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The Reading Reasoning: Books or E-books? (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
With the reading advancements offered by e-books, people are considering reading them instead of regular books. An e-book is an electronic book that can be read on a computer, laptop, tablet PC, or other electronic reading device. Although both are a hassle to transport, the e-book becomes a reading advantage when the person reads it in a stationary situation. E-books offer more advanced ways to read a text, and e-books can be transported easily—unlike the hassle of carrying books. By books I do not mean any book, such as a comic book, but books in the form of a hardcover or paperback book. Compared with conventional printed books, e-books are almost immune to damage. For a person that has reading disabilities, such as dyslexia or poor eyesight, e-books can give audio and visual aid for a more enhanced reading experience. For the next reading purchase, an e-book seems like a wise choice, but the situations in which a book and e-book are used will make a person think twice before buying.

Choosing an e-book instead of a book can decrease physical strain. Multiple books in a book bag can weigh up to forty pounds; multiple e-books stored onto a compact disc or other small storage medium can weigh up to a few ounces; thus, the portability of one or multiple e-books on a light-weight material is less strenuous than the weight of one or more books. Programs that allow e-books to be read come with an option that allows someone to increase the font-size of a displayed page; these pages would be displayed on either a monitor or LCD screen. For someone with near-sighted vision, this option can enable that person to enlarge font size and continue reading on a day the person lost his or her eyeglasses. Sadly, printed texts do not have an option to make the font bigger, unless the book was specially made to the request of the reader or otherwise beforehand. Usable textbooks have been lacking for a long time for those who are visually disabled. Another great feature, that books do not have, is the Text-to-Speech (TTS) feature. Many e-book reading programs come with TTS; this feature allows a synthetic computer voice to read the e-book aloud. If a person with missing eyeglasses can not read the enlarged text, this audio substitution can compensate for what can not be read. This option even allows one who is blind or dyslexic to load an e-book and listen to what the texts reads. If a student were to read an e-book while listening to it, he or she may be able to have an increase in comprehension of the reading material. For a person that wants to travel with these features, he or she would need a portable reading device.

The portable reading devices available are many, but few give the features a laptop or tablet PC, also called tablet, offer. Both printed and digital books can be read in complete darkness. A book light clamped onto a book allows someone to read it in the dark, and the lit up screen of a computer allows a person to read the e-book text in the dark; both technological measures require a power source. The cost of a portable computer (often ranging from $500+ USD) to read an e-book while traveling, is more expensive than buying an individual book that costs $70. If the printed book were destroyed, replacing it would continue to cost less than buying a portable computer; however, e-books and the devices they run on are not completely worthless. Nonetheless, a laptop will allow a person to read countless e-books. Carrying a lightweight laptop or tablet to load e-books is less of a hassle, if a few minutes of loading time are not a great concern.

Tablets have multiple uses besides reading e-books: music playing, video watching, and Internet connection. Many students use a tablet to take notes inside a classroom. The fact still remains that a book is less expensive than an e-book; however, e-books can be backed up and restored; a textbook can not be backed up and restored. This backing up measure can replenish a person’s need for the reading material in the case the e-book was accidentally destroyed.

Unlike an e-book, a printed book is more readily destroyed when taken on a travel. The definition of destruction is the amount of wear and tear on a book that would cause it to be unreadable. A book is often put into different situations that could destroy it: an encounter with rain could soak the pages and bleed the text; a drop in a mud puddle could drench pages with dirt, making text unreadable; a coffee spill could ruin pages and destroy the binding of the book's spine. Cellulose, which comprises the pages of a book, absorbs water like a paper towel; thus water may leak through the book bag and dampen a book on a day when rain pours from the sky. The destruction of an e-book on a storage medium is possible; however, a copy of an e-book assures the owner that he or she will still have the e-book--even if the original is destroyed accidentally. Copying a whole textbook is not an easy task, and if the original was destroyed, then the reader would have to buy the same book again. The e-book, however, will retain its beautiful looks and never have bent pages, because the electronic format is not composed of paper. The digital data feature of the e-book is a great addition for someone who wants to make a library of e-books. However, e-books must be stored somewhere to create a digital library.

The ability to store multiple e-books onto a storage medium is something that can not be done with regular books. Some people have created a “digital library”, a repository of e-books on a storage medium in an organized fashion. These storage mediums often have sections of the library labeled according to each user’s own preference. The greatest feature of a digital library is the amount of space saved around a house or actual library. Students could their own library with all of their college books through their college career on a compact disc. With the ability to transport a digital book, a college student could load the e-book to a campus computer and begin reading. Instead of bringing all of the textbooks that a student would normally stuff in his or her book bag, he or she could have everything stored on a device, which is approximately the size of an index finger, called a jump-drive. If a student wanted to lend books to another student, he or she could easily do so. For e-books with a copyright, this means giving the e-book data to an individual; however, the e-book data would be the original data and not a copy or alteration. The same transferring of ownership can be done with books; however, books may not be returned to the original owner in the condition they were once in.

E-books offer many advantages over books from the past and in today’s market. A reader can easily read and listen to the e-book. Books continue to give an advantage to the person that constantly travels and has no access to electronics that require a power supply. However, the e-books do offer more advantages for the regular bibliomaniac, scholar, or disabled person. Sadly, many books have not been turned into e-books. Publishers must allow a book for conversion to electronic format; this is because of legal reasons. Many of the great books people want in e-book format are not available. Several of the types of books wanted are books that college students use; college students often get their books stolen, and the option to have an e-book enables a college student to have a backup. Some reasons publishers do not turn books into e-books is due to lack of public support, interest, or the recurrent theme of piracy. The future of a successful e-book market depends on the support of the public. With the information offered, one can think of a few comparative and contrasting reasons for getting his or her next book as an e-book.
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