Books v/s E-readers

Should computers replace books?

I remember writing on this topic and winning the creative writing competition in the sixth grade. I wrote that computers and laptops can never give the warm feeling and physical comfort that books provide. There is an internal peace turning pages after pages, which only bibliophiles understand. The sweet smell of old books connects us to ancient world of scholars and writers. As a young girl, the sense of ownership that books provided kept me happy all day. Of course, computers and all related modern technology can never replace the cosiness books provide.

However, years later, I stumbled upon the fact that around four billion trees are chopped down each year for paper. If we notice our surroundings, there are so many things made of paper. This made me rethink. Should we really keep cutting down trees at this rate? Is this really beneficial for the planet? Doesn’t this make reading books and newspaper, rather harmless acts, very selfish in reality?

Comparing financially, e-books are not only very inexpensive, they are also free sometimes. There are no expenses for printing, shipping and storage. Thus the publishers have more profit too. Everyone goes home happy.

E-books are easier to carry- one reader for all the books, while hardcovers and softcovers take up a lot of space. There is no risk of the books damaging because of physical factors, lest we do not take care of our e-readers. E-books are certainly more accessible. Sometimes physical copies of some books are not available, not even on amazon. But there are softcopy versions available. This adds a lot to the affluence factors.

The choice between books and e-books also depends, of course, on what we’re reading. If our content has a lot of images, e-books are certainly the better option, giving us options to zoom into the details, adjust the saturation and tinker the brightness as we wish. E-books also have the advantage of not letting the world know what we’re reading and thereby, hiding us from a lot of judgement if we’re reading something risqué.

Once upon a time, I’d definitely have chosen books over computers and e-readers. With the advancement of technology and the piling up of a heap of advantages in favor of e-books however, now I’d recommend the softcopy versions. It is not only beneficial for the reader, the writer and the publisher, but the planet as well. If we could imagine a world where we just had an all-in-one slate like tablet for newspapers, books, bills, writing pads, diaries, notebooks, and cash memo, we could save so many trees. We could make the planet healthier and greener.

The story remains the same, only the mode of reaching us changes. Maybe we all could contribute to the planet and read our stories just the same..

Let’s make a difference.