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Books Defending a Territory

There is no greater feeling than walking into a Chapters bookstore and upon entrance being graced with the image of towering shelves full of brand new books. The journey through the aisles brings on many great adventures. Whether it is following Holden Caulfield throughout New York in the fiction section, deciding between Team Edward and Team Jacob in the romance section, or learning the art of cooking in the “How-to” section, there are countless genres to choose from. After browsing among the many selections of literature, a single interesting book catches the eye. The plot sounds interesting, the main character seems relatable, and the front cover is visually appealing. It is then picked up and carried around while checking out the rest of the genres. The enjoyment felt while searching for a book is not the same while looking for an e-book online with a Kindle. The dispute between printed books and e-readers has been going on for quite a while; the justification of which is safer for the environment is constantly being argued. However, printed books have a greater advantage for readers when compared to “environmentally friendly” e-readers.
The debate on which object is more useful can sometimes come down to what looks or even feels better through people’s experience. The e-reader is a recent technology that allows people to purchase and download e-books online to read at their leisure. I would prefer reading from a physically bound book than from a piece of metal and plastic. Printed books have a better feel to them, the smoothness of the paper, as well as easier to get from page to page. The appearance of a book can be very appealing to the eye; colorful front covers and impressive script can give a book its own personality. An e-reader just gives off a plain boring black and white font along with feeling very cold and hard. Sarah Shaukat, a Software Engineer, states in her article about e-books vs. printed books that, “With e-book you can't feel the experience of placing the book on your shelf or dosing off with it on your bed.” Every person has a story behind a book they have read. The book could even be handed down from previous generations and have great value to the owner. The encounters people have with printed books are more meaningful than with e-readers.
Along with appearance, the cost of the product and manufacturing materials are in the printed books favor. Daniel Goleman, a former New York Times journalist, states, “One e-reader requires the extraction of 33 pounds of minerals. That includes trace amounts of exotic metals like columbite-tantalite, often mined in war-torn regions of Africa. …An e-reader also requires 79 gallons of water to produce its batteries and printed wiring boards, and in refining metals like the gold used in trace quantities in the circuits.” That does not seem very environmentally friendly to me, considering a printed book only needs two-thirds of a pound of minerals and two gallons of water to be produced. Books can also be printed on recycled paper and use soy-based inks which eliminate petroleum-based ones (Goleman). As for the prices, an e-reader averages around three hundred dollars not including the further purchase of e-books which cost around ten dollars per book (Stein). A brand new book can average around twenty dollars but there are so many alternatives that can save money: second-hand book stores, garage sales, libraries, or friends. I get the books I read from these different places on a regular basis. When it comes to the production of books and e-readers, printed books are much cheaper and healthier for our earth.
As a person who uses technology daily, I have encountered my fair share of problems. E-readers run on batteries just like an I-pod, so it needs to be charged regularly. In the Amazon Kindle support handbook online it states, “When using the Kindle micro-USB cable to charge your Kindle via your computer, charging time will normally take 4 to 6 hours” (Travelling with your Kindle). No reader would want to wait this long to get back to the book they were reading especially if they were enjoying it. Imagine somebody is camping in the middle of nowhere and he or she is at the climax of a very interesting story. All of a sudden the words start to fade away and the screen turns black. I am almost certain that attempting to plug that e-reader into any of the trees around will not be successful. Would somebody be willing to take it hiking? Into the bath? There are some places that this gadget should just not enter. Another problem that users run into is when the device breaks. I do not think it would be of any use if it was to drop and the screen was to crack (E-readers vs. Books). Maybe it is early in the morning and a cup of fresh brewed coffee was accidentally spilt all over (Coeus). A book might get stained but it is still readable, unfortunately for the e-readers case, unless computer chips have gone waterproof overnight, it is now a useless piece of junk. Printed books last longer and can withstand the forces of gravity and water better than an e-reader can.
When obtaining e-books to read on a portable electronic book reader, a person must be able to connect to the internet. Whether through Wi-Fi or using USB cables to connect to a personal computer, the internet is an essential part of the e-reader (E-Book Reader Comparison). This device depends on the internet to download the e-books, if a connection is not made than it is ineffective to anyone who uses it. When it comes to books, they are always ready to be opened and read, no need to wait for a connection to be made or for a page to load.
The overpowering strength of technology has taken our world by storm but that paper stack of knowledge called a book has a strong defense that does not seem to be breaking down anytime soon. I have accepted that competition is a big part of our world today, but something as magnificent a book, an object that has brought knowledge, history, and even hope to all of human kind, should not be taken out of its glory by a piece of technology that is just trying to make money. Books bring joy to children, an escape for teenagers, a shelf of pride for adults, and a sense of history for elders (E-Readers vs., Books). Are readers going to just stand by or can we join the battle and help our beloved books take the win over technology?





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