Actually this was for a friend of mine. She had a debate at one of the mall’s Literature Fest and needed a little help though she didn’t win and this article is now being posted for everyone to read (The Wiki theory, right? 😛 ) but it’s with her due permission.
Starting on the note that the eBook culture is far more advantageous than the traditional print book culture won’t earn me any brownie points, but well, that is how I will start anyway. As many people may have or will point out eBooks present solutions to all the difficult problems of book-keeping and reading. eBooks are weightless, have no volume and are easy to read, can be read anywhere on any device and yes in those aspects eBooks are better, no doubt.
But the idea of eBooks falls and it falls on a level which can only be realized by avid readers who’ve been fond of reading for their entire lives. As to why the idea falls can be illustrated with no scientific or logical judgement rather with an aesthetic and more psychological judgement. People who read books not only read just because they want to know the story they read because of the User Experience, as technology puts it. Only that UX cannot be provided by any eBook reader.
Reading is an activity which is first of all, done in leisure time, when you decide to take a break from your routine and just have a little time for you and your book or maybe when you’re travelling for say just a little distance, reading a few chapters while you’re idle is what reading is. It’s not finishing a whole novel on your tablet and claiming to have read a whole series. In that case then, the idea of eBooks being available anywhere on any device doesn’t do much help because even if they are available on my Cloud I won’t be reading until I get the feeling, the urge only a fellow reader could understand.
Second, the weightlessness and portability, you have a bag to keep a tablet or a laptop but that bag cannot have say, two paperback novels along with a lot of stuff. I for that matter have no problem keeping the current novel I’m reading on me at all times and I hope a few, if not many will agree with me here. We’re reading a book; we’ll keep it with us. So, the portability thing to have a million books at the tap of a finger doesn’t hold much ground. Who reads a million books in their leisure time anyway?
Lastly, I would comment upon the access of eBooks. First of all, as we’re aware eBooks require a reader be it a Tablet, Phone or just an eBook reading centred Tab like the Amazon Kindle. So, I’m a reader and I have to now buy a gadget which will probably make me shell of 10,000 bucks easily. Then I have the awesome store with million books where sadly eBooks are pricier than the original Paperbacks thus, I shell out say 50 bucks more per book than I usually would. The only question remains is why? When I already have access to that content without a ‘reader’ and at a better price then why would I read on a Tablet?
Over the last, say, 5 years eBooks have killed, no annihilated the idea of books and reading which is actually sad. Book reading a habit exclusive previously is now handed on a silver platter to the masses, for good or for bad, well I will not comment upon. Thing is eBooks are just a trend while Book reading remains a discipline. I, for that matter still go to a store or a café or buy books online but those are Print Books because reading is not just reading a few words for me… it is much more which the eBook technology cannot explain. Yet.