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Are eBooks becoming the preferred choice?

Published: 5 December 2012

eBooks have been around for a while now and as they continue to evolve, better features are developed. Amazon’s Kindle is one of the most popular around. But, when comparing it to traditional books, which is the preferred choice? Taking a look at the elements of both may help us answer this question.

Are eBooks becoming the preferred choice?
By Cortney Wright

Amazon’s Kindle entered the market in 2007 and has since brought out several newer versions that include updated capabilities with more memory space. Compared to the Kindle, traditional books have been around for many more years, some dated back to the 1440’s when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.

Short fiction writer and blogger for Hub Pages Dolores Monet, writer for Salon.com Thomas McNish and co-founder of Cruciform Press, Tim Challies have all discussed some positives and negatives for both the Kindle and the traditional book. Some of which may seem pointless, but for book fanatics they are important aspects to keep in mind.

Space: One of the biggest advantages of eBooks such as the kindle is the space factor and one of which Monet addresses. For people who travel regularly it is ideal to have all their books stored on one small device rather than carrying a number of books with them. Monet points out that unlike laptops or cell phone screens, the display screen on a Kindle reduces glare and can be easily read in strong sunlight when relaxing on the beach on a summer vacation. However, the travelling factor does also have a downfall as the Kindle has to be charged and so if the battery runs out while you are relaxing on the beach, you will be forced to stop reading. Now, when in a crucial and exciting part of a book, I would imagine this can be highly frustrating.

Apps: McNish points out that with eBooks such as the Kindle come many applications that traditional books obviously don’t have. One such example is the audio books that can be downloaded and listened to on your Kindle if you are too tired or don’t feel like reading. But in the traditional books defence, have we become that lazy that we need someone else to read a book to us? And is the point of reading a book not actually to read it ourselves?

Variety: This is also a big contributor to many people choosing eBooks such as the Kindle. McNish states that the Kindle can also display magazines, newspapers, PDF files, emails and DOC files which relates to the space factor discussed earlier. So basically anything and everything you wish to read can all be found in one place. Unfortunately any freebees that came with the magazine cannot appear on the electronic version.
The environment: There is always debate about saving the environment and of course with the Kindle being used, less paper will be printed. But, on the other hand, charging each Kindle when the battery runs out also uses electricity which in turn contributes to global warming.

Tradition: One last comparison I wanted to address is the traditional factors when looking at books and eBooks. For starters, eBooks don’t have traditional factors but most people who enjoy reading on a daily basis will probably agree that reading a book brings more meaning to the actual experience than eBooks. As discussed earlier, books have been around for many years and so the meaning of reading a book is more than just indulging in a story.

“An eBook reduces books to merely words; a printed book maintains that a book is far more than words—it is an experience and an object. Books can be touched, they can be held, they can be smelled (particularly if they are old!). All of these elements combine to make a book what it is,” says Challies.

What do you think? Do you prefer eBooks to traditional books? Tell us below.

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