In this techno-driven era, where more and more technologies are developing as time passes by, and with the increasing no. of avid readers in the world, technology has shown its effect on the way one reads and eBooks have made their way into our Indian culture.
Conventionally, paper books had been the only option for reading. With the latest developments in technology, use of these paper books has decreased with digitalization. One such is an eBook. EBook is an electronic book, consisting of text, images etc., that is downloadable and readable on a pc, laptop, tablets, phones and etc. and are intended to be read on e-readers. An eBook uses e-reader that is an eBook reader as the reading device. Different e-readers use different formats. There are many formats available such as adobe, pdf, word, html etc. chosen according to the devices’ compatibility. More and more devices, such as kindle, solely for the purpose of e-reading are also introduced and their use is famous not only amongst the youth but people of all ages have shown interest in them. One can download a no. of books of any possible subject, fiction or non-fiction from various eBook stores. These can be references to various books, novels, study books, guides and etc. These eBooks, that are a highlight these days, have many advantages and disadvantages associated with them.
These days it has become too easy to download files from eBooks store in smartphone, IPad, pc, tablets, laptops etc. that include almost all the features such as table of contents, bookmarks, notes making etc. that a normal paper book may or may not have. It has in one way eased the things up. Certain eBooks include the additional feature of translating the book into a no. of different languages and hear it as audios. This audio feature is of great advantage to people having vision problems. EBooks are searchable and one can search anything such as word meanings, synonyms, antonyms etc. at any instant without having to take out another book for that purpose as is the case with paper books. Bookmarking an eBook is much easier than bookmarking a paper book. Even if one forgets to bookmark it, you can search the word or a phrase in the content and hence go back to where you left, which is not the case with paper books. EBooks are portable and now one doesn’t need to carry a bundle of books, they need, everywhere they go. They can carry hundreds of books in their gadgets, limited only by the devices’ memory capacity, without worrying about their weight and read them anywhere they go, like a bus or even a plane while travelling without any difficulty. When one carries a number of books with them, there is also a fear of losing one or two, which is not the case with an eBook. One can even resize the fonts of the content according to their convenience. EBooks take up very less space and hence are compact as compared to the number of paper books that fill up almost the entire storage space. These eBooks are advantageous not only because of their “easy to carry” or “compact” nature but also because they are eco-friendly and hence do not have any adverse effects on our environment. Cheap as compared to their printed versions, these eBooks, not having any shipping or handling charges, have caught the eyes of many. One can even download books for free on the eBook stores with internet. These features along with many others have increased the no. of person across the worlds that have switched from a normal paper book to eBooks.
Even though having being of so much use, it also has a number of disadvantages associated with it. Sharing of eBooks with others is almost as copying and pasting a particular file without having to purchase it. Thus piracy is a major concern related to eBooks. These eBooks are accessed on various gadgets and hence have a screen associated with them. Reading on a screen affects your mental and physical health. It can lead to fatigue, anxiety etc. Reading in dark on your mobile phones, iPad, laptops tablets or any other device can strain your eyes. It can also lead to sleep depravity. Digitalization of text means that it has associated itself with a lot of breaks, disturbances etc. that affect the flow of reading. Receiving messages and notifications between readings may lead to break in the flow. Also various surveys have shown that readers who use eBook are less competent in recalling the contents as compared to the ones who use paper books. There are many technical disadvantages related to the eBooks as well. One such disadvantage is the fact that not all programs are compatible with all the devices and not all devices have proper formatting options. Hence one must be careful while choosing a program or even a device. EBook readers use internet to download and shop for eBooks and hence our device can be hacked by various hackers. Also the fact that these eBooks are handled electronically and absolutely no paper is involved, leads to another problem of short battery life of the device. Long hours of use of the device can lead to loads of power consumption and hence once its battery is finished, the device will switch off and one cannot access the book at that time. As new technologies are emerging, some software’s that run a user’s eBook reader can become outdated. So when upgrading, user can lose their saved books. These arguments bring us back to the question that which sort of reading is better. Electronic or paper? Many people still prefer holding a traditional book in their hands and enjoying the fragrance lying among the papers of these books. Well do you? Or are you the techno-savy person moving forward with technology and hence have accepted these eBooks as a replacement to the conventional paper book ?
-by Simran Mehta