E-books versus Real Books
Books are the Plane, the Train and the Road.Anna Quindlen
They are the destination, and the journey. They are Home.
A book is a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. With the invention of e-books, the definition got renewed as “Written text that can be published in printed or electronic form.”
Nothing feels like holding a book in hand. Turning the pages while reading the book gives immense pleasure. But reading with videos, audios and animations takes the reader to a different world. With e-books, the destination and journey of book reading has become more interesting and e-books have given more life to reading.
Computers and networks have changed society and our way of thinking and living. The development of e-books has changed the way the whole book industry functions. The Internet, hand-held computers, liquid crystal displays and enhanced font rendering form the technological bases for the development of e-books. E-books provide new ways of representing content as well as new ways of distributing and selling books. They are cost-effective and provide ease of reading and access to thousands of books.
The history of the e-book and e-readers began before World War II with Vannevar Bush, who conceived the “memex” as a way for individuals to store and read increasing amounts of available information. Project Gutenberg started digitizing texts in 1971.
In the 1970s, the name Gutenberg once more resurfaced, when a man named Michael Hart, working on a computer system at the University of Illinois, typed up a digital version of “The Declaration of Independence”—the first e-book. Hart’s work eventually led to the founding of Project Gutenberg, an organization devoted to the production and distribution of free, public domain e-books over the Internet. His entries included “The Bill of Rights,” “The American Constitution” and “The Christian Bible.” What he created was far more than an electronic text document—what he created was an idea. The idea of not just using computers to crunch numbers and deal with data, but to get computers to share text and literature was a significant milestone in the history of books. “One individual may die for an idea, but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives.” E-books have made a great impact in the self-publishing industry. A number of books are getting published every day as e-books. The advantage is that whereas printers expect print books to be of a specific size, e-books can be very short, any number of pages is acceptable.
The introduction of e-books in education has optimized the learning experience. It has turned learning into a fun and engaging event. In traditional paperback books, if there is some updated information that needs to be included in the syllabus, you would probably have to reprint new books. But with e-books, all the learning materials are stored on the cloud. This means, e-books can be updated anytime and it will be reflected in all e-books.
E-books have made self-publishing more accessible than ever. The three main online stores that sell e-books are Amazon’s Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store, and Apple’s iBookstore. A few books are sold on other marketplaces as well, such as the Kobo US bookstore and GooglePlay Books. Authors can also sell their books directly to consumers on their own websites. E-books show links, for easy access to more information and related websites.
Reading opens up new ways of life, gives a different perspective towards everything, increases creativity and imagination, and improves memory.
The book is not dead; technology is simply helping it evolve beyond its physical confines. Long live the book.
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