Monday, April 26, 2010

The feel of paper

All the time, through thousands of years of existence, humans have tried to record their knowledge, thoughts, impressions – in other words, the information that was important to them – to make it available to other humans. As human civilization evolved, different ways to store information were used. Our prehistoric ancestors painted on cave walls. Later, people carved texts on wax, clay or stone. Egyptians wrote on papyrus, others on parchment scrolls. Then for centuries, and especially since Gutenberg invented the printing press in mid-fifteenth century, paper books have been our main storage medium.

But following this we have seen the advent of fast personal computers and digital screens, and we might think that the age-old dominance of printed books is coming to an end. Just as floppy disks are no longer used to store or transfer information between computers, will the same happen to printed books? Will they be replaced by their electronic counterparts, the eBooks?

To many of us, eBooks are incommensurably superior to traditional paper books. eBooks are browsed or searched much more easily. eBooks are also easier to publish: they don't require printing, binding, they don't waste paper and ink, they will always be more compact than printed books. Any modern eBook reader with a size not larger than an average paper book can already store an amount of eBooks equivalent to a small library of printed books. eBooks have plenty of advantages over printed books. Some people believe that in a not too distant future printed books will only be kept in museums and private collections of bibliophiles. Who knows, maybe paper books are like dinosaurs whose time of extinction is nearing?

However, we know that there are still people who will always prefer the smell of ink and the feel of paper of the printed books they knew in "the good old days".

Where do you stand on this?

Below are various links to topical articles. We hope they'll help you form an unbiased educated opinion.

Some Thoughts About E-Reading

Ebooks vs. Paper Books

E-book vs. Paper Book

Publishing: ebooks vs. Paper Books

Environmental Impact Of E-Books vs. Paper Books

Ebooks Versus Paper Books: The Pros and Cons

How Green Is My iPad?

Testing the iPad's Trip-Worthiness

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