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The Real Cost Of eReaders: 6 Things We’re Losing To eBooks

The Real Cost Of eReaders

More than 143 Kindle eBooks are purchased for every 100 print books sold and, with the rising popularity of eReaders, those eBook numbers are only set to increase. Yet, what is being lost as eBooks become more popular? Check out these examples of what is suffering as eBook sales rise, including local bookstores and environmental health.

Environmental Health

eBook advocates say they are saving trees by no longer purchasing printed books.  Yet, according to a recent study by Sierra Club, eReaders are only the environmentally friendly choice if you are reading more than 40 books each year.

Also, with new eReader versions continually being released, consumers aren’t likely to hold onto their old versions for years and years, leaving the question of what will happen to all that electronic waste.

Book Quality

With the ease of online self-publishing has come a wave of low quality books riddled with misspellings and lack luster plots. Traditionalists fear that this is leading to an overall lowering of quality in the book industry and an increasing notion that anyone can become an author, even if they can’t construct a simple sentence.

Book Lending

Lending a must-read novel to others is rewarding and is a great way to minimize the costs you and your friends spend on books. Unfortunately, eBook sellers want to maintain their profits and, as such, are doing what they can to prevent readers from sending the eBooks they have purchased to friends.

If you’re accustomed to swapping print books with friends and family, prepare for a drastic change when buying an eReader.

Used Books

Most new books are expensive. Traditionally, this has left frugal readers or those on a budget browsing for used print books.

In the world of online reading though, used books simply don’t exist. Sure, eBooks may typically be lower in cost than their print counterparts but the costs can still add up quickly.

Browsing Experiences

While an online shopping website offers convenience, there’s something nostalgic about browsing for books in a library or used bookstore. Many who grew up with print books understand the romance of reading a book’s inside cover and of that unmistakable blend of ink and paper that greets one’s nose while paging through a novel.

As eBook sales continue to beat down the traditional book industry, today’s younger generations are in danger of never enjoying those print book browsing experiences.

Historical Artifacts

Today’s museums are filled with artifacts of ancient societies. Those artifacts offer clues into how ancient civilizations lived and the beliefs they held.

If eBooks someday completely replace paper books, how will future civilizations access them, to touch them with their hands? Technology is sure to evolve drastically in the generations ahead and eBooks that are readable today will likely be lost into cyber nothingness.

The technological times are changing, but one benefit of eBooks remains despite the threats they pose to traditional books. In an increasingly wired world filled with fears that technology is dumbing down society, at least people are still reading.

Amanda Brown is a Tech writer who also enjoys playing and coaching volleyball.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments
Andrew - February 15, 2013

All interesting points and stuff I did worry about before diving into ab dresser. The lending thing especially. Though as more friends got dressers there were fewer books to borrow. Which probably lends evidence to the point. The artifact point is interesting but I kind of think even now most artifactong is done electronically and an copy is easier to keep accurate than a book or microfilm that degrades.

We lose things with every tech change. Which is unfortunate but probably inevitable. Maybe it will mean in the long run that more people will read and may’ve more authors will learn to write.

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Alan - February 15, 2013

Great article, totally agree. One of the best things about books is borrowing/lending them and discussing/arguing about them

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    Amanda - February 21, 2013

    I agree totally! I am actually thinking about starting a book club.

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Carolyn - February 16, 2013

Hi Jane, You bring up some great points. There is nothing like browsing through a bookstore, discovering some new favorite books. The smell of a real book and the feel in your hand are things that can’t be replicated by ebooks.

Amazon is making Kindle books sharable now. You can lend books to friends and borrow ebooks from the library.

My fear is that publishers switch over to ebooks exclusively at some point because the cost of publishing is significantly reduced. But then the ebook format becomes obsolete and suddenly the written word has been wiped out.

How many cassette tapes do you listen to?

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Sarah Park - February 17, 2013

I still enjoy reading hard bound books compared to eBooks.

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Joy - February 18, 2013

I don’t know about you but I’d still prefer the scent of old and new books. Maybe because I’m a 25-year old bookworm who grew up reading real books, not e-books. They may deteriorate in quality with the test of time, but then again, e-books will never replace that love of books which I know is withing most of us right now.

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Donna Kiritharan - February 18, 2013

I’ve started reading at quite an early age, there was something about flipping though pages of new books and the smell of old ones that was exhilarating. Although I love my iPad and it being able to stock tons of books. I’d still prefer to read traditional books.

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Kelly - February 19, 2013

I’d still prefer hard copy, bold print over e-readers. That’s because I grew up with books, I first imagined fairy tales and castles because of books. And I’d never trade them for the convenience and accesibility of e-readers. For one thing, I find it very rewarding when you have to hunt down for a book that you want, than just be searching it on the internet and downloading it as your own.

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Stacey - February 19, 2013

I was really moved by the sixth aspect. It’s because I’m quite concerned about the welfare of those books, and the future generations as well. I mean, how can our kids value something that they can’t even touch right?

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Nishadha - February 21, 2013

Glad you have mentioned some of the things we’re starting to miss because of e-readers. I still enjoy reading a proper hard bound book in the weekend. But I have to admit that e-readers actually contribute to people reading more. Not everyone carries a book but almost everyone carries a smart phone nowadays. The number of people reading books while traveling has increased because of the e-readers. So in a sense it is advantageous.

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Sandra - February 21, 2013

I just love how eBooks are working for me. It’s economical and light in the purse. I can read whenever and wherever if I just have my kindle with me.

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Rajib - March 4, 2013

While I definitely agree with some of your points like browsing experience and convenience of buying used books at low price, still I think eBooks have their own advantages too. nowadays most people carry a smartphone , Tab ect. They can carry and read a lot of eBooks in their phone and read them whenever they get a chance. This feature surely increases the readership and sells of books.

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