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Kindle VS Real Books - Will E-Books Replace Traditional Books?
Reading e books on Kindle or iPad is the biggest thing since Gutenberg invented the printing press. Or is it? The relatively new phenomena of ebooks and the success of Amazon's Kindle is throwing the world of publishing and reading into a whole new age of controversy and turmoil.
Now, I will admit to being the type of person who may seem a bit backward to some, but technologically knowledgeable to my more neolithic type friends. Like (I suspect) a lot of people, especially Baby Boomers and older folks, I am not a tech head. I do not own a lot of electronic gadgetry, but I am no troglodyte. Instead of plunging into the electric revolution, I pick and choose between convenience and what looks to me like rampant consumerism, attempting to find a middle ground.
Sure, I have a cell phone. And understand something of the Internet, but I was just not ready to jump in feet first and plunk out $139.00 on what can be perceived as a new toy. Now, Amazon is offering a Kindle at a mere $114.00!
But I do love books and love to read, and am fascinated with the new wireless reading devices on the market. So far, Kindle seems to be the best ereader out there. But, I am still reading novels the old fashioned way.
I decided to share my investigations with you and look forward to your input in the comments section.
Kindle - Several Versions
So, when Amazon released Kindle 1st Generation in 2007, I thought that I would wait awhile before I made up my mind about the whole ebook business. But, when Amazon recently claimed to sell 80% more digital books online than hardback books, I decided to find out more about the whole scene.
Amazon originally introduced the 1st Generation Kindle in 2007 with a 6' display screen that cost nearly $400.00 with a 250 MB internal memory capacity, enabling it to hold 200 titles of non-illustrated books. In 2009, Kindle 2 with its longer battery life, and a thinner body, was able to hold 1500 non illustrated books. You can fit an entire private library in your pocket book!
In May of 2009, Amazon released Kindle DX, which can display landscape or portrait layouts when turned sideways! It is like magic.
Not only that, but the price of Kindle has come down. In order to compete with Barnes and Noble's Nook, Amazon reduced the price of Kindle from $259.00 to $189.00, then to $139.00.
Recently, Amazon brought out yet another version of Kindle that sells for only $114.00!
The digital text platform of Kindle reduces waste, transportation and delivery costs, and cuts down on cutting down trees. And it's the perfect union of the literary life and the electronic revolution.
For book lovers, new releases and best selling ebooks on Kindle cost about ten dollars. Book buyers will be able to afford more books, but publishers are concerned that the low price will lower their profits.
Another bonus for readers is the Gutenberg Project which offers nearly 20,000 books that have expired copyright in the United States of America - for absolutely free! That comes close to convincing any reader to join the ebook craze.
Imagine - All These Books Compressed Onto Something the Size of a Dress Purse!
Speaking of Gutenberg...
Before Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440, books were hand written. Each book was a work of art, often featuring beautiful illustrations and elaborate calligraphy. In other words, books were real expensive treasures for the wealthy.
People often read books aloud, back then. Let's not forget that the first book that Gutenberg printed was the Bible. Previously, few people actually read the Bible. It was read to them. Scholarly men, clerics, priests, and theologians would read and interpret the bible for everybody else. But the printing press created the ability for anyone who could read to actually read the Bible for themselves. Eventually, the printing press widened the availability of books and, like Kindle, and every other newly introduced technological advance, the prices of books eventually came down.
But, critics worried that people would no longer read aloud and that wonderful experience of sharing books would pass out of fashion. Religious leaders feared that regular people who read the Bible for themselves might come up with their own interpretations of the Bible, producing a whole host of heretics. And, the printing press would put scribes out of work!
Plus, the new books created on a printing press just were not as pretty as the hand made ones. An art form would be lost. And they were right about that.
But the availability of mass made books encouraged a whole new age of education, science, the arts, and religion. It has been called the greatest invention of all time.
Girl Reading - Would the Picture be as Pretty if She Was Reading an E Book?
As anybody with a kid in college knows, textbooks are hugely expensive. Perhaps ebooks could cut down on the cost and weight of texbooks.
It looks like Apple's iPad may provide the best format for texts. Apples' iPad has a larger color touch screen and integrated WiFi and is better for presenting textbooks with color pictures, diagrams, and charts than Kindle.
Kindle VS Real Books
So, my friends, here are my comparisons between Kindle (or any book on a digital format) and traditional books, the advantages and disadvantages of each:
- E-books are great for travel. They a light weight, compact, and easy to carry. You can take several books with you to the beach with no fuss at all. And unlike laptop or cell phone screens, the display screen on a Kindle reduces glare and can be easily read in strong sunlight. However, when the plane takes off and lands, flight attendants will ask you to turn it off.
- If you drop your book in the bathtub, down a flight of stairs, or into a vat of boiling molasses, you lose one book. If you do the same with a Kindle, don't worry - your library is backed up on Amazon! Although the Kindle itself would be kaput.
- You can't use a stack of Kindle ebooks to hold up a corner of the sofa if one of the legs has broken off.
- Regular books do not include a dictionary or keyboard.
- You can't cut a hole in an old ebook to hide your stash.
- Hitting someone in the head with a Kindle does not pack the same wallop as it does if you bop them with a good old fashioned hard back book.
- You can't slip some papers into a Kindle for ease of carrying.
- The battery on your traditional book will not crap out just as the hero is dangling off the cliff and you have to send it off somewhere for repair or buy a new battery online before you find out what happens.
- You can't use a pile of Kindles to smooth down papers. Well, you could but that would entail purchasing quite a lot of them.
- If you become lost in the wilderness with your Kindle, you can't use it as kindling for a fire on a cold night. (But, if you also have a GPS, you can find your way back to civilization)
- With a Kindle, you can't switch book jackets to make it look like you are reading something significant in order to impress strangers at the dentist's office or on the bus.
- Crack pot political groups can't burn a pile of Kindles with the same effect as burning a pile of real books.
- You can't collect old or rare Kindles.
- You can't press flowers with a Kindle.
- Kindles do not lend themselves to secretive or clandestine exchanges - which could harm espionage.
- On the plus side for Kindle - you can lay on your side when reading a Kindle. Try that with a traditional book!
And there is, of course, the ultimate question - how cozy is it to curl up with a Kindle and a cup of tea on a chilly night? In that case, I guess it depends on what you are reading.