How would you characterize the different needs met by print and digital books?
I prefer printed books to digital books. I like to cuddle on the bed or sofa with my book, a relaxed way of reading. With digital books, it's quite hard for me to read for long as my eyes get tired by the radiation of the screen.
However digital books are indeed useful as some of my Chemistry books, which are very thick to carry from place to place, hence I prefer to have them as e-books or pdf form to access them from anywhere.
Digital books are trending right now because more and more people are reading 'on the hoof' - as they go to work, at lunch, on holiday. It's possible to download ebooks whenever wherever, as long as the technology works and you've got the payments covered reading is possible at the push of a few small buttons.
Printed books will never go out of fashion I hope. Nothing but nothing beats the feeling of taking down a hardcover from your shelf, settling down on a comfy chair, drink at hand (I'll leave the contents up to you!) with time and space for a good read. Second only to this luxury is opening the box or package within which is a first edition hard cover you ordered!
Whilst I can see the benefits of digital books - you can access endless titles no matter what your location and everyone can join in the read - printed books mean quality time and private space and that's still vital to us humans.
Books have a certain smell to them. There is something fresh and tangy about the odor of print on the pages of a new book. As for an old book you've had kicking around for a long time, it smells familiar and friendly like a jumper you've worn every winter for the last decade or so. I can't imagine living without book shelves and book shelves require real books. They come with colorful covers just crying out to be read.
Meanwhile digital books are cold and practical. They have no particular smell to them at all, nothing organic at all. You have to imagine that the author who wrote the digital book had ink in his or her blood. They are compact and store a lot easier than paperbacks and hardcovers but I agree with Captain Picard that paperbacks and hardcovers have character that something digital will never have.
I have always preferred "real" books. It's nice to have something to hold, pages to turn, a physical object that can be lent to friends, or something that can be picked up another time to read again. A nicely illustrated book is a work of art that cannot be appreciated on a small screen.
I was actually quite anti e-books until I went on holiday with some friends who had Kindles. Those of us with paperbacks had terrible trouble with pages blowing about in the wind, and the glue that held the pages together actually melting in the heat so pages were coming loose. Those with Kindles sat quietly and smugly getting on with their downloaded novels! So - I can see the benefits in such circumstances.
But that's all very well until the battery runs out, or some technical problem occurs. Also, I don't really like being surrounded by electronic equipment all the time. It is like a kind of electrical pollution. Have you ever noticed how quiet and peaceful it is when there is a power cut, and all the humming, noises and artificial lights and so on have stopped? Give me a nice quiet book anyday!
Digital books are good if you need something immediately, or if you need to carry a large number of books in a tiny area. They are less cumbersome to carry around than a stack of books and it's a good way to access something unusual - if it has been digitized. However...
Real books are easier on the eyes, they don't need to be recharged, it's much easier to flip back and forth to reference something, and you can loan them out. Also - I will never buy youngest son a Kindle. He may have a regular book.
I'd like to quote something I read in one of the books I teach which I identify with:
"In spite of technological advances, lovers of the traditional book claim that the traditional book will keep winning its prospective readers through the way it is presented. The impression of ink and paper will always create a physical connection between the author and its readers. It's an exhilarating feeling that an e-book cannot produce."
The only plus for digital books for me is that they are light and not bulgy. Other than that I do not approve as they are not of earth but of man made materials.
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