Are people willing to trade their paper books with eBooks? One cannot deny that the process of reading has changed vastly over the last few years. Since the introduction of eBooks, many people have admired the idea of storing a book on their mobile phones, tablets and even laptops, to be accessible at anytime and anyplace.
Although one could argue that paper books will never become obsolete, there is no doubt that eBooks are the future. The first eBook to be downloaded of the internet was a copy of the US Declaration of Independence that a student, Michael Hart, picked up at a grocery store in 1971. Since then, people have been digitalizing all kinds of books; school books, stories, novels and so on.
The convenience of not having to go to a book store in order to buy a book grabbed the attention of many readers. Therefore many readers shifted to digital devices, causing a drastic increase in eBook sales by 1,260 percent during 2008 and 2010.
Ebooks have several advantages that printed books lack. They not only save time because they are purchased online, but also save time in searching for books that the reader needs to look for in libraries. It also saves time when searching for subjects and topics of interest. EBooks are lightweight; they solve the problem of back pain caused by carrying heavy paper books, especially for students.
Another advantage is that they provide readers with the ability of changing the text style, size and colour according to their personal preferences. Additionally, they provide text, photos, sound and videos, while paper books are limited to fixed text and photos. EBooks give the readers the advantage of highlighting, writing and saving comments that might be useful for later, and the ability to erase these comments when no longer needed, whereas in paper books, highlighting cannot be erased.
EBooks give readers the benefit of finding books that might not be available in nearby stores, or not even in the same country. Moreover, eBooks are usually available for lower prices than paper books, therefore eBooks not only save time in purchasing them but they also save money. EBooks save space, as they require minimal storage space, this is essential especially when one has limited storage areas.
EBooks on digital devices with additional software enables readers to listen to the recorded versions of the book. This is very useful to people with visual impairment, it gives them the ability to listen to the book instead of reading it, and allows normal people to do other activities while it’s being read. This is a major characteristic that is not present in printed books.
EBooks have some disadvantages; as they require that the reader has a device, to enable reading yet electronic devices are becoming a commodity humans cannot live without. Another disadvantage; reading a book using an internet device may cause distraction, as the reader might lose focus because of a notification that would pop up on the screen, this is easily remedied as these notifications could be stopped using certain commands. EBooks could also cause eye strains especially when readers spend a lot of time staring at bright screens, but eye strain can be prevented by the use of filters that are attached to the screen or by dimming of screens themselves. One major disadvantage is that paper books give readers an experience that can only occur while reading them, this issue however cannot be overcome by eBooks.
Even though eBooks have a few disadvantages, but they do not outweigh the advantages. We are living in a world where technology is taking part in every aspect of life. Technology and science discoveries mandate continuous change in school curricula, and books, thus leading to continuous printing of books.
This can be resolved if schools and teachers shift their bulk of paper books to eBooks. Adopting eBooks would not only make this process faster but it also prevents the chopping down of trees that will be used for paper books. A study done in 2011, states that each year, almost 4 billion trees are cut down worldwide for paper. Switching to eBooks would decrease that number and help save the environment.
EBooks should be given a greater consideration, as they are very practical and solve many issues faced by readers today. Increased awareness on the importance and features of eBooks should be implemented as people might not be aware of the benefits and advantages of them.