Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
In the distant past humankind innovated different printing tools ranging from stones, glass, animal skin and bones to ceramics. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and you see how this documentation tool has branched out on the back of cutting-edge innovations, and the evolution goes on end. My built-in book shelf is bursting with titles which are just shy of 10,000 pages. I lie on my bed hoping to read all of them at some point in the days to come. Full of lively characters, the feeling of their ownership is just amazing, and the scent of the dust covering the binding pushes me into nostalgia. The hand and eye coordination which printed books offer cannot be experienced by just staring into an electronic screen.
Sometimes I think wouldn’t it be easier to manage my book collection if I just downloaded them all on my Kindle or iPhone? Almost all from the shelf are available in the digital format, and they will be a lot easier to store, find and read. In fact I won’t have to leave my bed when I have to read, and just imagine the space going electronic would free up. Still, there is something serene about reaching out to the shelf, selecting the title and slowly pulling it out. However, the writing on the wall is that electronic printing is gradually inching up the stage as the most eligible challenger to book printing.
Book printing got a shock back in 2011 when eBooks topped print sales. Data collected by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) revealed that eBook sales totaled $90.3 million in February which made it No. 1 among all categories of publishing in February 2011. The trend continued into 2012. Most of the authors and publishers were taken by a shocking surprise but retained the belief that book printing would fight back. And it did. In 2017, US book publishing industry bagged $26.23 bn from 2.72 units, Association of American Publishers (AAP) reported. AAP further said that publisher sales to online retail channels were $7.5 bn, out of which 43.2 percent were print formats while 27 percent were eBooks. Even in this digital age, for lots of readers nothing can come close to the touch of a printed book. They have something special.
I have a friend who read eBooks and then purchase their hard copy to adorn his book shelves. Sounds insane! That’s what it is. The idea of a personalized library has never faded in this digital age. Why do people prefer books? Because you just cannot collect and build a personalized library with eBooks.
Haters will say that eBooks have more elegant designs. That’s true. In fact, digital graphic designing is flying at a super advanced level. Graphics on a screen look wonderful but the fading colors of a book cover have a beauty which leaves a satisfying effect on your brain and soul. Every time you enter your bedroom or study, a book cover has an uncanny tendency to catching and diverting your attention from the unending stream of thoughts you are absorbed in. Place them on a shelf in your drawing room and they make an aesthetic piece of art. Can you put your eBook cover on display in the drawing room?
The books you read and add to your shelves become an active part of your personality because you not only read them but also see them every day. They get stuck in your brain. I have a friend who keeps a versatile collection of books with titles spanning from classical and modern fiction to non-fiction like business and lifestyle. Whenever I see him for dinner, a sizable portion of our time consumes on discussing either a character or a business idea from his collection. He just cannot resist it. Are E-books vying for a legitimate space?
EBooks have unequivocally revolutionized reading. My shelf can only carry a fifty pieces, and if I need to make room for more, I will have to install more shelves or perhaps vacate an entire room. That’s not the case with eBooks. I carry hundreds of them on my Kindle and iPhone, and read a page or two on the go. I have accepted the fact that electronic media is here to stay. It has obsessed me so much that I write my essays online and do all my research on the screen. Unlike a paper book, I can turn the page of an eBook with a flick of a finger. Highlighting a text and putting notes were never easier. It is on the back of these innovations that eBooks have succeeded in carving out space for their perpetual growth. Let’s take a look at the rundown of the options you can have for reading eBooks.
Ease of use is another aspect which compels me to think whether eBooks will completely replace printed books and e-stores, brick and mortar stores in the near future. All you need is take out your Kindle or iPhone, browse through folders, click the book you were reading the night before, and dive in it. It efficiently remembers the page where you left reading. Besides you can bookmark the page when you need a break. To add more spice to your experience, you have multiple storage options like:
Amazon began rolling out the Kindle in 2007 which abruptly changed readers’ attitude toward eBooks. The e-ink technology in Kindle devices was dubbed as comfortable for the eyes which drove the issue of eye-strain out of the question. This latest innovation added fuel to eBook’s dying fire, and it rose like a phoenix out of the ashes. Over time the spike in its popularity steadied but it didn’t lose steam. One important factor which will definitely come into play in future is affordability. People, who struggle with finances, will inevitably switch to screens.
The surge in the popularity of eBooks is not news anymore but where is this trend heading is also unknown. Is the fate sealed for printed books? Are they destined to join the ranks of animal bones, clay tablets, scrolls, typewritten pages and stones to be put on display in collectors’ glass cases? Up till now latest surveys show that people are not going to give up printed books easily. Each time we proclaim their demise, they roar back to life. Presently, both printed books and eBooks move in a neck-on-neck competition. Both are cherished by their die-hard supporters. So how is this face-off going to end? One of my college fellows is an environment protection enthusiast. She loves electronic printing because she hates cutting trees to produce paper books. For her, Kindle is the perfect fit if only she follows standards in disposing of its battery. In addition to this, she is a flight attendant and it is not possible for her to carry bagfuls of books to each city she travels. Therefore, she might have logically preferred eBooks even if she had no soft corner for the trees. Just imagine if she were a librarian in a college, would she still hate paper books?
While I am excited to envision a world where there are more screens and less paper, its effect on health is also of great concern for parents like me. Though these impacts are not yet chiseled into stone, one of the most hyped is that electronic reading is distracting for the brain. Scanning a screen is easier than a book, which is excellent for gathering useful information in one go but not for building deep reading skills and forming in-depth analytical opinions. However, this is not the final verdict. Electronic printing is in its infancy, and it is likely that more research will bust these myths. Love for the print might have swooned for a while but has not died. Print books are not only surviving but thriving in this vibrant digital age. E-books and printed books can have a bright future together until electronic printing finds a mind-boggling way to outsmart its competitor, which appears too ambitious at the moment.