Are Books Still Important in This Digital Age?

There are so many ways of consuming written information in the world of today. There are eBook readers, smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, and audio books. Compared to the traditional method of reading printed books, all these are alternative and more effective methods for consuming written information. It makes one question the significance of printed books in this time and age. How long will printed books survive? Will they maintain their value? How long will schools keep using printed textbooks? The questions will keep popping up as new and more effective methods of consuming written information are introduced. Let’s evaluate the value of books together, in this digital age.

Convenience

You can read a book anywhere and at any time. You don’t necessarily need electricity to read a book, apart from at night when electricity is the source of light. Still, under a lantern, flashlight, or candle, you can read a book. Furthermore, books don’t spoil easily. You can spill water on them, but provided you wipe it off fast, the book will survive. Printed books can handle some roughness. You can hit someone with them. Roll them and put them in your pocket. Sleep on them accidentally or intentionally use them as pillows. You can also arrange and pile a bunch of them and use them as a mattress.

The main drawback digital books have is that the devices used to view them need electricity to function and they can be easily damaged. Otherwise, from my point of view, when it comes to convenience, digital books are better. As long as the devices required to view them have power, you can read them wherever and whenever you like. The best thing about them is that you can have so many of them in a lightweight device. An eBook reader can contain an entire physical library or even several physical libraries. In printed form, you can’t carry more than 10 books, unless you are that determined, you have to, or you are being punished for something. Digital books save space at our homes, in our backpacks, libraries, and they mean fewer trees will be cut to print books.

So What Happens Next?

I believe you have figured out by now that in the foregoing section, I have suggested that digital books are better than printed books. And it’s true. However, it is going to be a while before digital books overwhelm printed books. As you read this, fewer people are buying newspapers. Most people have smartphones and they can get whatever information they need about the world’s current events using them. But still, there are those who buy newspapers. In schools, there are digital copies of textbooks that students use for their courses. However, not all books are available in digital format, and not all students have access to the resources required to access books in digital formats. For the sake of consistency and fairness, schools still value printed forms of textbooks to give their students an equal opportunity to access the material required to pass their respective courses. Booksrun blog highlights more values of books to students in this time and age.

Magazines and other private journals are still thriving because there are still people who appreciate them; mostly those who have been subscribers to these materials for years. Nevertheless, I still feel is it more convenient to access all forms of written material using digital media. There is no written material I can think of that cannot be presented better in digital form. The advantages are just far too many compared to printed media.

Books and other printed media have been around for centuries. You can search Google for most copies of books you would like to read, but don’t be surprised to discover that there are books that search engines know nothing about. Search engines can only give you results from their databases. If the results you are looking for exists nowhere in their database, chances are that you won’t find it. What I’m saying here is that print media is a vast collection and it will take a while before all the most important aspects of it have been transformed to digital. Ultimately, digital media will win because we are heading toward an age where all information will be consumed digitally.

If you are a student, think about it! I bet you have already scanned some pages of your book to share with a friend or taken photos of pages of a book for reference purposes. Now, wouldn’t it have been easier if the books you scanned or took snaps of had been in digital format? You could just have gotten a copy of the book in your phone. Instead of just pages of the book, you could have the entire book. And its size would be the same as that of one of the photos you took using your phone, or the scans you made using a scanner.

Books are still important today because it will take time to digitize print media. Furthermore, not everyone has access to information in digital format. Be that as it may, we are headed toward an age where digital media will dominate and books and printed media will exist only in museums.

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