Tony G’s Spot: eBooks vs. real books

Thomas Reilly

Tony Goreczny, Opinion Editor

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I love to read.  Newspapers, Magazines, online blogs; if it’s well written, I can read just about anything; as long as it doesn’t bore me to death.  My favorite things to read however are novels.  I personally prefer sci-fi novels, and authors such as Tom Clancy.  I also enjoy classics such as Asimov, and more modern books like the “Harry Potter” series.  What I do not enjoy is that paper books are being phased out and replaced by portable readers such as Kindle and Nook.

I love technology, but I don’t believe we should try to fix something that isn’t broken.  E-Readers and similar devices are very useful in today’s multitasking society.  Instead of carrying two textbooks, a calculator, a magazine and maybe a novel, just carry one slim electronic device that can take care of all of them at the same time.  For many people this device is the next logical stop to bringing some semblance of order to their extraordinarily hectic lives.

Keep the Kindle, but bring a book.  On average, most novels are about the size of a small weekly planner (which you no longer need if you are using some of the higher end eReaders) and just a little thicker.  The book requires very little space, and with the massive bags that some college students carry around, the addition of a single novel would barely be noticed.

Books are also much more durable than eReaders.  There are a few books that I own which I have spilled coffee on, something I don’t think a Kindle would take kindly to.  Also, besides my textbooks, all I usually have in my bag are binders and notebooks so I can throw my bag onto my bed without worry.  Were I to have an electronic reader in my bag, I would be unable to throw it on the bed.

I also very much enjoy the feel of a book in my hands.  Hard-cover, soft-cover, it doesn’t matter.  I like them both.  A good book has very good character.  One of the novels I am currently reading is “Second Foundation,” written by Isaac Asimov.  It is one of my dad’s old books and is a reprint from 1991.  Some of the edges of pages are bent and they are slightly yellowed around the edges.  It is of course in still in perfectly readable condition.

There is also just something about a brand new book the first time I read it.  I enjoy the crisp pages, and noticing the little imperfections of the print.  There is also an excitement I get when I read a new print book that just isn’t there when I read a new book on an eReader.  Something about the rigidity of the spine on a brand new book seems to give it the illusion of life.

Many major texts are available in eBook form only as a rental and not for purchase.  This means that if a person would like to read the book again after the rental ran out, he or she would have to purchase it again.  I am not saying do not get an electric reader, if it will help you organize your life, by all means, its’ your money.

With websites like Amazon.com is it very easy to buy new, or slightly used books and have them delivered in two days or less.  Even though the eReaders can obtain a book instantly I often order a new book before I finish my current one.  Advances in technology allow things to be shipped across and entire country in a single day to fulfill an order placed from someones living room.

I love technology, and l love books.  But there is an unfortunate rift forming and people are taking sides.  When J.K. Rowling signed a deal to make the “Harry Potter” series available only through download, and to cease printing the books after a certain date, people were shocked.  I don’t want to see books erased from history, there is no reason why they can’t exist in both forms.

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