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Books vs Ebooks – Who is winning?

During our days, bringing our books to schools is really a must. I remember carrying a big school bag just to fit 5 books plus notebooks makes me wonder if going to school is really to gain more knowledge or gain more muscles. Nowadays, a new trend is starting – students are carrying just one device to attend school, either a notebook computer, a tablet or an e-reader.

On the onset, you might say that digital devices used to read books will definitely have an edge compared to printed books, simply because you can do more with these devices. Like with notebooks and tablets, one can not only read books but one can also surf the web, send emails, visit social networking sites, communicate, play games, create documents, download apps and a lot more.

I did my own survey and asked those who love to read and I got mix answers. There are those who are really loyal paperback readers, although they own notebooks and/or tablets, they still prefer reading their favorite novels with printed books. Simply because they are so used to it and nothing beats turning the pages or the sound of it they say.

There are also those who said books are a thing of the past and tablets are the in-thing. They say they can download books that are not yet available in the country. They also say they are cheaper, comes with pictures, can visit linked words or pages which in turn will give them more information that would help them understand and enjoy their reading materials more.

There are pros and cons to both books and ebooks. Let me start by saying that books do not require power / battery to read. It does not cause significant eye-strain. Cheaper to acquire since you don’t need the digital device. Same format, they are simply printed text. Easily portable. And also comes with pictures. The cons are as follows: Printed books are bulky and heavy. Need a light source to read them (especially at night). Notes that you made are there to stay.

In terms of ebooks, the pros are: easily readable since it offer zoom functions, and letter resizing. Sassily portable – readers can carry multiple books on one device. Environmentally friendly since you don’t have to kill a few trees for each book. eReaders incorporate display lighting allowing you to read whenever and whereever. The cons: Eye-strain. Software bugs. Different file formats. Possible scratches, drops, spilling of drink – all of which can cause the device to malfunction. Requires investment, you need to buy the device. And the biggest concern – battery power.

So if you’re going to ask me – will I go for printed books or ebooks? My answer is, for me, its a case to case basis. Why?

For the education sector, I will go for eBooks, if we could afford them especially for public schools. Simply because here in the Philippines, students are made to use old and dilapidated outdated books. Also, students are made to share textbooks, like one book for five or more students. How can a student learn from that kind of setup? With ebooks, if only our government can provide them with e-readers, our students can be assured that they are reading new and updated world-class materials. Students can surf the web giving them instant access to libraries worldwide – something that our students now are surely missing since our school libraries are not updating their books due to lack of budget, especially in public schools. No pun intended.

For personal use, I would say its a personal preference. There are some who enjoy reading paperbacks / printed books and there are those who prefer to use tablets / notebooks / e-readers, so let it be.

I must say both books and ebook offer their respective advantages and disadvantages. My advice is for our government to do its utmost effort to bring to our students the most updated reading materials as much as possible. What’s the use of studying old materials? Students learning the old ways. If we do not do someting about this then we are not moving forward but rather moving backward. And that’s not fair to our students who are supposed to be the future of our country.

(Article written by Jerry Liao)

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