting to feel a little nostalgia yet?

  • Less clutter. No more massive libraries with your collection of books. More space.

In the end its personal preference, but fact is fact. The world is changing around us. It is. Really. Look around. You can see it everywhere. Change.


We have to learn to adapt and to change with it. If that means putting all our books into digital form, well, at least there are positives to keep me somewhat happy.


Note: This article wasn’t even meant to go in this direction. I was planning to write article on the top five eBook readers available. Funny how the consciousness works.


Comments 8 comments

SilverGenes 6 years ago

You bring some good perspective to the changes that are upon us. Personally, I think computers are great for 'throw away' writing like newspaper articles, magazines and other publications with a date sensitivity. However, it will never replace the feeling of being curled up in your favourite reading spot and opening a brand new book. Nor will it replace the library that ensures all people have access to written material. They won't if everything is digital. Then again, the world has changed in such a terrible way for authors that maybe some of the publishing companies responsible for this actually SHOULD go out of business. Whatever happened to the days when one sent a manuscript off to a publishing house and actually got a reply? They are long gone. Everything was slopped over to literary agents who don't actually represent authors. It will be interesting to see how all these middlemen will fare in the future - perhaps they will all have to crawl out from where they are and start making valid contributions. Well, I had no intention of ranting on like this but your article really got me thinking - and that's a good thing! Good post. And I just may head out to my local library tomorrow.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Hard to say where the world of books will end up, but it is good to know that there are still paper books still being published, and not everything is digital :)


vanchen profile image

vanchen 6 years ago from British Columbia Author

@SilverGenes: Thanks for the long comment/rant. It actually means a lot to me to get one of those; it shows that someone actually read the entire article.

That's another of the downfalls of our changing world. Many authors are getting lost in the stream of words; i recently just sent out a manuscript months ago and still haven't heard a reply. And, i don't know, the idea of getting an eBook published just doesn't appeal to me yet. Maybe i'll go to the library tomorrow...

@Enelle: You're right. Not all is lost yet.


jj200 profile image

jj200 6 years ago from My Bedroom

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article on this topic, thought I'd mention it, if you're interested in more reading.

As someone who never sold back a book to the bookstore in college, I love having my big collection of books. (I just bought about 15 more that I'd been longing to have). I go to the library to try out new authors, then maybe buy. It's like renting a movie, except it's free. So great.

My problem with the eBooks is that if you drop, misplace or are robbed of your device, you're out a ton of money. Losing a book is so much cheaper, and you will still have access to every other book you own. Also, there's the feeling of uneasiness that comes from not having a solid form of your book. You're at the mercy of the device's distributers who could discontinue the product, or, likely in this day and age, upgrade to a newer one, leaving you needing to shell out more $$ to keep reading your books. Anyone remember CDs, VHS, etc. etc.? I'll stick with my paperbacks.


vanchen profile image

vanchen 6 years ago from British Columbia Author

That's a great point jj200. It's hard thing to imagine all of sudden your entire library of books being compacted down into one little device. Not alone how much money you would lose if you lost that, but the feeling of just overall loss and regret I think would be very powerful.

Of course maybe that's just us; I'm sure many people will say eBooks are the greatest thing to happen to books for years.


DonnaWallace profile image

DonnaWallace 6 years ago from North Carolina

What a fantastic hub! I'm an avid reader and was very hard to imagine even reading a book on a screen. But once I got my Kindle, I realized how much value the convenience offers. Now I don't even pick up books at all.


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

It is very possible that one day an E-book will not have to be viewed on a screen which is so hard of the eyes. This is certainly a major drawback at the moment, I think. I agree with those who say it's wonderful to have a study or office filled with treasured books one has gathered over many years. From where I sit as I type this I can cast my eyes upon all manner of texts: history, biographies, travel, novels - wonderful. And when I've watched television in the evening and go to bed, I'm apt to pick up a book to read for a few minutes before turning out the light. It wouldn't seem the same with a screen-reader.


web 4 years ago

My wife and I are considering reading at night. We discussed that if we each had an ebook, we would be closer. We would trade off the highlights of what each of us read. Sounds romantic, huh. We haven't been able to read as much in previuos years becasue we were so busy. But now, we could order up what we want instantly.

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