Positive Aspects of E-book
Negative aspects of E-book
Balancing the Use of EBooks and Print Books among Readers
E-BOOK OR PAPER BOOK
Electronic books are books that are available electronically through personal computers or devices that are specially designed for reading e books. In most cases readers pay with a credit card and download the text from internet sites. Although it had earlier been predicted that electronic publishing would overcome paper publishing and render it obsolete, this has not been the case, paper publication is still the most common form of publishing. Electronic publishing was introduced in the early decades but the specific reading devices came to customer level in 1998. At that time readers got a reading experience from their personal computers and could choose either to read in a landscape or portrait format. In the early 2000’s campaigns were done to promote the demand for e-books by introducing advertising and licensing agreements. Today the e book is a popular form of publishing which has been adopted by many authors (Straubhaar, LaRose & Davenport, 2010). This paper will discuss on the advantages and disadvantages of using e books. It will further highlight various ways in which e publishing can be balanced with paper publishing to gain equal popularity in the markets.
Positive Aspects of E-book
E-books provide a variety of technology configurations which cover all the subjects that students and readers could be interested in. They have a similar structure as the paper published books because they have the same text structure, same reading purposes. However, they are more convenient and offer a reading support in which similar helpful materials are recommended by the search engines provided. It also expands the number of reading materials available because different editions are provided such that readers can go for what satisfies their interest best. The advantage with this form of reading is that students and other readers can easily access it because it is easy to learn and apply. Accessing e books is supported by technology and readers have to follow simple steps for them to purchase and download reading materials. This makes reading simple and convenient for any subject of interest. It also helps them connect their own lives with the wide range of information that they get from the e-books (Love, 2005).
Unlike paper published books, e books provide support tools especially for instructors who use them to guide their students on what is expected of them. They can be used to highlight the most important concepts that students should read from a given book. This can be done by coloring or using a different form of formatting which is temporal and can be reversed once the reading exercise is completed. The presence of the instructors during this reading exercise may not be required because the students will simply have to follow the instructions given and as directed by the reading support tools. This has simplified the teaching process and has even facilitated e learning whereby students can interact with their instructors from various locations. The instructors also establish a reading culture for students and this enhanced further by the support tools that e book publishing offer. While completing assignments using electronic sources students can explore a lot of information for a particular subject which increase their knowledge which would have otherwise been limited if they opt to use paper published books. The feedback given by readers and the views and opinions given also support them in establishing whether the subject area has been adequately covered. It also provides the instructors with a useful resource for creating curriculum based assessments (Jones & Brown, 2011).
E-books provide readers with different forms of accessing information and this makes reading interesting. For example, children are always attracted to picture guided form of reading which is only available as pictures in the paper books. However the e books have advanced the learning experience by providing video options in which readers can watch a particular subject. They can additionally read a smaller volume of book that gives further explanation on the video. This form of learning is more effective because readers can easily remember the concepts that they learn and they also take shorter time in reading. Video supported reading is also convenient for students with special needs like the deaf and also students who are reluctant to read can use this form of learning to create interest in learning (De Jong & Bus, 2004; Chau, 2008). In other cases, video supported books can be used to improve the comprehension skills of students and improve a student’s ability to understand the given subject better. Search engines also make the reading experience easier because readers are directed to the area of interest and less time is spent in obtaining information. Another effective tool is annotation log which gives the reader an opportunity to read from the first hand source of a particular subject which has been updated by the current author (Harris, 2012).
In the past, access to technology was limited and only a few people could use the internet in learning. Today this has changed and technology has grown to be a basic need for households, institutions and commercial activities. It has also been simplified to ensure that users can follow simple instructions to access information. This provides readers with the convenience of reading from any location because they can carry the library with them. This means that once they have the devices for accessing books online like laptops, palmtops and other hand held devices like memory cards, they can carry large volumes of reading materials. These can be used for entertainment or reading purposes and this allows readers to integrate other non reading activities with reading because the portability of e books allows them to switch these activities (Hanho, 2012). E-book publishing is supported by technology and this indicates that in future this form of reading will be advanced and learning will be promoted to reach a bigger scope of people. E-books are advancing the learning experience and promoting knowledge wealth among many people and this generally improves the quality of life. This is because people are informed about the activities around them better (Harris, 2012).
