Today: Jun 25, 2024

The battle of the paperback vs. e-books

Nicole Dellolio Opinions Editor

With today’s changing technology, it seems that people’s reading habits have evolved from reading actual books to reading on electronic tablets such as the iPad and other e-readers.

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2012, “The percentage of Americans aged 16 and older who read an e-book grew from 16 percent in 2011 to 23 percent this year. Readers of traditional books dropped from 72 percent to 67 percent.”

Bookstores such as Barnes and Noble have adapted to this new trend and have created an e-reader of their own called the Nook. This e-reader gives consumers the option of directly purchasing eBooks from Barnes and Noble at the touch of a button.

This new technology has directly affected college students because they are faced with the choices of whether to purchase textbooks or eTextbooks for their classes. Now, when you are on the SCSU bookstore website figuring out which books to buy, it gives you new options of buying or renting eTextbooks. In most cases it is cheaper to rent an eTextbook rather than a copy of the hardcover book, so students have to decide which option is the right one for them.  When I use Chegg to rent my books, the company always sends me a digital copy of them so that if I need to use it before the books arrive they are at my disposal.


Being an avid reader has lead me to appreciate the quality of holding a book in my own hands. Call me old-fashioned but it’s a completely different feeling holding an e-reader in your hands than flipping through actual pages in a book. I always thought that if I were to bring an e-reader to the beach or to school it would immediately get ruined and would somehow break, but many people do not feel that way. Walking around campus the past week I have seen a lot of students sitting in the Bagel Wagon or on a bench reading on their tablets.

The newest Kindle is as thin as most magazines nowadays and books are delivered wirelessly in less than a minute without any computer necessary.  Contrast to reading on an actual computer, there is no glare because the screen doesn’t use any backlighting so it can be read easily in the bright sun.

According to Hubpages, “You can purchase and wirelessly download Kindle books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs from the Kindle Store as well as download and read other types of non text-based content on your Kindle.”

While this makes purchasing content easier, I still feel obligated to go out and purchase an actual copy of the text.


Coming into the first week of classes, I noticed that many teachers were also using these tablets instead of bringing their own laptops to class. This is probably due to the fact that they are easy to transport and they share the same applications as a regular laptop.

According to the Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2011, “Roughly one-quarter of the college presidents surveyed say they use a tablet computer several times a day. Nearly one-in-ten use an e-reader this often.”

It’s debatable about whether or not to convert to this new fad because e-books are less expensive and are able to be downloaded to your phone, tablet, computer, etc., without ever having to leave the comfort of your own house. I may give into this fad in the future as its popularity grows, but for now I’ll stick with my good old-fashioned books.

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