BY TAYLOR MANDEL
As sophomore Lauryn Lovins gets ready for bed, she turns off her light and prepares to read her book for school- but, it isn’t just an ordinary book. Lauryn is reading an electronic book, also known as an e-reader. She is not the only person who has traded in her paperback books for this new device. This high-tech electronic book is taking the world by storm with its striking features and its clutter-free form.
Many companies are latching on to this new trend. By the end of 2011, 10.3 million people are expected to own e-readers in the U.S. From Amazon’s Kindle to Barnes and Noble’s Nook, even to Apple’s iPad, e-readers are quickly replacing paperback books. In an age where paper products are being supplanted by the Internet, e-readers are becoming popular for many reasons.
Rather than purchasing books at a store, electronic books allow you to easily buy as many books as you want, directly from the portable device. All you have to do is set up an account, go to the search box, type in the name of the book or author you are looking for, and select the book you would like to purchase. Once the book downloads on the device, it is all yours to read. Since dozens of books can be uploaded on the device at one time, they are much easier to lug around than big, bulky books are. In addition, the light up screen, adjustable font, and bookmark feature help establish that all e-readers are geared at making reading as simple and enjoyable as possible.
“For me, real reading is for e-books and paperback books have become this kind of collector’s object,” said Mr. Hanas, a publisher that was interviewed by the New York Times.
Newer e-books contain even better features, such as the Color Nook. It contains a basic built in Web browser, a music player, and an image and video viewer. There’s also a microSD memory-card slot so you can increase the Nook’s storage from 8 gigabytes (6,000 books) to 40 gigabytes (35,000 books).
Although e-readers have most of the world’s approval, some people feel that technology is pushing its limits.
“There needs to be grounds for where technology ends,” sophomore Erica Hausdorff said. “This is too much. It’s making Americans lazy; just go out to the store like a normal person and buy a book.”
That’s not the only reason why some people aren’t attracted to e-readers. Many people, especially the older generations, feel as if there is much more emotional attachment to the paper book than there is to the digital device.
“Consistently the number one thing we heard was it needs to feel like a book, so you just forget that you have a device in your hand,” said President of Sony’s Digital Reading Division Steve Haber in an interview with the New York Times.
The bigger question that haunts us is how will the new device affect people who sell books for a living? As more and more people transfer to e-readers, salespeople won’t get paid as much. Eventually, there might not even be jobs for those who sell books. The publishing companies will also be in trouble. They won’t have to print as many copies of books as they used to, causing major income losses.
In an attempt to prevent the decline of the publishing companies, some publishers and bookstores are bundling print books with e-books at a discount. Barnes and Noble began offering bundles in June at about 50 stores and carried on the program throughout the fall. By contributing more floor space to advertising the Nook, Barnes and Noble allows customers to test out the product before buying it.
In spite of the complications, E-readers are a great new addition to society. There will always be those who will never give up their old-fashioned paperback books for the new device, but to a new generation of book lovers, E-readers are here to stay.
“E-readers are much more convenient than regular paperback books,” Lovins said. “I think they are very beneficial and are good for people of all ages.”