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Real books or E-books? Why?

11 votes
6 debaters

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Real books

May 27, 2012
1 convinced
I like real books just because of the whole sensory thing. The smell, the feel of them; you can really experience the time in which they were written.

E-books have their benefits of course; they're compact, easy to handle etc.

I suppose it's just a personal preference.

Jeff Bile
May 17, 2012
0 convinced
Because they are real.

Jeff Bile
May 17, 2012
0 convinced
Rebuttal to: joryrferrell Show

(1) You like them
(2) Durability: "Obviously" Really, an EMP, power grid shutdown, or device drop and its over.
(3) E means electric, and electricity doesn't grow on trees. I appreciate that we cut too many down, But we also put too many carcinogens, too much Co2, in the air through electrical production. E-books worsen that. It also consumes resources to create the delivery devices.
(4) "Probably" no trees wiithout ebooks really? Riddle me this. Do we have more trees now that we have ebooks than we did before?
(5) By reducing the costs you talk aout there is no barrier to the publication of really bad books. So you may be right tha if we were to make paper books out of all tha junk we would lose a lot of trees. But the point is, no one would waste resources on that junk.
(6) Ebooks are cost effective for those who can most afford to buy books but price most of the world's population (who cannot afford delivery devices) out of the books. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Progress?

Subham Sibasish
Mar 04, 2013
0 convinced
Here are my arguments why real books are better:
(1) Everyone can use it: One needn't know how to use modern gadgets to read paper books, whereas in case of e-books, elderly people and young children will definitely face problem while using the sophisticated gadgets required to read an e-book.
(2) High cost of e-book gadgets: The cost of kindle or other e-book readers may seem very less to you but in many poor countries, it is more than people's weekly income. Whereas, one can read paper books easily in libraries or by buying the cheap books.
(3)Durability: Paper books,if taken proper care of, can definitely be kept safely for years.
(4)Even e-books require electricity to be read,shared and downloaded and in many countries electricity matters much more than trees.
(5) The feel of the paper books can be replaced by nothing. They will always have a special place in the minds of readers. No e-book has been sold as much as paper book. This fact definitely proves that people still prefer real paper books to e-books.

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May 23, 2012
1 convinced
Rebuttal to: Jeff Bile Show

(2) Durability: Do you want to talk about long term preservation, or short term durability as to an individual?

As to an individual: With an ebook, if you drop your device, you go on Amazon and redownload your ebook. You have a copy forever (and can read on mutliple devices/computers so dont give me the "as long as you keep buying Kindles" crap). Paperbook. You lose/destroy it, you need to purchase a new one each time. Ebooks win here, easy.

As to long term meaning, what will future civilizations be able to recover after we're gone. Paper has been shown to last hundreds of years if well persevered. Digital, it depends on formats, but could potentially last much longer (say on a decent hard drive).

As to disasters, the specifics you name I dont know that they would wipe hard drives. Other then device drop (previously explained) your disasters are pretty rare (power grid shutdown has never wiped any of my hard drives, and EMP has never gone off in history). On the other hand, books. Are they susceptible to anything? Oh thats right, fire. You know really common occurrence. People set them purposefully, sometimes for the specific purpose of destroying books. Theres some debate as to this issue, but I think ebooks win.

(3). Electricity is not necessarily ungreen. It mostly is now, but has the potential to be produced mostly by clean means (solar, wind, etc). Books, however, will always be produced by cutting down trees. which means oil burning construction equipment cutting down forests. Not a bright future there.

(4) I think the point is take all the information currently being used in electronic form (take every email sent, every pdf or word document shared, every ebook downloaded, and every web page on the internet (including facebook/twitter)). And print that bad boy out. Do we have any trees left? Two? We have two trees after that printout? Well 2 to the tenth gigabites more information has been posted, hit print.

So much information has been shared and continues to be shared because we dont have to worry about the cost of paper. If I were mailing this post to you, or submitting via some newsletter, it would be a hella lot shorter so I wouldnt have to pay to print it. But its not :-)

(5) Quality is in the eye of the beholder. Most people would argue that taking the big publishers out of the mix has allowed better books to get through. Publishers only publish (because of the costs) what will make a profit. And what makes a profit is the books that appeal to a wide audience. And books that may become the "classics" often do not initially appeal to wide audiences.

Open it up, let people say what they have to say and let the people decide if it is worth anything, instead of trusting some big corporation to act as a choke point depriving people the opportunity to even read certain books.

(6) I think your right, as of now. But, the Raspberry PI (google it) was just released and costs 25 USD. Fully functional computer, can read ebooks fine. Costs less then a hard cover book (which can read one book) and can read an infinite number of ebooks. Cost of ebooks readers is coming down to. Basic Kindle is at 70 bucks now.

Ebooks are cheaper - because they dont have to be printed (requiring paper) assembled (requiring humans and/or machines - which cost money), dont have to be shipped (no packaging, trucks, ships, rails, planes, etc), and dont require stores (cost of employees, stocking, overhead of the store (electric, heating, etc), and the stores profit).

Cut all that stuff out, and your left with an ebook, content sent directly to the consumer. Sure, there is an initial hurdle of having a device to read it (and as pointed out that initial cost is pretty small and getting smaller) but after that the cost savings are amazing.

Ebooks bring far greater possibilities for learning to the poor then expensive paper bound books.

May 16, 2012
0 convinced
While I like having physical copies, e-books are much better in terms of durability obviously. Also, a single online version can propagate into an infinite number, without cutting a single tree down. While we do harm the environment to make a computer, in at least the sense of info retention, I think the ability to store, transmit, and retrieve books to a much higher level, in the same amount of space. A netbook is about the size of a large hardback volume, yet holds hundreds/thousands ( and soon, billions) of times more info than the single book, and replaces the need to use raw materials for each transfer of data(creating a new book). If we were to create as many copies of electronic books, pictures, dissertations, etc., etc. as actually exist on hard-drives right now, the earth would probably have no trees left.

E-books are superior in their cost effectiveness (nearly free to distribute, and so less risk for unsold material), virtually indestructible,
and do less harm to the environment.

Philippe Ingels
Jun 03, 2012
0 convinced
We are only at the very beginning of this technology revolution. Books are a medium for transferring stories into memory and experiences. Books have done this very well but it is silly to think that it is the best possible way of doing so. E-books are currently trying to match the experience plus it adds some features just because it can. Once we've figured out how to get to the same experience we will be ready to enhance this experience and the sky is the limit. I read both 'real' books and e-books but once the technology gets to a point where it truly enhances the experience the 'real' books will feel stale and antiquated.


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