Monday, August 26, 2013

E-books vs. Physical Books

At the beginning of August, a Turkish newspaper translated BuzzFeed’s “10 Reasons Real Books AreBetter Than E-books” article to Turkish. I think this was in hopes of firing up debates among Turkish readers since e-books are getting more available here as well.

Having been skeptical of e-reading at first, I can say all my doubts went away when I got the chance to actually hold an e-reader and see what it was like to read on one. Ever since my family got me a Kindle on my birthday last January, I’ve been glued to it, and I’m not willing to let it go. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m ditching my “real” books, as BuzzFeed puts it.

Aren’t e-books “real” books? To me, they’re as real as a book on paper because they have all the pages which you can just as easily read. So, shouldn’t we call the “real” books “printed books” or “books on paper” instead? Anyways; let’s move onto the 10 reasons why printed books are better than e-books and how I do not agree with all of them.

(The parts in italics are taken directly from BuzzFeed’s list)

You can read books in the bath.
I’m sure many bookworms will agree with me when I say that reading a book is tricky around water whether it’s printed or electronic or carved on stone. BuzzFeed suggests that if you drop your printed book in the tub, you can just blow dry it, and it will be “good as new.” Well, NO, they will NOT be good as new because the pages are gonna stick and the ink’s gonna get all messed up. So you need to be just as careful with your printed books and e-readers when you’re in water. Or just leave them somewhere dry and don’t take the risk at all.

No need to turn off your  book on a plane.
This is true, but Kindle (I don’t know about other devices) has an airplane mode just like cellphones and tablets do. BussFeed’s point is that you won’t have to close a printed book even for a few minutes on the plane, but with finding your seat, and the people around you getting seated and all that, you’ll lose some reading minutes anyway.

You can read in the sun.
I’ve read on my Kindle in the sun and had no problems.

They will fill your shelves.
This is also true, but… I have so many books that I’m having a hard time fitting them onto shelves. I have a small apartment, so it’s not like I can get as many shelves as I need without having to move the rest of my furniture out. If I really like a book I’ve read on Kindle, I’ll go buy a printed copy of it as well. If I feel it’s a book I don’t want to own or wouldn’t read again, it stays on my hard drive and saves me physical space.

Antique books are amazing.
This is also true. E-books aren’t stopping anyone from obtaining antique books. And what’s better, you can store your antique book safely and pet it once in a while, and if you want to re-read it, you can do it on your Kindle without damaging that beauty.

You can’t get an e-book signed.
Another correct point. But the thing is, if you go to a signing, printed copies of the author’s book will be available for sale right then and there. Also, when I met one of my favorite Turkish authors randomly, I didn’t have his book with me. I told him how I was a fan, and he signed my journal that I always carry with me. As long as you ask for their autograph, they wouldn’t even mind signing a napkin for you.

Libraries and bookstores.
Both are important, and none of them are going to die because we’re not going to let them. I was recently in Helsinki, Finland, and I went into Akateeminen Kirjakauppa (Academic Bookstore) 2-3 times, and it was always crowded. Turkish bookstores are the same. And libraries let  you touch everything and then borrow the book you want, so they’ll be around.

Finishing a long book is more rewarding this way.
They mean finishing a big, printed book is more rewarding, which I think is rather ridiculous because whoever wrote it apparently hasn’t carried around Murakami’s IQ84 or The House of Leaves. If you love reading stories, any length is rewarding because you get to experience new worlds and characters. To me, this point would only be valid with big school books because finishing them would mean the school year is over and done with.

They inspire tattoos.

They inspire much better tattoos, which has nothing to do with the format they come in. An example:

Books don’t die.
Meaning even if they get torn they will never run out of juice and leave you disappointed right in the middle of a story. My Kindle’s battery goes on for days, for one thing. The second thing is… You make sure to charge your phone so it doesn’t die on you during the day. This is something we used to. So, doing the same thing for our e-readers isn’t a burden. Am I right or am I right?!

Getting down to my main point: I do not want printed word to die; I can’t honestly imagine life without it. But we should also be aware of how convenient e-books are and how they make life easier. Why the hate? If you’re dying to read a novel, you don’t have to get dressed and drive yourself to the nearest bookstore. You don’t even have to get out of bed. Just clickityclick and you got it! I think we should enjoy e-books instead of hating them.