12.08.2010

Hardcovers vs. e-Books. Round One . . . Fight!

People say a lot of things to me.  "Justin, I love your blog; your use of semicolons really speaks to my heart"; "Justin, you're ravishingly good-looking.  Will your sideburns be available for auction anytime soon?"; "Justin, could you change the cat's litter box?"

But, one thing that really stole my attention was the subject of the e-book.  The e-book!  Is it the future?  Will they replace the hardback? How will book-burning be affected?

An e-book has its advantages and disadvantages, as does everything in life. C'est la vie.  Yet, it is my firm belief that the book will never die.  Like the hydra of old, hard copies will continue to survive, even if buried under a two-ton boulder.
Like this, only different.

Admittedly, there are advantages to having digital tomes: having a number of them on one device is very convenient. (Digital Tomes was the name of my band in high school, by the way. I'm still not sure why our music didn't take off.) If you or your child is allergic to mold, you won't die. You look trendy.

E-books are relatively simple to acquire. In fact, a short download will land you a copy of Robinson Crusoe (although I haven't the foggiest why you're reading that book). Also, e-books are cheap, usually cheaper than most hardbacks on the market. In fact, many sites have occasional deals where you can get e-books for free. And there's nothing cheaper than free.

On the flip side, e-book readers like the Kindle and the iPad have battery lives. Staring at a screen can get tedious—and painful—after a while. And, if your reader breaks, well . . . that rots. I would be loath to give one to a child.
"Hey, do you want to know something funny?  My dentist's name is James Macaw."

But I think the most important reason that books will continue to thrive is not any debilitating traits of e-books (which can be described as nominal), but rather the essence of hardcovers themselves.  I'm talking about the look and feel of a book.  A book has personality—it has depth; novelty; flavor. That singular feeling, the soft sensation of the paper as you turn the page, is not something that can be synthesized. The smell of paper, ink, and time cannot be contrived by any other means.

Then again, maybe it can.

Thanks for reading.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Ebooks-Versus-Paper-Books-The-Pros-and-Cons