Do We Still Give A Fook About The Book? | Daniel Boland


Who among us can resist the smell of a new book? There is no greater pleasure than finding an excellent book and submerging yourself in its world. With libraries and bookshops everywhere, the choice couldn’t be greater when selecting a book, but with a new kid on the block could we be seeing the demise of the paper book? The e-book is becoming an increasingly popular choice for the avid reader on the go, but you need a device to store all these electronic editions of your favourite novels.

The e-book reader comes in all shapes and forms as many companies took a bite out of the market. The most popular e-reader is the Amazon Kindle with various models available depending on what you need to use the device for or, more importantly, the amount of money you have to spend on the device. For the basis of this article I am going to take the base model of the Amazon Kindle which retails at around €85. This model holds over 1000 books, which means you will have your work cut out trying to fill the device. It begs the question: why buy an e-reader when you have to pay for both the device and the books?

With a little research it seems that e-books are considerably cheaper. Using an example I priced The Hobbit at €9.99 in a retailer’s for a physical copy and €5.45 for the e-book online. So while the device may seem costly, you could be getting a digital version of your favourite book for almost half price.

The e-reader also features a dictionary within the device, meaning you can scroll down to a difficult word and the definition is there on the screen. That is extremely handy, but I prefer the little notes left in almost every library book I borrow; an e-reader dictionary would never tell me ‘Ruth loves various body parts’ the way a library book does.

KS-slate-02-lg._V399249911_It is obvious a physical book doesn’t consume energy but this isn’t something you necessarily need to worry about with an e-reader either. The base model Kindle estimates one month’s worth of battery life, but from my own experience I would say closer to three weeks depending on the amount you read, which isn’t bad for three hours’ worth of charging. In terms of how long you would be away from a socket to charge the e-reader I couldn’t see the battery life being a big issue.

There is one area where paperback books will always win in my opinion and that is comic books or graphic novels. The vivid details shown in the artwork of a graphic novel is something that can never fully be authenticated on an e-reader. With regards to the base model Kindle graphic novels are off limits as it is strictly black e-ink, as I mentioned you can upgrade to a device with a colour display but for quite a bit more money.

Like all technology, an e-reader is at risk of technical fault through damage or fault. Again, the physical book cannot be beaten in this regard other than pages falling out and going missing which, let’s be honest, is a readers worst nightmare. Proper care and maintenance of the device should mean very little problems in this regard.

A great feature of an e-book is the lack of a cover; this means the reader has privacy regarding what they are reading. This means you can safely read Fifty Shades of Grey on the bus going to work without getting funny looks from the other passengers.

I could tell you an e-reader is a must have piece of technology, which it is, but most people still love the feeling of buying a good paperback book and devouring it page by page. For every 100 books sold by Amazon last year, 114 e-books were sold, which means the electronic book isn’t going anywhere any time soon.