Will Digital Books Replace Print Books?

1183 words - 5 pages

During the past few years, the publishing and reading world has been facing a veritable digital book onslaught. E-books have been outselling print books on Amazon since 2011 (Polanka, 7). While digital book sales skyrocketed, print book sales, especially those of mass marked paperbacks, diminished. Even the fact that e-books are not much cheaper than print books does not seem to interfere with the former’s popularity. It would seem that the age of print books is about to end, and quite soon.
However, iIn spite of the current pre-eminence of e-books, it may be argued that they are not likely to replace print books anytime soon or possibly at all. Both formats have their advantages and drawbacks, which makes for one of them difficult to replace the other. Moreover, they serve differents needs and purposes. E-books are famous for their portability. Hundreds of e-books can be stored on a single device. Thus e-books don’t take shelving space and are convenient to take on travel, while even a few paper books are bulky and quite heavy to carry around. Numerous e-books are in open access, while paper books are not routinely available free of charge. E-books may be acquired and accessed immediately online, a feature I enjoy especially and treasure most: many a time I was able to buy and read an e-book at home within minutes of learning of its existence. Needless to say, e-books are considerably easier to cite and quote than print books, since the copy-paste feature spares us the trouble of retyping the quoted text. Another important advantage of digital books is their specialized software, which makes reading much easier: search and reference tools, changeable font size and day/night mode, dictionaries. Last but not least, e-books conserve nature resources, since their production does not require paper and thus spares the forests.
However, in many cases the advantages of digital books are outweighed by the disadvantages. Paradoxically, the very properties of e-books that make them so convenient, also serve to make them cumbersome in use. An e-book is portable because it is a mere digital file that may be stored in a lightweight device, but at the same time such a book may be difficult to use precisely because it requires a device. Even apart from the format/device problem described above, e-readers cause trouble all the time due to a variety of technical problems. An e-reader recharges only via a double USB-cable, it freezes and is often difficult to restart. Once I went on vacation with a freshly charged Sony reader, only for it to run out of battery in a day instead of two months for no discernible reason. A book can be deleted by mistake – this happened to me more than once. An extra large e-book file may cause a device to freeze. A wrong sweep through the screen, and the book goes into the zoom mode instead of turning the page. If your device dies, you are likely to lose all the books stored in it. A reader is not good for reading professional...

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