With the debate on eBooks vs ‘real’ books trending in the education arena at the moment, we are interested to hear your thoughts around the pros and cons.
So what arguments are sparking the debate?
As technology advances in the 21st century, eBooks are said to represent the future of reading and education. The use of eBooks presents a compelling case in the eyes of many educators, as the digital format allows students to interact with the materials, making content more engaging for students. Their reduced cost compared to print books is said to ease the financial burden on school budgets, as well as lessen the toll on the environment. However, eBook purchases are declining, as seen in the stats below.
Stats on eBooks:
- 28% of Americans reported reading an eBook in 2016.
- Also in 2016, eBooks accounted for 16.9% of total book sales, a decline from 19% in 2015
“The heavenly library: one whose books I need never stack and shelve and pack and ship; whose books are available to me anywhere, any time; are never mis-shelved, never eaten by silverfish; caused no trees to be harmed in their production, no oil to be spent on their transport; one whose books are swiftly and easily searched, who give up their content without complaint.”
“eBooks offer more than just words on a page; they allow the possibility of transformative ways of making or of consuming a literary work, incorporating images, moving text, audio text, literary experiment and all.”
Jen Webb, Professor of Creative Practice, University of Canberra
It may be said that physical books are ‘technologically obsolete’, however studies suggest that the future of ‘real’ books remains prominent in the eyes of consumers. The recent slowdown in eBook sales has been reciprocated by a spark in ‘real’ book sales.
‘Real’ books are said to have provenance, they evoke nostalgia and provide comfort to readers beyond what an eBook can provide. This is perhaps because of the genuine tactile experience we associate with reading – with the feel and look of a book impacting on our reading experience. In terms of educational attributes, ‘real’ books are found to help young students concentrate better, read with greater clarity, and analyse text more critically – do you agree?
Stats on ‘real’ books:
- A 2013 survey found 62% of 16 to 24-year olds preferred print books to eBooks.
- 65% of Americans reported reading a printed book in 2016.
“Books offer the pleasure, joy and responsibility of engaging page by page with something as honest as the creases and marks of time”
Paul Magee, Associate Professor of Poetry, University of Canberra
“To her [Julie Meier] part of the joy of reading is the book itself: “pulling it from the shelf, inspecting the cover, letting it fall open to a random page”
Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
Where do you stand?
Let us know in the comments.