Students face off on hot topics: E-Books vs. Paper

Makers of electronic books such as RCA hope better screens and more available titles will stimulate sales and overcome resistance to the devices.


by Jammie Schrab

Give me technology! The more space-saving, multitasking gadgets in my charging station (iPad, iPhone, laptop), the happier I am.

Electronic readers can do everything a standard book can do but better. Highlight sections, make notations in the margins, fiddle with the page corners, and bookmark all while the application saves my spot. Everything is synced to all of my devices, allowing me to read from the comfort of … well, anywhere. All packaged in a highly portable state.

Jammie Schrab

Reading an electronic format doesn’t necessarily mean being stuck in front of a computer. There are many formats to accessing the digital media – iPad, Kindle, Amazon Book Reader and smart phone. Imagine life unrestricted by weight and publishers.

My iPad weighs less than two pounds! No heavy overture such as backpacks or using my car as a locker to keep heavy books in. Cloud storage allows my library to be endless without the need to dedicate precious square footage to vulnerable paper. No trees necessary for printing, which reduces my impact on the planet, thus I’m even happier. Not even a publishing printer is needed anymore. Anyone, anywhere can write and be heard, thereby improving freedom of speech.

Learning is enhanced by being able to search for any information regardless of what chapter, or even which book it’s in, combined with integrated video, dictionary, thesaurus, and interactive elements without needing to keep track of some CD. Imagine hearing the author’s voice read passages to you out loud and literally hearing the inflections in her voice as she intends. My iPad allows me to enlarge text, change orientation and read in the dark (via the backlit LCD screen). Don’t forget about copy and paste for flash card creation, which can be kept organized all in the same device.

Next fall I’ll save more than $250 on my textbooks. Luckily, all my required books, except for the cheapest one, are available. Free previews allow multiple chapters to be read before purchase, saving me even more money. I’ll pay no hidden obligatory shipping and handling fees either. Granted, I’m ahead of the curve because not all publishers allow access to every textbook in an electronic format, but I’m content being a part of change.

I’ll never have to say goodbye to any of my favorite books, which are safely stored with notes and highlights, even if I accidentally drop it or leave it somewhere.


by Talisa Larson

Talisa Larson

Call me a bookworm, if you will, but after looking at a computer screen all day, the last thing I want to do is read a book on it, let alone on a Kindle or an iPad. There is nothing pleasurable in it for me. I love books, the weight, the feel and the smell of them.

Can you remember a favorite book from your childhood? Were the pages yellow from age or white and crisp? The sensation of color, weight and texture heightens the reader’s experience as the story transcends you into another time in space.

Part of the pleasure of being an avid reader is enjoying the cover art, as well as the author’s notes and dedications. How often do you read a sweet note from an author to his/her partner in life? Or perhaps the story was conceived for the author’s child, niece or nephew. It is these special messages, in combination with the artistry of the font printed on the page, the quotes, drawings or a flourished design that head every new chapter, that make a book a memorable keepsake for the author as well as the reader.

In addition to the artistry ingrained within a book, it’s a renewable resource. Renew, reused or recycled, books do not require a battery to be enjoyed; you can access it whenever you want. And for a one-time fee, the knowledge belongs to you, forever, because books, if taken care of, can last a lifetime. These written treasures can not only be loaned to family and friends but passed down through generations.

I walk into a bookstore with delight as I take a moment to inhale the aroma of knowledge. Walking through the rows, with my head tilted sideways, I select whichever book piques my interest. Quickly, I turn it over in my hands and look at the back cover for a description. Then, as if there’s a methodical ritual to my decision, I flip open its cover, peruse the front page and mingle with the copyright and introduction. Just before making a final decision, I read the first paragraph to see if I am interested in making it mine or just borrowing it for a short time.

Moreover, there is always the vanity of being an academic. “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” looks impressive in my hands and scholarly sitting upon the shelves in my study. Books are treasures waiting for me to hold, reference, read and appreciate repeatedly.

Your Opinion Counts: Do you prefer hard copies or electronic books?

Maria Langford

"E-book. It's convenient-less weight and prices are lower." Maria Langford, Major: Merchandise Mgmt

Stephanie Schumacher

"Paperback-It’s easier for me to highlight, keep notes and carry around. And I love the smell of books!" Stephanie Schumacher, Major: Nursing

Crystal Barba

"Paperback-I can highlight things I find important, because it allows me to be involved with the reading versus seeing and reading from a computer." Crystal Barba, Major: Fashion Design

Danielle Dudley

"Paperback: Whereas ebooks are better for the environment because you don’t have to reprint it on paper, paperbacks are more mobile and Internet access isn’t available everywhere." Danielle Dudley, Major: Fashion Design

Dulce Criss

"Paperback. I can flip back and forth between pages, whereas I find it difficult to use e-books to look for the important information I made not of in the book." Dulce Criss, Major: BES/Counseling



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