E-Readers vs. Hard Copies
By Emily Alvarez
In 2007, the world of the written word was turned upside down when Amazon introduced the first digital reader: the Kindle. Heads turned away from the bookshelves and over to this small, rectangular device that could download a whopping 200 titles via the Internet. The first model sold out in less than six hours, leaving everyone with slow DSL without an e-reader for another five months. Goodness Amazon, get it together! The Kindle was followed by newer models and in 2009, American book retailer Barnes & Noble released the Nook. So what is all the hype about?
An e-reader, along with other digital devices, is new and exciting however it is the convenience of holding your library within your hands that sells the product. Let us say that you are traveling to Australia from California and you are the proud owner of a new Nook. You are halfway through The Shining and decide that you feel like switching to something a little lighter. It’s not a problem when you have an e-reader! In the newer models of both the Kindle and the Nook, you could either pull up another novel or browse other e-books, magazines, or newspapers. I don’t know about you, but having the option to switch it up on a 16 hour flight sounds just heavenly. You could just as easily switch up your reading materials on your lunch break at work or while you are waiting to get your braces tightened at the orthodontist (I don’t miss those days!). The question is, are e-readers the future?
As hip and convenient as e-readers are, there is still something so special about old school hard copies. The feeling of holding a physical book in one’s hand has no comparison. The smell of a new book is fresh and crisp. The smell of an old book is as ancient as the names of past owners written on the first page or stamps from each library the book has previously found a home in. The hard copy is also a necessity for those who do not have access to electricity (which you need to charge an e-reader) or modern technology.
My conclusion is this: while it is nice to carry a small device that holds my endless library, I find it essential to maintain my physical library at home. History does not have to dictate who we are but I have found through other vessels of knowledge that it is wise to allow our history to be apart of our modern existence. It is both humbling and a necessity for the emotions within a human being. We can’t live in a world too cold without a little warmth and comfort.
Emily Alvarez is an avid writer and reader of historical fiction and comedy. She loves witty, unforgettable characters that represent the true ups and downs of human life. Emily is a southern California native and received her Bachelors Degree in English from the University of California, Fullerton. She is currently working on several writing projects and is part of the River Ram Press editorial team.