Print or pixels? The future of the book

Changing technology has certainly had an impact on books, with e-books and e-readers, the devices used to read them, becoming increasingly popular. Does this mean the end of the printed book? It doesn’t have to, as print books and e-books are appropriate in different situations and have different advantages that may make one or the other more appealing to the individual.

Here are some points to consider about each format before you get reading.


The tactile experience.
Don’t you just love the look, smell, texture and even the weight of a book? These elements provide sensory appeal to the print book and add to your reading experience. From a purely aesthetic point of view, there’s nothing like a shelf of books. Do you enjoy the serendipity of browsing through books at the library, not knowing what hidden treasures you may find?

No computer skills required
You don’t need to be computer literate to read a print book.

No reading device required
In fact, you don’t need a computer or an e reader to read a print book and you won’t reach a crucial part of the story… only to get a flat battery.

Low cost
The initial outlay to purchase an e reader can be costly. However, don’t forget it’s free to join and borrow books from the library- whether in print or digital form.

Easier to read.
Some people find print books easier to read than the digital version, however, with continuously improving technology, e- books are becoming easier to read.


You can download a book anywhere, anytime (providing you have internet access). You don’t have to wait until the library opens before you can get reading.

Never again will you have tired arms from carrying armloads of books (well up to 30) home again. The e-reader has the ability to store a number of books on the one device.

E-Books don’t burn or mildew and pages can’t get torn or become tattered (but I’d be very careful reading one in the bath).

Great for the visually impaired, dyslexic or elderly
Depending upon the e-reader device, you can change the font size, type and colour to make the e-book easier to read. Some even have text to speech software to allow the text to be read aloud.

Consider this…

Interactive or solitary reading experience?
For some, reading is a solitary experience that they treasure, an opportunity to relax, curl up with a good book and get lost in the story. For others, the digitalisation of books offers an opportunity to make reading an interactive event. E-books can contain video content, a dictionary, hyperlinks to related information, and can be easily searched.

What about your carbon footprint?
In regards to the environmental question of which method of reading is greener? The debate is still on. In any case the most environmentally friendly way to read; print or digital is to borrow from the library.

Are you considering buying an e-book reader? Or would you just like to learn more about e-books? There are a range of different e-readers available on the market; you may like to consider the following factors when making your choice.

• Is it compatible with the books you want to download?

• Does it offer the features and benefits you require?

• Is it easy to use?

Information Sessions at your Library
To find out more about e-readers and e books, come along to one of the library information sessions being held during Library & Information Week, May 23-29 2011. Bookings can be made online, or call your local library for further information.