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Archive for December, 2012

With 2013 around the corner, will you be converting to an eReader or sticking with a traditional book?

Imagine sitting on a beach miles away from home reading the book you had bought months back but had forgotten about. As you laugh your way through each page, you look over at your partner and they are downloading a copy of the book to join in on the humour. With a new book available to download in minutes, is the future of books looking electronic?

There are many different views both for and against the development of online books, but sales seem to be speaking for themselves. Amazon has reported that sales of eBooks have thrashed those of paperbacks and hardbacks combined. So, with the sales of books decreasing does this mean the ‘old-fashioned’ novel will eventually become extinct?

Technology enthusiast, Michael Smith, 30, loves the new developments: “I prefer eBooks to physical books because it seems more interactive – you can highlight extracts without making any permanent changes. I am limited for storage space at home so it’s good that I can store an entire library of books on one device and have them with me all the time.”

Charlotte Muir, 21, also agrees that eBooks are the way forward: “They’re convenient, accessible and easy to use – anyone and everyone can use one. I prefer it to a book because it seems less of a challenge. When you have it in book form you can physically see how long it is and how much more you have to read. They are lightweight too, which is ideal for travelling, but it will never be to everyone’s taste.”

While the eBook is convenient space-wise as you can pack it away in a small space or tuck it under your arm when dashing for the tube, can having the physical can ever be beaten when scouring the shelves of a library or book shop? ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a saying that people rarely pay attention to when exploring the shelves. Without the excitement of holding a brand new book and finding the perfect story call out to you from the shelves, is half the excitement of buying a new book is gone?

Natasha Wimberley, 18, is against the rise in popularity of eBooks: “I like having the words in a book, everything today is so modern and on a screen. The Historian in me loves having the words in its original form, and with emotional books you quite often find tears in them. I love the way an old book looks and smells”

Stories are an adventure where the reader can feel personally involved in a different world with the turn of a page. Reading the words off a screen and not having the thrill of the paper flicking through your fingers as the story becomes more enticing can be seen as injustice to the author.

The Kindle is environmentally friendly as it doesn’t use hundreds of pages of paper and eBooks can be merely deleted when unwanted and finished with. However, physical books don’t pose the risk of running out of battery when the story gets gripping.

Chiara Stone who works at the bookshop Hoobynoo World says the shop has seen a change in sales: “Sales have definitely changed! There has been a distinct downturn in book sales. So much so that Waterstones will now be selling Kindles. Children’s books aren’t affected because they don’t really own them. “

While there are inevitably many different arguments for and against eBooks, everybody has different preferences. Book sales are unavoidably going to keep dropping, but it’s unlikely that the tradition of a regular paper book is going to be discarded in a hurry either. The biggest question this coming year will be: convenience or tradition?

 

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