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Print vs. eBooks

“Ah! How beautiful the cryptic glyphs on this inconveniently large stone tablet are! Record keeping through symbol on stone is truly a lost art! It’s a shame that this generation’s youth will never experience deciphering obscure cuneiforms on a gargantuan rock! Reading from paper, though entirely more convenient and efficient, simply doesn’t provoke the same nostalgia that stone tablets do! Paper just doesn’t have the same… feeling. It’s not the same!”

Much like paper has drastically changed the way humans read, e-readers are on the rise. Nearly every time someone argues that print is far superior to e-readers or e-books, I imagine the previous scene. No, technology isn’t that bad or scary, I promise! Let me explain why.

In case you’re under a rock concerning this topic (namely, a large one with cryptic writing), I’ll fill you in: it’s been hotly debated for years whether or not the end of print is in sight. It is believed, due to the recent increase in use of and dependency on technology in our society that e-readers will soon be the norm and that hard cover copies of our favorite stories won’t be available any longer. Whether or not this is true, e-readers have taken quite the bashing.

Here’s the thing: whether you’re reading from a newspaper or an online version, the content is exactly the same. The quality of and meaning behind the words do not change depending on the medium in which they are presented. E-readers do not affect the content of any reading, so the only difference standing between e-readers and books is simply personal preference.

Many nay-sayers of e-readers try to claim that reading from a screen just isn’t “the same.” I’ll admit that the aroma of an old book is one I recall fondly, but when immersing oneself in the story of a fantastic faraway land, does it matter where the words are coming from? Does the scent of the book really affect the completely unrelated story it’s telling? One would think not.

For some, the root of the problem comes down to the technology. It’s scary to transition to a seemingly paperless world when print just recently seemed so relevant. All this newfangled media for words has its benefits, however. Any avid reader will likely complain of lugging around several books at a time. With an e-reader, one can access thousands of books and resources on one portable screen. Most e-readers offer the ability to leave notes, highlight, and bookmark parts of the text, making note taking as easy as ever.

Now, I’m not trying to say that e-readers are ultimately better than print– they both have their benefits. I’m merely trying to convey that e-readers are a valid way to read, and that they are on the rise, whether we like it or not. Instead of sticking to petty ideals that print is exponentially better for its nostalgia factor, we should embrace the technology available to us. We are of a digital age.

That being said, print is not dead. This very article stands as a testament to the fact that print is alive and well right now. Read however you like and do it often; reading, no matter the medium, will survive the test of time and flourish, even in our digital age.