Posts Tagged ‘digital books’

July 30, 2013 11:45 am

One-On-One: The Great eBook Debate

 ebook debate

The other day, we got talking about eBooks here at the QC office. For a bunch of book-lovers like us, the mere mention of this digital dilemma gets things a little bit heated. Instead, we decided to use our wits and engage in an old-fashioned debate. One of us took up the cause of physical books, and the other took the side of digital. Please note that the below arguments don’t really reflect our true opinions…in reality, we fall somewhere in the middle. Read the eBook debate below and let us know who won!

Sandra says: Paperback is here to stay

Stacey, don’t tell me you don’t judge a book by its cover! Reading is not just about the words on the page. Of course I appreciate the heart and soul that authors put into the stories that I love so much but for me, reading is a sensory experience. I like to look at the interesting, colorful cover art while I’m reading; I love how the image changes meaning as I get to know the story and the characters, chapter by chapter. I like the feel of the paper as I turn pages and the weight of a book in my hands. When I’m buying second-hand, I like the smell of the old books, and the thrill of the hunt to find that one book that speaks to me on that particular day.

Are you calling for the end of the second-hand bookstore as well?

Another special thing about books is the role they play in a vibrant community culture. I like being able to stop by my local bookstore and discuss books with the staff. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with “strangers” on the bus or in a cafe based on the book I’m reading.

Local libraries double as community centers, and the end of the library system would mean much more to communities than just decreased access to paperbacks. It’s amazing how, no matter how solitary an act reading can be, it can also really brings people together!

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. And that’s why physical books aren’t going anywhere.

Stacey thinks: Digital is the way of the future

Actually Sandra, if I judged books by their covers I wouldn’t have discovered some of my favorite reads of all time. So I can honestly say that I don’t. With modern e-reader technology, such as Amazon Kindle’s electronic ink, the pages on the screen very closely resemble an actual book’s page. Plus, the screen remains glare-free and clearly legible even in direct sunlight. Personally, I often find an eBook easier to read than its physical counterpart – not all books’ pages are made the same and some are far too thin or dark!

Yes, there’s something to be said about second hand book shopping but I think what you’re actually arguing is for the maintenance of reader culture. What’s stopping people from pulling up a chair at their local coffee shop or library and reading an eBook? What’s stopping you from turning to your neighbor and asking about the eBook they’re reading? People often fold their books while reading so the cover isn’t even visible, so your voyeuristic argument undoubtedly falls short. In fact, a reader of an eBook can easily highlight lines of interest and add notes into pages to share with other readers – further connecting with book lovers.

I could go on and argue the eco-friendly benefits to e-reading or the ability to carry thousands of books with you on a slim screen that’s lighter than any book I’ve ever held, but our audience is already well aware of those benefits. At the end of the day, eBooks are easier to store, carry, bookmark, and are even cheaper to buy. Elderly people with chronic arthritis don’t have to struggle to turn a page and hold a book still, and young people need not be intimidated by a large library of books for which they likely don’t have the time or patience to sort through.

Denying the inevitable shift towards digital will only leave you in the past, where fewer and fewer books are printed and where you and the other ageists will be forced to read from moldy pages in your parents’ basements.


Who had the best argument? Vote for the winner in a comment below!