From Ink to e-Ink: Reading Books in the 21st Century


Nothing beats the smell of a new book after tearing off its plastic packaging. The scent of freshly pressed ink on a newspaper as you sip your morning coffee. How about the rough or smooth texture of your favorite novel’s leaves, or a magazine’s glossy pages? Have you forgotten the glow and smile on your face after seeing the painted cover of a sought-after graphic novel? Reading is not just about feeding your mind, it’s also about feeding your sense of touch, smell, and sight. But in this day and age, do people still read printed books? With the booming growth of e-Books, is this the new format of reading? Will printed books be finally laid to rest? Let’s find out:


Revolutionizing the Tablet

5,000 years ago, the Sumerians basically invented the tablet, or the clay tablet during their day. Using a stylus, they press symbols onto these clay tablets which became the first books. Fast forward to 1998, the Rocket eBook was introduced and it amazed people. It was portable, can hold up to 10 books or eBooks, and it had a 33-hour battery life. From that year forward, a new generation of readers was formed, the “eReaders”. Since tablets are such versatile devices, from reading your favorite books to using data connections through the iPad sims from O2, the evolution of the tablet has reached full circle. But can tablet substitute that soothing feeling while reading?


Print Always Hits the Right Spot

As any book worm and they will tell you that a printed book will always hit the right spot. How? Well first, we hold books close to our hearts. It’s like cradling our child, keeping it safe and warm. Touching and leafing through the pages give us a more tactile feel of what we are reading. It helps us immerse, imagine, and be what we read. But eReader and tablet developers are getting close to re-creating the experience of reading a book. Who knows? When this day comes, tablets may also hit the right spot.


Environmental Impact and Carbon Footprints

In an interview with Living On Earth, Raz Godelnik, CEO of Eco-Libris, was asked if tablets are greener than printed books. He said “…usually when I’m asked if e-reading is greener than traditional reading of paper books, my reply is that it depends. It depends on the profile of the reader.” According to a study, printed books leave 1,074kg of CO2 while eBooks only leave 168kg of CO2. However, the Book Industry Treatise on Environmentally Responsible Publishing shows that the publishing industry is initiating programs to address environmental concerns.


This is what makes a book sell and engaging to its readers. However, a good cover is what grabs our attention and draws us to a book. We touch it, admire the art and text, and eventually read the first few pages. eBooks on the other hand, have evolved from just being text on an LCD screen and empowered people to read again. Books will always be sacred, in ink or e-ink form. The dreams, thoughts, and a part of the writer’s soul is embedded in those texts. Read it and embrace them, it might just be the thing you need to nurture your weary mind and soul.


What do  you think of the increasing number of eReaders? Are you one of them?


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