Students, Faculty Discuss Books Vs. E-books

Sophomore Paige Fleming reads her favorite book.

Sophomore Paige Fleming reads her favorite book, “Twilight.” Photo: Eden Kerker

Ever since e-books arrived, scientists have forecast that they would ultimately replace print books. E-books’ advantages include how they are delivered quickly and without hassle. Within minutes, users can purchase, download and start reading new books without leaving their chair. Readers don’t have to go to a bookstore or wait days or even weeks for books to arrive.  

E-books are portable. Users can access thousands of books without carrying their weight or worrying out finding space to store them. Today’s technology allows users to purchase and read e-books anywhere, anytime: on the bus, train, airplane, or even while standing in line. “E-books are better for travel since I read several books at once,” said librarian Marty Hamburger. “You also have the ability to look up references immediately, like the dictionary.”  

Other interactive accessories, including video, audio and animation, are available as well. Fonts can now be changed and resized, allowing users to alter the book to their comfort level. In addition, no trees are destroyed for the use of paper. “E-books would make my backpack so much lighter,” said junior Katie Brown. Many scientific studies show that the younger generation prefers e-books due to their familiarity with new technology.

However, several other studies suggest that reading on paper is better for memory retention and focus. “Students are better off with print books because it’s easier to highlight and annotate for school work,” said Spanish teacher Cappy Lewis. E-books often provide digital substitutes for these actions, but they just aren’t the same. “The physical act of holding a book and turning page by page is so pleasing and rhythmic,” said English teacher Ricks Carson. “It is easier to navigate print books and they are just cozier.”  

A Harvard Medical School study found that light-emitting e-books, especially before bed, interfere with user’s ability to sleep, alertness in the morning and overall health. According to a 2009 study, researchers found that just six minutes into reading print books, both heart rate and muscle tension decrease. Reading on a device impacts stress levels negatively and may even cancel out the effect of the relaxation. “E-books are better for reference books, whereas print books are better for pleasure reading,” said librarian Linda Teague. With disagreement over the advantages of e-books versus print books, it all depends on personal preference.