E-books save on the cost of compiling a print book and also the physical handling which includes binding, putting the labels, transportation and even the cost of repairing books and correcting errors that may occur in printing. When compared to the e book, the print book is expensive and also takes a lot of time to reach the readers. In the libraries, the print books are also costly to circulate and maintain in the shelves. It requires a lot of labor to arrange these books in the library to facilitate an easy access by readers. The electronic library is cheap and easy to maintain because it is supported by the online archiving tool that enables retrieving of these books. Readers are saved the trouble of moving around libraries to locate, collect and return books to the shelves. They can also read books from the comfort of their homes, in the buses, while queuing and anywhere they deem fit. They are not restricted to any given location and this saves them a lot of time. Librarians reported that they used to spend a lot of time explaining to users where to find the alphabetical location in the library. In the electronic world, users receive fewer enquiries because the internet has tools that guide users in accessing materials. They also offer alternatives which can be easily obtained from the internet without spending more time in locating the extra readings required (Pastore, 2009).
Many institutions are shifting from print books to e books for them to store a bigger volume of books and save on cost. Other procedures such as following up on readers to return books to the library are avoided and this means that less staff are employed to serve in libraries. If less books are stored in the libraries, more space is gained and the learning environment improves making the experience better. It is also cost effective on the publishers’ part because the cost of packaging and processing orders is avoided (Pastore, 2009). Demand is also increased given that readers can search for subjects of interest and learns about books that may not be popular yet they are rich in the desired contents. This helps authors gain audience for their books without going into advertising costs. This has attracted many publishers to this form of publishing and the readers also adapting to e-books which may become a popular form of research in future. They are priced according to the content in the books unlike the print books which are greatly influenced by the amount of paper that and printing cost used on a given copy. This enables readers to determine the quality of the books they are interested in even before they purchase them. E-books are ecofriendly and promote the environment because the use of e-books means less waste and therefore the environment is free of pollution. The resources directed towards manufacture of papers like timber are saved, trees are saved and the environment becomes a better place to live in (Magdalini & Rowley, 2011).
E-books last for very long and reads can always refer to them in future. Unlike print books which are likely to wear out over time, they are always available in a standard condition. Finding them is easy because e books can be easily searched and located. On the other hand print books can be difficult to locate especially in cases where the authors name is not mastered. Once the copy is not available, it is hard to locate it and use in in future as a form of reference. They also promote efficiency in work because many people spend a lot of time in front of the computer. When challenges are encountered a solution can be obtained from the e books available. This encourages employees to participate in decision making activities because reading equips them with the knowledge required in the dynamic world today. It also diverts them from engaging in non constructive activities at the work place by providing them with and opportunity to learn about the fields that interest them (Magdalini & Rowley, 2011).
Negative aspects of E-book
Students have been affected by the social sites that are available on the internet and are often distracted from concentrating in the research activities. This slows down the learning activities because they end up consuming more time on these activities over learning (Haigh, 2010). Readers also get tired of staring at the screen for long periods of time and prefer the traditional print books which do not dictate the reading position that they have to use. It also poses a health risk to readers because they can develop eye problems and the body in general due to the positions used while reading (Hanho, 2012).
Publishers have restricted their books on the number of devices that can be used from a particular book. For instance a limit on the on the amount that can be printed, shared or even copied and pasted is restricted such that a student experiences difficulties in obtaining reading materials to be used on a different location away from the library. Other libraries are known to restrict readers to use a given book for one academic term. In this case the student may not access the same book again fro future reference during that term. This can be very inconvenient given that students learn new concepts based on the concepts learned in the past. It is also difficult for instructors to share and pass on instructions to students in different locations if the amount of content that can be shared is restricted. Unlike the printed books that can be shared at will by learners, e books give readers are challenge because they limit themselves to what is available or what they can afford at the given period (Cavanaugh, 2006).
