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вторник, 10 января 2012 г.

Paper Books vs. Digital Books

We discussed in class the fate of books in an electronic age. One of my students wrote a letter addressed to modern people. Since it is not personal, feel free to read and comment on it.

From: A Book, Personal Library
To: Modern people
To be delivered personally
Hello,

I don’t know who you are reading this letter, but nevertheless, if you are reading it, I guess, my choice is right, I hope you will understand me. Let me introduce myself, I am a Book, you might say quite a common one, but it sounds a little bit offensive. No, I am quite pretty, I should say, a beautifully printed book in a luxurious jacket. My pages are well-thumbed because of being frequently read. I have a bookplate; it is a sign of my owner’s love. You see, she used to read me voraciously, in quiet winter evenings curled up in a chair. She really enjoyed it. That was a good time we had together…
But nowadays something strange happened: she doesn’t want to read me any моre.
I can’t but feel worried. She doesn’t need me any longer, does she? Have those profound and controversial ideas kept on my pages lost importance to her? Now she is engrossed in the Computer (as you call it). If she has time to spare, she spends it with the Computer, saying it is very useful and convenient.
I feel jealous. Of course, she used to read other books besides me, she could skim some magazines and newspapers, but then she would always come back to me. I was her favorite book. Is the Computer going to substitute me?
Why do you, modern people, leave books alone? You simply forgot all the brilliant knowledge you’ve learned from us. But, you see, this knowledge, these ideas that rest on our pages, they have not been destroyed by the time or by new beliefs, they are eternal and they are always alive.
I can’t but feel sorry for what happened to you, and I appeal to your mind – don’t betray us, as this betrayal may lead to irreparable consequences.
Always Yours,
Book

click on a picture for a closer view

When you come to enumerate the advantages of e-books, digital format gains an easy victory over print books. Yet, the preferences split. Which books do you choose? What determines your choice? Is there anything no e-reader can provide? Do you think paper books are doomed?    

26 комментариев:

  1. Nah, printed books are not doomed, not in the nearest future anyway. People who do love to read will always appeciate them, for those who don't it doesn't matter. Another question is accessibility - the main reason I hold a printed book in my hands (if we talk about reading for pleasure, of course) like once a year( It's not because I don't like them, it's because I can't get them. One can download the latest book of their favourite author in the original the next day it comes out (and not necessarily illegal, there are some quite legal e-book stores online). To get a printed copy take a lot of effort... and money(( 1,000 R for a paperback printed abroad - seriously?! (Lena Sh.)

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  2. I won't enumerate the advantages of e-books and traditional ones, because we've already discussed them in class a lot. But I'm sure that there will always be people who prefer e-books, those who can't imagine their life without traditional books and of course those readers who are fond of combining both. I agree that it takes qiute a lot of money to buy a printed book, but sometimes when I'm eager to buy this very book, I don't care about its price, if it is worth reading. Besides, I'm short-sighted, that's why e-books are out of the question. I want reading to give me pleasure, not to bring harm to my health. Anyway, touchable pages of a printed book are much better than a cold screen of an e-book. My choice is a traditional printed book!!! Without doubt!))

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  3. No doubt, digital books will predominate. both types will exist, but people are likely to prefer things that are more convenient.(Ann)

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  4. Yes, printed books are overpriced! But you know what? They’ve always been pricey. When I was a student, there were only 2 bookstores in Moscow where you could get foreign editions. A novel by a modern writer cost 8-10 roubles and the scholarship was 45. You should have seen those bookstores, they were overcrowded! We bought and shared and exchanged Fowles or Murdoch. I guess the cost is part of the problem; it deals with a system of values. I know what you mean, Lena, but I’d rather agree with Irene. I have to confess though, that I read both – paper books and e-reader. With equal pleasure! )))

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  5. When it comes to e-books, there's always a bunch of things that drive me crazy like touchpads that tend to bring you not to the page you want or God knows where. It's just frustrating...

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  6. But just a few days ago I got an e-reader from a hardware store... My sis wants it so badly! She hates books and I thought it might promote her reading... That's what I'm hoping for...

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  7. Can't imagine my life without printed books! I like everything about them: the smell of print, real pages... and if a book has great contents, hard cover and its font is ok, I'll get it by all means. One of my lifetime dreams is to have my own study with a big table, cosy armchair and a wall full of shelves with great books on them.
    As for e-books, I think they are almost perfect, but there is at least one disadvantage - they lack spirit.

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  8. To Kat: I know this dream – in English classics they call it library: bookshelves up to the ceiling, mahogany desk… We should have been born somewhere in Dorset or Lancashire. )) Accident of Birth! Yet, on the desk I’d love a computer and an e-reader. Wouldn’t you?

