Friday, December 4, 2009

Post 39: The Ebook Experience

Having recently purchased an Amazon Kindle (and loving it might I add) I found a very interesting article about "ebooks" in general and how they could change the future of literacy. The link to the article is below with my response to it after.

This is a very interesting article since it is something that I have been thinking about for a long time with my own personal interest. I have been debating for a long time whether or not to pick up my own copy of an Amazon Kindle due to the extremely attractive ideas of owning an Ebook machine. There is something luring about owning a machine that can let me store many books onto it, the portability, adjustable easy-to-read fonts, built in dictionary for words that are not understood for instantaneous understanding, the durability of the “book” never having to face breaking bindings or folding pages, they have wi-fi support, automatically download popular daily newspapers, it is back lit, and can read to me in an auditable voice what the book says if I am driving or otherwise distracted from physically holding the device. All of these things are only going to vastly improve as time goes on but this calls into question, What about paperback books?
Sam Kleinman, the writer for this article, clearly thins that while the overwhelmingly cool features of an Ebook device are certainly alluring; they are still no match for a physical paper-made book in your hands for several reasons. As his article states books are “long from extinct”. First and foremost, a paper-made book is still the most widely and easily accessible source of information in the entire world. From libraries, to coffee shops, to book stores, no matter where you go magazines, books, and newspapers are still the traditional and easily accessible formats of reading. Secondly, no matter how technologically advanced we become, not everyone will be on the same page (if you will pardon the pun) as everyone else. With Ebooks you need to know how to transfer files, how to store them properly, and how to back them up. Not to mention know how to use the device itself. This automatically cuts a chunk of the population from easily enjoying the Ebook experience where as all they need it literacy to pick up and enjoy a good book. Another noticeable mention is that books are collector’s items. There is still a sense of pride for those who own first editions/first copies of books and they are still greatly valued. For another there is no comparison (in his eyes) for ink printed text on a page versus the digital text on a screen. He feels no matter how many improvements are made to the devices there is something that stands out better with ink and paper than on text on screen.
So where many people may fear that the Ebook may completely eliminate the paper-made reading experiences from our daily lives, there are many who feel exactly the opposite. Ebook technology is new, it’s not widely accessible, and it will take a very long time for it to establish itself as a dominant source of reading that super cedes over paper-made reading. However the future remains bright for Ebooks, as it continues to get more and more popular. It is no doubt of mine that it will become a challenge for paper-made reading in the distant future, but for now books and magazines can find comfort on their bookshelves knowing that they are still the #1 source of information and enjoyment accessible by the entire world.

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