E-readers, tablets and paperbacks, Oh My!

We are all aware of the continuing advance of technological instruments that we use everyday. Who would have thought that a simple paper book would also be advancing into the modern world? When it comes to finding a way to make books more convenient, it boils down to making them digital.

These e-readers are tablet devices dedicated to displaying books and newspapers digitally. Today, there are at least a dozen models on the market.  They have Internet connectivity functions, lighting and touch abilities, but their main purpose is to store and display the books we are interested in reading. Many people question whether the interest in e-readers will make real books obsolete and while I’m not too worried about that happening, I do wonder if people are going to continue to merge into such a digital age that it might become necessary to own all of your reading material on a tablet device.

Will study groups consist of people coming together bringing their e-readers to save and quote passages? Will a professor ask you to “swipe” to a page number and save a photo of that page to the e-reader library? Will students save on the cost of textbooks and invest in an e-reader for all their class materials? This could be a possibility in the future. Devices like the Amazon Kindle, Nook and the Sony Reader are very much like laptop computers, but even more portable. Most cost between $140-$500, the average cost of a semester of textbooks.

There’s no doubt that e-readers are handy. Each one can store thousands of books and you can take those thousands anywhere you are headed to but when it comes to leisurely reading, I’ve always preferred real books. Yes, my paperback novel doesn’t have WiFi capabilities but I can easily highlight and bookmark pages when I need to. I can take any book I need in my backpack and read it on some downtime, I love being able to turn crisp pages and go back and forth without having to swipe or clean a glass screen. I like lending my books and stocking my collection on my bookshelf. Only time can tell where the future of e-readers will take us, whether convenience triumphs tradition or where both can thrive in usage together.

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