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  9. To begin with, I’d like to say, that to my mind, books will never be doomed. It does not matter how much the electronics will evolve, and how far the progress will go, books will always be in demand. The question is that, how people prefer to get the information: from paper books or electronic ones? From my point of view, e-books are very convenient. They have many advantages, for instance: in such one book we can download a great number of texts, we can take it everywhere, because they are easy and not big, they spoil the eyes no more than the paper ones, and moreover they are not difficult to use. But on the other hand, to read paper book is much nicer. Paper books have their special energy, especially if it is the old books. They have their own history, and you are reading them with more pleasure. But, I’d like to add, that paper books are so valuable to us, because we accustomed to them, we were growing up “on” them. But the technology moves further, and more information goes to the electronic version, and may be, paper books will not be so special for future generations.

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  10. Though I am in no hurry to switch to electronics myself, I had to admit one benefit of an e-reader lately. One was "forced" on us by way of a Christmas gift. My 8-year old was thrilled. I downloaded Little Women for her before our 10-day vacation, and she went through half of an unabridged edition before we were back home. She had her nose in that thing any time it was out of the water. So, the one and only benefit for me so far: with an e-reader, the size of the book will not intimidate a child. And if it takes a screen to keep her reading, hey, I won't be the one fighting that.

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  11. I remember the time when I spent all my money on one series of Fantasy books. There were 22 books and I was crazy about this story. Every month I ran to the bookshop, bought two new books and left there all my scholarship. Now I have an e-reader. It's always in by bag and I can't imagine smth more convenient. For me the most important is the story itself, but not the way I read it.

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  12. But nobody buys e-books nowadays, almost every small kid has I-pad in his pocket. E-books are out of fashion, you know.
    The promlem is, that the so-called "Apple Generation" is bored with turning over the pages at all. Moreover, they just watch, watch and watch!!
    And what about audio books??? Personally, I consider them to be a great alternative to classic books and E-books. They're cool! Don't you think that? They have their own advantages(you improve your pronunciation, listening skills and you enjoy the true native speech with proper intonation!!!) So,what do you think?

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    Ответы
    1. Ad litteram again! An e-book is not necessarily a gadget – any book in digital format. You can have a whole library in I-phone or I-pad. Would you? – that’s the question. (To be on the safe side, “you” is impersonal))
      As for audio books, I do not share your enthusiasm, in spite of numerous advantages. Firstly, because I can see few situations when you do it; secondly, I’m rarely satisfied with the way they read. I prefer the author’s voice – “free of any go-betweens – relations”.

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  13. I fully agree that nowadays people moved printed books to the background. You see, it’s very convenient to use a computer to download the necessary information or even a book, and I’m not an exception. Just push the button and you’ll find whatever you want)
    Anzhelika K.

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  14. I liked the letter and the message of it. It is already been said, that traditional books are doomed. But, do you see the difference between these two kinds of books? Personally I – not. You see, if you want to read a book, you don't care in what jacket or cover it is; whether it is a traditional or an e-book, YOU ARE ABSORBED IN A BOOK, not in its appearance. I think that the most important thing in a book is the plot, the message. Kristina K. 401 e

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  15. I agree with Anzhelika, you see, when I was a child, I read only printed books, many of them were dull and without colourful pictures. Of course, It was not interesting, because we know that children prefer books with pictures. And very often I couldn't find the book which I wanted to read. But nowadays we have computers!!! In the Internet we can find everything and it's great. I have the e-book too, and very often when I can't find a book in the library I simply download it. And it's more convenient. I agree with Kristina that the most important thing in a book is the plot, the message. Sasha K.

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  16. Reading books is something that helps expand our knowledge and indirect experience, which might be replaced by other means, but the feel of the paper, the pleasure you gain from reading books are not replacable.You see nowadays people prefer to spend much time on the internet but I still believe that reading books is just as important. You can get as much information on the internet but I still prefer books/paperbacks when I read fictional stories like novels and all that. It is very hard for me to read a novel using a computer, because too much reading on the monitor screen could make our eyes tired and watery for a long period of time. And it can also be tedious to read a very long article on the monitor screen as you scroll on the pages. (Makarova E)

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  17. Everything has its own advantages and disadvantages… And a book isn’t an exception. I mean both- traditional books, in paper- or hardback, and the new own – e-books, which are extremely popular nowadays. As for a traditional book, it may be absorbing and delightful, but just imagine – you are absorbed in the book, you are following all the actions of the main characters, you are living their lives, but the book is well-thumbed, with loose pages…and in the most interesting place where you expect that everything will be clear, there are some pages lost. And you will have to find another promptbook to read the story to the end. And an e-book doesn’t have this fate. You will be sure that every page is here. And you won’t be afraid of it… It goes without saying that e-books are very convenient. They are rather light, they have a very big memory so you can download many books in it, you can read them everywhere you want. But everything isn’t as simple as it seems for the first glance. You see, all e-books have battery which can discharge. And in this case you won’t be able to read any more… But I fully agree with Kristina that if you are absorbed in the book, you don’t care in which format it is – in paperback or electronic… So the plot and the message of the book are more important than its cover. Yulia M.

