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Sunday, December 7, 2014

E-Books Vs Real Books. Which Ones o You Prefer?


    In today's time, many publishing houses are opting for the digital format over the printed version. The physical copy of a book has a solid feel to it and at times is visually appealing than the digital format. One can walk down a book isle, see what is on display, pick one up, flip through the pages and see if it is worth purchasing. The digital store provides the convenience of browsing through pages of books on sale where you can read the description, see if it appeals to you and the customer can order whichever book appeals to them.  

    A certain number of books as decided by the store outlet need to be maintained at all times since a customer can walk in at anytime to browse through the choices to see what catches his/her eye. The digital version is easier to sell as it can be purchased and downloaded through most electronic devices and one does not need to maintain a physical stock thereby reducing the operating costs and boosting profits as there won't be any unsold stock left if the books/magazines loses favour with the customers.
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    I have always loved the feel of a real book in my hands and it's a real pleasure taking ones times reading the contents, pausing for a bit and coming back to restart ones reading. The feel of real paper between ones finger and thumb as the page is flipped or when a finger runs down the page. Neither batteries nor a power plug required. The smell of a freshly printed book is something. Or discovering a long forgotten book/magazine, opening it gingerly so that the pages don't tear, spine doesn't break, mesmerized by the combination of rush of old memories, yellowing paper, smell and rediscovering a long forgotten yet cherished book.

    E-Readers are fine and they are appropriate when one is travelling or when is constraint for space, yet they do not have the same charm as a real book. There seems to be an infinite choice of books to read and it seems folks who have such devices will never run out of material to read. One can pack a large collection of electronic books inside a slim device and read the contents at ones leisure and at any location.

    As a young child, I remember going to the library or book store to see if something new was available either in reprint or something which I had missed earlier and was now available on the book shelf and I could and could spend hours upon hours there without getting bored as long as they had a large selection of books to browse through. I just love reading and I guess this hobby has formed the bedrock of my writing which I really enjoy quite a bit. I have noticed that kids these days at times have lost this precious habit. They want everything done quick, are always in a hurry to complete something and have no patience to pick up a book and actually read it for many long hours.

    Today's kids who are born in the digital era do not know the joys of a real book nor the joys of getting lost between the covers of an interesting book or spending time in a library. Casual reading will soon become a lost art, as folks will rely on the internet to discover facts, read books and even do the copy/paste homework submission without actually learning anything. I really dread what the future holds for these digital kids when they finally join the society on their own. A future without books and a society with no patience, imagination, reading nor writing skills. A very dull society which is intoxicated by the short term, bite sized pleasures provided by the television or computers for people who have very short term attention span.



    The older generation seems to had the best of both worlds as we grew up in an era where we had real libraries, real books and one could get lost within the covers of a book. The bygone era when one could walk into either a library, a well stocked bookstore or even a cosy second hand bookstore and 'get lost' within the covers of a book only to be brought back to the present when the owner threatens to lock you inside the store for the night if you don't go home.  Folks would not mind making excursions to these much-loved spots as their imagination flourished and satisfaction was usually guaranteed upon exit. As they discovered a long lost world, are submerged in a battle, slay dragons, raid ships and discover long lost pirates' treasure.  I really do hope the younger generation is able to disconnect itself from the dependence called the internet to rediscover the joys of taking ones time in reading a real paperback book before they totally disappear and become such a rarity that one will only find them in museums or in some long lost corner of the basement/ attic.   

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