Reno1Emily RenoMs. BennettBritish Literature25 March 2012 The Positive and Negative Impact of E-Readers Before delving into this topic, research had to be done to uncover what an e-reader reallywas. Just with a single click, an avid reader can begin a collection of books in a single slim andsleek device. Hundreds of books soon fill the device right in the reader‟s fingertips. According toDictionary.com, an e-reader is a portable electronic device used for reading books and other textmaterials that are in digital form. But how is it made? What does it take to make it? How does itimpact the world? What are the prospects for a possible bookless future? No one ever takes thetime to ask those questions. All the authors and readers of the world see is something to make theworld of literature more efficient and, in some cases, more bearable. The basic e-reader is a shinynew toy that publishers love until it breaks and needs to be replaced. In order to fully understandhow such a promising product could be potentially bad, an examination of the basic e-reader isnecessary. To give an intriguing fact, a single electronic reader has a minimum library that can holdup to fifty volumes. E-readers are produced by various companies –not just one manufacturer.The most common e-readers out there are the Amazon Kindle, the Nook, and the Apple iPad. Atfirst, the Kindle and Nook were strictly for reading, but since Apple added books to the iPadmarket, Kindle and Nook released new designs using touch screen, expanded capacity, andadded similar features that compete with the iPad. Though the Apple iPad may have morefeatures than the basic e-reader, the Kindle competes by having different kinds of the product
Reno2including one with a matte screen for easy reading in sunlight. But how they are made, maydishearten some avid readers. In “Brave New Book World,” throughout the article, there is nothing but positivefeedback on e-readers and how they will make a difference in the world of literature. The authorof the article believes that e-readers will save publishing by making it easier, the economy bybringing in more money from book sales, and the environment by reducing the use of trees.NicBoshart states, “The internet, meanwhile, helps level the field for authors and independentpublishers everywhere, enabling them to reach an international readership. There will still beblockbuster books, but there will also be a more equitable distribution of sales among other titles.Using social media, authors can build and maintain a global audience.” Where it may be a breezeto publish books now with this new found technology, are all of those statements true? Alsoaccording to “Brave New Book World,” the author believes that paperback books will be the firstto disappear from books‟ physical existence. If avid readers read that article and that articlealone, they would only see the benefits to owning an e-reader like an empty bookshelf. As readin the article entitled “Are E-Books Any Good,” “according to School Library Journal‟s (SLJ)2011 technology survey, only 29 percent of elementary schools had e-books in their collections,compared to 64 percent of high schools. Online e-books have been typically seen as extras, meredrops in the bucket when it comes to a library‟s goal of exposing young readers to new storiesand high-quality children‟s literature (Guernsey).” But as the years progress and technologyexpands, becoming more appealing, schools are now broadening their e-reading library. At first, the basic e-reader put out to be a very promising and satisfying product, butwhen researching the rather multifaceted manufacturing process, nothing seems to be aspromising as it first seemed to be. It turns into something quite disheartening. In “The Price of
Reno3the Paperless Revolution,” it is stated that the New York Times calculated that in order to producejust one e-reader, it requires minerals, water, and fossil fuels to be calculated into themanufacturing process. Gas prices have been on the rise, yet manufacturers are using fossil fuelson a product that only has an average life-span of two years? Most readers purchase an e-readernot knowing that they will be replacing it with something newer and better before two years iseven up. Whether it breaks or something better comes along or the reader has no more use for it,it is disposed of inefficiently and pollutes our environment. Moreover, it takes almost exactlyfifty times as much fossil fuel production to power an iPad for the hours it takes to read a book asit would take to read the same book on paper by electric light. The distinctions between thepositive and negative articles are very, very clear. Looking back at how large a single e-reader‟s library is, having an endless collection ofbooks compiled into a single device first seems like a librarian‟s fantasy coming true. But whathappens when all the materials used to make e-readers are gone, there are no newspapers orbooks to read and the world becomes stuck in an energy crisis? What are people going to read? Itwould be like caveman times living in some dark cave. Not only would the world be unknowing,but life really would be a dark cave without fossil fuels. But of course, most will always think ofthe „paperless revolution‟ is ingenious. There is no denying that e-readers are a great milestone inthe growth of technology, but the fun of being able to turn a page will be missed. The currentoutlook for books is that someday, they will not exist. As it is stated in “The Bookless Future,”“But the internet revolution is soon likely to become much more controversial, and for a simplereason: scholarship is fast moving toward a bookless future. Physical books are expensive toproduce, and they are easily damaged or stolen. Shelf space costs money to build. Shelving andre-shelving books costs more. Stacks have to be kept at the appropriate temperature and
Reno4humidity; they need to be lit, cleaned, inspected, and insured (Bell).” Producing physical copiesof books costs a lot, but what in this world is cheap other than the cheap labor that is receivedfrom other countries? Also, trees can be grown –fossil fuels cannot. All in all, there are somegood points brought to attention about price, but it is not like producing e-readers is a lotcheaper. Given the information, personal opinions change slightly, but do not affect the decisionof purchasing an e-reader in the near future. Stopping the technology world from blossoming isimpossible and it will soon become a part of everyday life. E-readers are literature‟s future andwill certainly make a difference in the reading experience.