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  18. Reading the comments of my groupmates I noticed that all of them mentioned advantages and disadvantages of both e-books and traditional books. But nobody knows the answer for sure. You see, several weeks ago, I found a very interesting status in a social network, it sounds like : " I like reading books, but unfortunately, in our country a book costs more than a bottle of vodka". What do you think about it? As for me, I was not surprised at reading it. Because of this fact I'd bought an e-book. But, frankly speaking, I prefer traditional books. I know that I should explain my choise, but I don't know how. I can say, that I'm a rather conservative person and on the other hand I'm a hostage of the situation: firstly print books are expensive, secondly as a keen traveller I have to take things as few as possible and the light the better, that's why an e-book gains an advantage. I see no sense in enumerating all the advantages ang disadvantages of the devices (print or e-book), the reasons and preferences of choosing are different for everyone. But if the situation of affordability of paper books didn't change a paper book would be smth like a treasure. And leaning on my own experiense of visiting libraries, I'm sure e-books didn't miss the chance and occupied their place in our life. Daria Z.

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    Ответы
    1. Yes, the price of traditional books is scandalous! We discussed that, see 1st comments at the beginning.

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  19. A very touching post ! Enjoyed this very much!

    Thanks Irina for the reference about this post in the comment on my blog.
    There are many reasons for this paradigm shift. Cost of 'real books', difficulty in carrying, limitation in adding links, smileys, comments etc. ebooks offer lot of possibilites that we all are familiar with. Thousands of ebooks can be stored in a ereader or kindle or tablet, can carry anywhere easily etc. etc.
    I think there should be some innovative technology to be introduced to our 'books', else it will become extinct soon. Nature lovers love ebooks, no cutting trees to make 'books'. Whatever, I love the 'real books'. I get the feel of reading only through them. But I have readers as well :)

    Thanks again for your visit to my blog and the comment. I look forward your future visits and valuable comments like this. More about my thoughts can be read in the reply that I posted on my blog in response to your comment.

    You can easily add my blog to blog follow through google friend connect that you see on the sidebar of my blog or just add your email id to the feedburner and RSS feed widgets - all are present on the sidebar, follow my twitter or Google plus or simply click the link given below each post to get updates about future posts.

    Or you copy my blog URL and add it in the box where you add blogs to read on the dashboard. So many options are there.

    I am going to follow your blog through all the options that I could find on your blog !

    Thanks
    Rajiv
    www.magnificentdewdrops.blogspot.com
    www.magicalpresent.blogspot.com

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  20. Thanks a lot for this: I get the feel of reading only through them. Because it sounds so close, so right. No e-readers are able to grant the atmosphere of reading. The question about paper bookspaper books being doomed is 1 of my greatest comcerns. I suppose that their total replacement by e-gadgets (God forbid!) will be a disaster that we can't estimate yet.

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  21. Thanks a lot Irina for the reply.

    Do you have some sort of a readers platform where you can post this again ? Let us all contribute to the discussion and something good might turn up...?

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  22. Hi, Rajiv! Sounds promising, I mean your idea. Might work out. The problem is I'll be off about a month. No chance to indulge in it now. Btw, your new publication attracted my attention, I'll read it on coming back. Enjoy your summer!

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  23. мне кажется, что налет новизны пооботрется со временем с электронных устройств, и ими будут пользоваться меньше. Также, как многие охладели к навороченным кофеваркам, которые можно програмировать и пр. Со временем понимаешь, что кофе, простоявший на плитке, противный; не всегда найдешь нужные фильтры, да и писк машины уже раздражает. И достаешь из шкафчика старую турочку, смахиваешь пыль рукавом, мелешь зерна, стоишь над плитой, чтобы кофе не убежал и не закипел, вдыхая все это время аромат свежего кофе. А потом, усевшись поудобнее и закрыв глаза, наслаждаешься первым глотком. А новую кофеварку можно заставить подальше на случай большой компании, когда некогда вдыхать, а нужно всех успеть охватить. Также и электроника будет для школьных проектов, когда домашка оставлена на последний день и библиотека уже закрыта. Я вот прямо вижу, как мне придется, отвесив предварительно любящий подзатыльник, включать этот прибор и вспоминать пароль в амазон, чтобы загрузить нужную книжку. Но дете-то при этом будет сидеть рядом довольное и раздражать подсказками, как все надо делать :) Ее пока привлекают all things on-line. Пройдет, поди?

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