Paperbacks or Paperwhites

Seth Collin

nookpicturegreyTablet based literature and physi­cal of the same books have, since the inception of digital novels, been heav­ily debated in terms of which provide a better experience for the reader. Some claim that this conflict is for the elderly, latching onto the past, or for the haughty millenials, over-proud of their technology, people who almost instinctively shy away from devices that are devoid of backlit screens.

This seemingly petty conflict is, however, capable of overturning the influence of libraries and the common notion that libraries are the propri­etors of vast sums of knowledge could change in upcoming years.

Reading physical copies of books is hardly a dead practice. Many prefer turning the yellowed pages of musty paperbacks, feeling the weight of the book in their hands, over the plastic and metal of a tablet.

“Reading literature digitally just isn’t the same experience, I like being able to hold books, to put them on a shelf and just appreciate the multi­tude of copies lining my bookshelf,” senior Ethan Boroughs said.

Along with that, books are rela­tively bio-degradable; the disposing of it is detrimental to no one, save perhaps the reader who parted with them. One wouldn’t dispose of a book anywhere as often as a tablet though.

Books are relatively ageless in terms of their capacity for use and the con­tent within, whereas tablet technol­ogy is constantly being revised and updated.

Tablets are frequently thrown out and generally end up in waste dumps. Tablets consist of transistors, metal, plastic, and the like; most tablets are hardly environmentally friendly and simply serve as additional waste along with the already pretty substantial human detritus.

Reading from a tablet is perfectly fine, but what of the other data stored on the tablet? The cocktail of dis­tracting apps for things such as music, games, browsing the internet, and so on. One could be reading rather in­tently, utterly immersed in a book, when suddenly an app or email noti­fication appears on the upper left of your screen. Immediately the immer­sion is broken, an unfortunate and troublesome feature of all tablets.

A paperback novel offers only the fundamentals, the story. If given a moment to quietly contemplate the book or gather thoughts, there would be no temptation by assailants of the attention span, as there would whilst using an electronic device.

Many think that the sentimental­ity of the reader interferes with the decision making process. Proponents of paperbacks and hardbacks alike would

be devastated if physical versions of their favorite novels were discontin­ued, simply because they are more partial to the physical copies. The proponents of digital reading argue that purchasing texts for tablets limits the amount of trees that are cut down to manufacture books.

Those who favor tablets say that having to lug several books around whilst out and about is considerably more cumbersome than simply keep­ing an electronic device, such as a Kindle Paperwhite on their persons. Clearly, this is a fine point, one that is reiterated whenever a books ver­sus tablets argument springs up and rightfully so, considering it’s the main purpose of a reading tablet. That rea­son alone ensures the longevity of the reading tablet and its successors.

Plenty of readers accept the lit­eral burden of carrying several tomes around with them.

“Most tablets hurt my eyes if I read for too long, which is why I generally bring a separate bag entirely to store my books, otherwise I’d have to limit my reading time considerably,” senior Matt Jones said.

Practicality is rampant in both, as senior Tyler Sigmon claimed that “Paper text is a bit bothersome to look at for long periods of time.” In this regard, preference and conditions of individual people play into the pur­chasing process.

Ultimately it’s the same book be­ing read, regardless of whether or not it’s bound by paper, leather, or plastic. It’s really just about the mental and emotional stimulation that each form of electronic media has to offer.

It is more than likely that the trend toward electronic media will contin­ue as technology improves, however. With new technology comes a change in taste, one that is generally irrevo­cable. Neither books nor tablets are going anywhere, so really it is im­portant to just buy the one that’s most appealing and enjoy it.

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Author: The Hawk Eye

Hanover High School, Mechanicsville, Virginia The Hawk Eye Student Newspaper thehawkeye@hcps.us

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