Digital readers: the next paperbacks

By Carolyn Williams

Contributing Writer

Last year one of the holiday season’s most talked-about gift items was the new Kindle, a groundbreaking electronic portable reader created and sold by Amazon.com. Competitors such as the Barnes and Nobles Nook and the Apple iPad quickly followed, and electronic readers grew even more in popularity.

Buying an electronic reader is no small decision, especially for students, as these advancements in technology are very expensive for the average budget. The three brands compared here each come in different models with varying price ranges. The Nook costs between $149 and $199, Kindles start at $139 and can cost up to $379 and the iPad starts at $499 with the most expensive model costing $829. After making a substantial investment to buy your reader, you still have to pay to fill your digital bookshelf with modern works.

Ava Giuliano 14 thinks the price of her iPad was well worth it. “I love that I can bring five books on a trip and my iPad will always weigh the same. It’s so nice having all of your books in one place,” she said.

Giuliano says she makes frequent use of her iPad’s search button. The touch screen is “so much fun,” she said. She does admit that when she brings her iPad on an airplane, it’s irritating not to be able to read during takeoff or landing. She has problems with glare from the sun at the beach, and having to rely on a battery does make her miss traditional paper books.

Liz Walker 14 feels differently about e-readers. Although she concedes that she likes both the environmentallyconscious aspect of electronic readers as well as their ability to hold many books at once, she fundamentally disagrees with the idea of reading from something other than a physical book.

“They’re tricking children into reading by comparing it to a video game. It’s not the same thing. Electronic readers don’t have a book cover, something you should see every time you pick up a work. You’re losing part of a book’s key essence,” Walker said.

Like Giuliano, Walker takes issue with electronic readers’ dependency on batteries. She believes electronic readers are a waste of money and thinks money could instead be spent on ever-lasting paperbacks.

“This technology will be eventually replaced by the next advancement in electronic reading, and then you’ll have blown your money on something that not only is now obsolete but is destroying the printing industry,” Walker said.

Invoking both patriotism and Chaucer, Walker closes her argument. “It’s simply un-American, just let sleeping dogs lie.

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