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Books vs eBooks

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ebook vs paperback

Although it may be a little too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts and all that, all the buzz around Amazon’s new Kindle Fire eBook/tablet is taking center stage. All the hype around it and other tablets like Apples successful iPad, signify a coming of age in a new breed of technology and information. Some people think that these so called tablets are nothing more than fancy eBook readers or web browsers. To many tech savvy folks out there, these gadgets are so much more than that. We live in a digital age, a modern day era of access to any and all information. Anything you could possibly want the answer to is available for you to search on the Internet with a quick Google search. Technologies such as crowd sourcing, cloud computing, and open source software are enabling the most creative technological advancements at an ever increasing speed.

Was The Kindle a Disruptive Technology?

The humble paperback is struggling to stay alive in this technologically hip day in age. Sales of paper books have been on the decline for years, no less thanks to Amazon and their innovative push to go digital with books. Amazon’s sales of eBooks now surpass those of sales of the paperback all the while brick and mortar Border’s files for bankruptcy. So was the Kindle a disruptive technology? One could argue that is the case. However, Amazon realized that they could capitalize on a market by selling digital content and saving on resources and ultimately costs by not having to deal with physical inventory and logistics for a portion of their business.

The benefit to the environment by the sale of digital assets are quite clear. All those millions of readers that are purchasing digital books and sparing thousands of trees could be viewed as modern day heroes. It’s really hard to quantify the amount of trees saved by people opting for eBooks rather than traditional paper books because of the different processes used to make paper. However, saving trees are saving trees. People sometimes buy books that barely even get used, or are read only once and then left on a bookshelf for years. For some people, especially environmentally conscious ones, that doesn’t make any sense. You wouldn’t buy a brand new pair of jeans only to wear it once and put it away to make your closet look full…right? That it is why it makes sense in this day in age to go green by choosing to go digital. Prices for eBook readers have never been cheaper since companies have been getting competitive with their offerings and prices. You don’t have to buy an expensive fancy iPad for $400 or anything like that, but rather a simple, cheaper offering is an Amazon Kindle that’ll run you a modest $79.

Books vs eBooks

The debate on whether or not eBook readers are greener than their paper versions are still being debated. Some say the carbon footprint of an iPad, Kindle, or Nook need to be taken into consideration. Sales of eBooks are still a low percentage of total paper book sales, although are gaining rapid ground. Reports in online media increasingly say that eBook sales are doubling year over year while paper book sales suffer double digit losses. Even so, paper books will most likely never fully disappear from the picture. Everyone does seem to agree that we will all convert to our technology more and more, while we forget about the traditional paper book. Books vs eBooks – sounds like the title of D-List nerd alert cinema film, but is more like the reality of the information age in which we live. The battle of the books is one fight the paper back is sure to lose by looking at the increasing sales of ebooks and the declining sales of paperbacks.

What are your thoughts on the transition to eBooks? What is your preference?

About John Tarantino (356 Posts)

My name is John Tarantino ... and no, I am not related to Quinton Tarantino the movie director. I love writing about the environment, traveling, and capturing the world with my Lens as an amateur photographer. You can connect with me via Google+ or via Twitter: Follow @EnvironmentBlog


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7 Comments on “Books vs eBooks

  1. I prefer books. They feel better on the eyes than staring at yet another screen. While a book is not quite as good for ones eyes as interacting with nature, at least it’s a surface that shifts and moves.

    Plus, ebooks require electricity to read. Once a book is made, there is no cost to read it again and again or share it, it consumes no additional resources, whereas an ebok goes on consuming resources for as long as it is read. And I’m not sure how this works with the different systems, but they could be harder or impossible to share.

    Also, the trees that go into books can be a renewable resource. New trees can be planted and grown. While I’m sure there are many factors, I’m not convinced by the whole e book phenomenon. I prefer traditional books. If you’re concerned about the costs of owning boks that just sit on home shelves, there are always libraries. Cheaper than a kindle and probably more environmentally friendly than owning books or ebooks.

      • I still haven’t broken down and gotten an e-book reader yet…mostly because I don’t read books that often anyways. But I’d like to eventually get one that maybe has more use besides just an ebook, like the Kindle Fire or Ipad…anyways, thanks for the comments guys =)

  2. Sorry Shagazki, I tend to disagree. I find that the ebooks are more user friendly than books for a few vital reasons. First ebooks save space and paper. Ebooks are not thrown in a landfill whereas physical books are. Seccond, I agree that ebooks do continue to use resources but at such a slow rate that to claim that it is more of a drain on resources than transporting and manufacturing physical books is false. Third libraries may be more environmentally friendly however they are less clean. And that is a major factor to me.

  3. Just to add to this, if you purchase renewable power through your utility company, the small amount of energy consumed for your ebook would be from clean renewable energy…my two cents

  4. I think e-books are pretty nifty and much more convenient than lugging around several standards books. They also save space in the home instead of having a shelf full of books you have you're e-books all saved in one location. I do however enjoy sitting down with a REAL book and actually turning the pages, saving my place with a bent corner or favorite book mark, and adding it to my collection of real books once finished. Call me old-fashioned but that's just how I like my books. I may indulge in e-books in the future, but they will never replace my love of the real thing. Nice article.

  5. The headline was certainly intriguing, but the article raises more questions than answers. I think there are many things to factor in against both types. For paper books, bear in mind they are increasingly ordered online, which involves a high volume of individual shipments, as well as often excessive packaging.

    I've read that a Toyota Prius – for all its savings in gas – is a net loss to the environment compared with a regular car. For convenience, Im leaning toward e-books unless there's strong evidence that paper books are more environmentally friendly.

    Claudius Jaeger, Jaeger Aeration

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