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Again, eReader vs Paper

Although I have an eReader for travel, I still prefer paper almost all the time. While many believe that paper-based books are heading to extinction, NPR thinks books have many futures. I say non-fiction and news, information that is readily revealed, is best formatted electronically. A good story, which is meant to be savored, is best to be slowly revealed through the act of turning pages.

The Question of e-Books

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Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?

I think ebook revolutionizes reading in terms of convenience like iPod replaces the need to bring a bunch of CDs when traveling. I recognize the appeal of being able to travel without carrying a pile of books with me. I turned to and relied on electronic journals when I conducted research for my dissertation. Some academic journals cease to exist in paper form but are available in pdf files through electronic library. It makes sense because it’s inconvenient to schlep around a heavy Buckram bound journal. As to books, electronic and paper form could co-exist because both have limitations and can complement one another. Not all titles are available on electronic readers, other than the recent bestsellers and the most popular classics. Being a reader with an eclectic taste, I prefer to stick with paper, and not to mention the personal affair with ink and paper that appeals to me at the very beginning of my reading life. E-readers might be the appropriate choice for me to skim newspaper and magazine articles and readings that are more on-the-go and ephemeral.

The thought of converting my endearing book collection to files under the tip of my finger in an electronic gadget is appalling. I do not have the same attention span roving my eyes at the LCD screen or computer monitor as I can read a book. The plethora of notes that I scribble along reading makes a hard copy more appealing. Turning of a dial on the gadget or scrolling down the page can never replace the thumbing and riffling back and forth of a book. I love the tactile experience of having a book in my hand, I enjoy the smell of the pages. A gadget is just not bookish! Not to mention the personal interactions with staff at the indies. But the detrimental, underlying effect of e-readers is that they will catalyze the demise of local independent bookstores as readers turn to e-vendors to purchase e-books. In the long run, it would be business as usual as publishers charge a downloading fee but business is being taken away from indies.