Age of Technology: Might Not be Replacing the Classics After All

“The world is in the palm of your hand”…. Literally! With technology at our fingertips, information hasn’t been more accessible. One way to easily acquire information is an Ebook. Unlike the paperback, Ebooks can be ordered instantaneously at any time or place, whether you’re waiting to board your plane at 9 PM or hiding under the covers at 3 AM. Some people prefer this easy access, while others still love the classic paperback.

Paperback books haven’t gone out of style yet. For some reason, the generation born with an iPhone in their hand, still loves to have a printed copy. The physical novels have a certain je ne sais quoi, according to Molly Waters ‘16, who says, “There’s something about just holding a gold old fashioned book.”

In fact, the majority of the BHS population prefers physical copies of novels. Many believe that Ebooks hinder their reading rather than help it. “It’s annoying to have to keep charging your books,” according to Christina Franzese ‘18. Plus, reading from a screen can negatively impact physical health, specifically your eyes. Computer Vision Syndrome can develop from staring at your screen. Zachary Loth ‘18, explains “Computer Vision Syndrome disables you from closing your eyes and can cause temporary blindness, permanent blindness, and short term memory loss.” Students, including Michaela Guzzetti ‘16, have experienced eye pain after reading Ebooks.

Print copies are much less of a hassle for teens, and make it easier to share books. According to Nielsen’s consumer studies, teens have a “penchant for borrowing and sharing books rather than purchasing them, which is easier to do in print.” If a friend suggests a book, they can simply lend you the printed copy they have at home. If you’re very stingy and not 100% sure that you’ll love a book enough to spend $10 on it, you can pick up a physical copy from the local library. Plus, there’s something about perusing through the shelves of a library or book store that teens love. According to Nielsen, over half of teens are still turning to bookshelves for their newest read.

The physicality of printed books is also an appeal. Julia Schettler ‘18 states, “I like holding a book.” Christina Franzese ‘18 agrees, saying “I also like turning the pages, it gives me a sense of my progress.” Ms. Christensen also feels a sense of accomplishment after completing a book. She says, “I like to keep [books] on my shelf like trophies.” On the other hand, Ebooks lack this physical connection to their reader. “[Ebooks] are just data and you can’t do much with that,” says Michael Chittem ‘18.

There are many people who recognize the benefits of both. Ms.Wismar, BHS Media Specialist, stated that she prefers a balance between the two. As a librarian, she is able to access books all the time, but she secretly loves her E-reader Paperweight. Due to her love for Ebooks as well as the fact that the seniors now have school-issued iPads, Ms. Wismar has started an Ebook collection in the Media Center. She has even put signs near the books stating that they are featured in the online collection to encourage students to check them out. So far, the collection includes 60 fictional Ebooks to choose from.

Ms. Fernand, BHS English Department Chair, also recognizes the advantages of both paperback novels and Ebooks. She comments, “I like the Ebook for its easiness but I love the smell of paper and reading a physical copy.” Fernand also acknowledges the fact that with an Ebook, you “always have a book at your fingertips, and nothing makes [her] happier.”

Although Ms. Rotherham, BHS English Teacher, does not have a preference, she always carries her E-reader with her. She loves to use it for traveling so she “can take more books with [her].” Ms. Christensen also sees the benefits of travelling with Ebooks.

The votes are in, and the winner is clearly… paperback books. There’s just something about holding a book that appeals to the BHS population, so don’t expect an Ebook take over just yet.

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