Saturday, January 13, 2007


On the New Media Writing wiki, I posted about e-books because I think that it is important to realize the benefit that they have. As I mention in the wiki, people believe that making books available on the Internet will destroy books, especially after what has happened in the music industry. This thought/fear makes sense and is, in my opinion, completely justified. If books are readily available on the Internet, why would people bother leaving the comfort of their homes to go to a store, spend money, and buy the book? I know that was the first question that popped into my head. But then I thought about the situation a bit more and realized that maybe e-books would increase the popularity of books, rather than eliminate them. I thought about the concept of laying out in the sun on a hot summer day, ready to read a good book...on my laptop...and I appreciated the absurdity of my concern that e-books would bring an end to books.

Yes, I believe that some people will try to save money and will read books on the Internet that they would have otherwise purchased, had they not been available digitally. And yes, I think that there are people who will try to sell copies or abuse e-books in other ways. But I think it is important to recognize that the positive consequences will likely outweigh the negative. E-books will enable blind people to listen to books (through programs that read selected text), will expose individuals to books that they may not have known about, and will allow potential consumers to flip through a few pages of a book on their computer before deciding to purchase a book from Amazon, for example.

In this day and age, with so many daily activities being completed with the help of computers and the Internet, from checking bank statements to ordering groceries and meeting a potential husband/wife, it makes sense to make books accessible online as well. I have faith that readers will continue to buy books because, as I mentioned above, one just cannot reach the same feeling when he reads on a computer. It is not as comfortable or as satisfying (for example, you lose the effect of wondering what is on the next page when you have to scroll down instead of turning a page); people will probably realize this before they even finish the first e-book they start to read and will soon return to their old way of doing things and will just buy the book.

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