eBooks versus paper books

Do you love reading? Well so do I. There is nothing more exciting than opening up a new book, smelling the pages and losing oneself in the new adventures awaiting me. A few days ago I was presented with a dilemma though, I was gifted an eBook reader and am not sure what to make of it.

Just a few seconds after unwrapping the device a range of contradicting feelings started stirring inside me. Thoughts such as, how can I read a book without having to turn its pages, are eBook readers bad for my eyes, which is cheaper, the paper book or the eBook; popped up, so I decided to investigate the matter further.

So far my research has included browsing for information and others opinions online and actually trying out my eBook. I decided to gather all my findings in a pro and con list to see who winning the race, the electronic or the paper version.

eBooks

Pro:

No trees need to be cut down for me to be able to indulge in my excessive reading habits.

I can carry an entire library worth on my eBook reader, it takes everything from workbooks, novels, cookbooks, self-help books and many more – one of my personal favourite features of the eBook.

I can change the font size easily to suit my eye sight.

There is no more frantic searching for quotes and passages I liked in books, now I can easily mark them easily and go back to access them any time I want.

eBooks can be quickly downloaded and cost a lot less than classic paper books.

Cons:

They are battery operated and nothing is more annoying than finding yourself on a train, keen to pull out your book and read it, just to find it has run out of charge.

eBooks are not free of bugs and can freeze up just like your computer or laptop do.

Spilling your coffee on your eBook can break the entire thing and all your books, notes and saved passages might be lost forever

Paper Books

Pro:

Books don’t need power to work, you just open them and start reading.

Packaging and covers can make paper books into works of art.

Second hand books have a mystical aura and remind us of how one single book can enrich the lives of so many people.

Cons

Bookstores all over the country are closing down and paper books are becoming more and more expensive.

They can be heavy if you need to transport a lot of them, at Uni or for school for example.

Storing them can take up a lot of space.

They are flammable and can be destroyed in large numbers at once, just think of the famous burning of the library of Alexandria.

Paper cuts, we all know this terrible pain

I guess my little list speaks for itself and I have to say, I never thought of myself as an eBook enthusiast, but it turns out I can be. I haven’t stopped buying paper books, but the truth is, I have grown to love my eBook! You can too, just give it a try.

Children need books

If you have children at home do not deprive them of the wonderful adventures and journeys they can only partake in through reading books. Not all children will pick up a book on their own and start reading it, they need encouragement. It is a sad fact that some prisons in this world have more libraries than some schools do, so it is up to you, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to get children to read. Emilie Buchwald, the author of children’s books such as Floramel and Esteban or Buddy Unchained, put it well, when she said: “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

It is crucial to start them off young, so start reading them fairy tales and fables before bed. Fables in particular help the very young among us learn morals and can teach kids to understand right from wrong in a fun, playful way. Reading to your children when they are young also creates a special emotional bond between parents and kids. So get them books and get them lots of them.

Books help children develop their language skills and expand their vocabulary later in life. Reading also assist them in developing critical thinking skills and will encourage children to think and use their imagination. Nothing expands your world as much as reading, picture books have the power to introduce children to exotic animals and places they didn’t even know existed. Books don’t just help us understand the world around us, but also teach us more about ourselves. We can find similarities between characters of stories we read or find idols we strive to be like.

Most of all books all us, all of us, young and old, to take part in adventures we never even thought possible. We can go on fantastic journeys across the seven seas, travel the entire world in 80 days, experience life in the Wild West or become best friends with Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timothy and join them on their search for hidden gold in old dungeons. Books have so much to give, so go out there in pursuit of some of the great children’s stories, such as:

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

To just name a few.

Zero History by William Gibson

Zero-History-coverZero History follows on from Spook Country, but does not contain the character of Tito, whose storyline was concluded fairly satisfactorily. The location of the book has been changed to London, but the characters of Henry and Milgrim have kept on – and developed fairly well. It’s fascinating to see these characters again, and follow their interactions and adventures in a totally different setting.

This work mainly concerns itself with fashion and the stock market – not the most initially fascinating of subjects, but some ones that Gibson describes very well and expounds on at length. As with Spook Country, Gibson shows himself to have a masterful knowledge of his subject matter and approaches the subject of fashion from an angle few would expect of a science fiction writer. It’s a fairly stereotypical but somewhat accurate assumption that most any science fiction writers would look at fashion, clothing and garment industries with some disdain and a lack of understanding: they are sectors of the world that are fairly often derided, despite their importance. However, Gibson shows himself to know a thing or two about clothes: and he puts this knowledge to good use in integrating fashion and the nature of garments into the plot excellently.

Essentially, Henry and Milgrim are now working for the same company, investigating a very specific and secretive brand of clothing to determine what makes it so cool. This plotline works its way throughout the entire novel, and is handled very well – and provides an interesting counterpoint to the rest of the plot, which is mainly concerned with corporate espionage and continues the locative and geographic-based themes of Gibson’s previous work, Spook Country.

In this novel, Gibson fleshes his characters out more and provides more depth – his previous works were a little distant and contained characters that were a little more aloof, but Zero History is approachable and easy to read. It feels a lot less of a struggle to keep up with the plot, as well – generally, there is more of a sense that you want to continue reading, rather than backtrack and make sense of what has been happening. From a purely selfish point of view, the inclusion of some Melbourne-based plot points made it very easy to continue to read, even just to see what Gibson had to say about the Melbourne locations he was talking about.