Paper books are still better than e-books

Shanel Royal

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Modern technology has resulted in the creation of e-readers, which can keep library shelves full and allow readers access to any book – e-books – in seconds.

While e-books are convenient, many people still prefer traditional books. According to a 2012 Pew Internet Research Center study, 67 percent of Americans prefer physical books over e-books. Physical books provide a better reading experience with touch, emotional connections and durability.

“It’s physically there. With an e-book you can scroll down and accidently delete it. It’s not physically there, so you can’t really relate to it as much as a physical copy. (A traditional book) takes up actual space,” said junior geography major Alex Troiano.

The best thing about traditional books is they do not come with issues that may prevent someone from reading them. A traditional book does not need to be plugged in or charged in order for it to work.

Going on the road with an e-reader can require a nearby outlet. With an actual book, there are no worries of whether the battery will last for the rest of the day or if a charger is on hand. It’s a bummer when you’re reading a book for leisure and, upon getting to a suspenseful part, the device freezes or – even worse – dies.

“I bought books on my e-reader for classes and stuff which is nice, but I brought it to school and it died in the middle of class,” said junior liberal studies major Emma Perotti. “I was like ‘Well now I can’t follow along. If I had an actual book it would be a lot easier.’ So I think that is one of the reasons I don’t like using (e-readers) anymore.”

Reading a physical book can make the reader feel connected to the characters or author. A book can reveal how much a person enjoyed it by its condition. A dusty book can suggest someone hasn’t picked it up lately while a worn cover shows the owner handled it a lot.

A book with a watermarked cup ring shows its past use as a coaster and folded corner pages represent where reading segments started and ended. Also, owning a traditional book allows the reader to add his or her own personal touches by highlighting and underlining words. The reader can also makes notes in the margins to look back on for reference.

“There’s something special about (buying used books) similar to how people buy antique furniture. You buy it because it has that history and you can see who has handled it – what people have underlined themselves and what made it special for them,” said junior English major Kayla Christensen.

Physical books are more durable than e-books mostly because e-books are not tangible. E-books require a platform which can be fragile. If a traditional book is dropped, chances are it only ends up a little dirty. An e-reader, on the other hand, can break or suffer from a cracked screen if dropped.

Also, if an electronic device falls in a pool, data might be wiped and someone could lose his or her entire library. If an actual book lands in a pool, it only gets wet. Once the book dries, it’s still usable.

“A traditional book can get beaten up and it just adds to the emotional value of it,” Troiano said.

Physical books do not have any legal restrictions when it comes to using them. According to Amazon’s website, there are certain rules regarding lending out e-books. The publisher chooses which titles to make eligible for lending and the books may only be loaned once for a period of 14 days.

With paper books, on the other hand, there are no limits when it comes to giving someone a traditional book. As the owner, a person can loan it out for however long he or she likes or sell it to his or her friends. People do not need to deal with technology or contracts before letting a friend borrow a physical book. A person can just hand the book over and that’s it.

The restrictions and electronic issues that come with e-books can ruin a reading experience. Physical books do not have regulations, so people can enjoy them whenever and however they like. The easier the reading process, the more enjoyable a book is.

“The only problem I can see with traditional books is the weight. The fact that you have to carry (them); it can be heavy,” Christensen said. “Other than that I would say traditional books are the way to go.”