The growth in technology has created a risk of pirating of e-books because hackers are able to access a given book and reproduce it. The numbers of people who connect to the internet and shop for these books nay go down if hackers offer a cheaper access to this books and this reduces the book’s sales. Advancement in technology also provides better versions and tools of accessing books. Newer versions make the former books less popular and this brings the sales of a particular book down. It forces publishers to keep up with technology and provide their books in the software that readers prefer. This means if there is a power breakdown, the reader is cannot continue with the learning activity. It is predicted that the eBooks in use at the present may not be compatible with the eBooks, software and devices to be produced in future. This makes the eBooks to lack a defined life and publishers have to keep upgrading the books. This is not experienced with print books because the information can be accessed despite the duration that the book is in use they also dependent on other devices for them to be accessed for example a particular hardware or software, the availability of internet or even power for the information to be accessed (Straubhaar, LaRose & Davenport, 2010).
Authors are also experiencing the challenge of distinguishing themselves from the rest of the people. This is because e books give an opportunity to anyone who wishes to write and therefore anyone can be an eBook writer. For the best authors it requires them to identify the best eBook publishers because a wrong decision on this may degrade the quality of their work and reduce their popularity. Most readers prefer to flip through the pages of a book before they decide to settle down on it for studying. The e books do not provide this opportunity and it is very difficult for readers to determine whether a particular book is rich in the content that they are looking for. In some cases, readers end up purchasing books that do not provide the information required adequately (Magdalini & Rowley, 2011).
Balancing the Use of EBooks and Print Books among Readers
Pricing can be used as a strategy of balancing the purchase of eBooks and paper books. When the prices of eBooks are slightly higher than those of print books, readers are likely to forego the privileges of eBooks to experience the lower prices. This way the number of readers who opt to use the print books will remain consistent and chances of going down will be minimal. Another strategy could be retaining the inconveniences that are experienced in the libraries that offer print books. These libraries often give a time frame in which a reader is expected to return a book. This could also be applied on e books by limiting the period in which an e-book is in use. This way a reader finds the books similar and is likely to purchase any of the books since they have similar restrictions. Offering unlimited duration for e-book use may render the print books obsolete since more readers will be attracted to e-books. Limiting the number of people who use a particular book at the same time also limits eBook use and encourages people to use paper books (Harris, 2012).
EBook publishers are also limited by the introduction of licensing agreements and digital rights which encourage readers to opt for print books. They have also been given standards in which eBooks should be based on. The formatting styles and referencing of these books is defined such that other authors would prefer to go for paper publishing which may not be as strict. If this is the case, the number of people using e publishers is not likely to grow at a high speed to threaten paper publishing (Magdalini & Rowley, 2011). Parents and pre school educators should also be encouraged to use print media while introducing young children to literacy building skills. This will encourage then to integrate print and electronic media as they grow up. Introducing them to education this way makes them value print books and attaches them so that they don’t abandon the practice in future (Chau, 2008).
E-books have promoted the reading culture among people in all age groups. The convenience and availability of these books has made them very popular among researchers and students. People can access information on almost any subject through e-books and attention has shifted from print books to e-books. Libraries are also focusing on e-books to create space, save time and resources as well as keep up with technology. However, this form of publishing is not likely to overcome the paper publishing because the e-books also have shortcomings which encourage people to maintain the print books. These include aspects like the overdependence of e-books on other devices to function, the physical strain it has on the body as well as the higher cost of obtaining e-books. The shortcomings of e-books are what have helped in maintaining the balance experienced in the use of both books. It is further enhanced by mimicking the print libraries such that readers find no much difference in using either of the books. Therefore, the use of print books and e-books is likely to remain similar because each of the books has strengths and weaknesses which are shared for the two forms of books to supplement each another.
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