Alan Jacobs

E-book or Paper Book?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Good morning!

Today we're going to tackle a popular rising trend — e-books.  Kindles.  iPads.  The whole package.  And as we discuss this transition from traditional reading to "books of the future" I'm going to ask you to decide for yourself:

Are e-books more efficient than paper books?

Will paper books ever go out of print permanently?

Look at the world around us.  Everything is at out finger tips.  We have movies on demand, fast-food, microwaves, texting, cellphones to talk to anyone whenever we want and wherever we want, internet to access information right when we need it, e-mail to save us the hassle of writing letters...let’s face it.  We live in a world of immediate gratification.

And because of that, people often decide they don't want to take the time to read a book anymore.  They'll just wait for the movie.  Or, if they do decide to read, they often opt for the e-book because it at least feels like media, which seems to have become a serious addiction for my generation.

Alan Jacobs, author of Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, says: "In short, once you start reading a book on the Kindle—and this is equally true of the other e-readers I've tried—the technology generates an inertia that makes it significantly easier to keep reading than to do anything else.  E-readers, unlike many other artifacts of the digital age, promote linearity—they create a forward momentum that you can reverse if you wish, but not without some effort....I found my ability to concentrate, and concentrate for long periods of time, restored almost instantly."

Clearly, Jacobs does not see technology as the nemesis of quality literature.

And I'm not sure I do, either.  Without a doubt, I still prefer a hard book — there's something magical about turning each page and feeling the paper in my hands.

But what do you think?  Are e-books the future?  Will printed books be a thing of the past?


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