By the end of the XX century with the appearance of media, there appeared a question about the role of a book as a source of information and its future. Today, the role of books and visual sources has become modified in the modern information society. Along with the printed word, people use new electronic information technologies. Evidently, nothing is perfect, so every device has not only advantages, but disadvantages as well. Despite these shortcomings, people still actively use them and gadget sales grow up increasingly every day.
It would be hard to imagine life without books. Once, books were a main source of information, but times change. Using printed material is a relic of the past. Continued existence of traditional paper books seems hazy. In spite of it, printed books still have some advantages:
- Practicality. Nothing serious will happen with a book or a newspaper if it falls down on a floor. It will not be broken or fly into pieces, only some pages can be damaged as a maximum.
- Moreover, one will never be forced to finish reading because of a sign “Charge your battery”. One does not depend on electricity and one may feel free moving out of town.
- The so-called “soul of book”. It is a pleasure to read a book, turning pages, sensing each leaf, and smelling book scent. Reading this way is a great experience.
Nowadays, publishers who produce printed materials understand inherent risks such as:
- Costly production in terms of expenditures on paper. That is why, buying few books may be more relevant in terms of price than buying one electronic device. It also takes a lot of space on a book shelve or in a room in general. So, if one is travelling, it is disadvantageous to take all books one wishes in a purse. Also, publishers face a problem of printing, shipping, and storage of all printed materials. It takes a lot of time, money, and efforts.
- Wastage of natural resources at the time when it is possible to issue the same publication in a cheaper electronic variant.
However, today people observe substitution of printed materials with visual products. E-books and other electronic devices do not declare war on printed publications and libraries. Conversely, they are able to expand opportunities to read books. Libraries and bookstores are moving to the spread of E-books through the Internet.
Thinking about advantages of electronic sources, there is a whole bunch of them:
- The main benefit why people buy electronic devices is the ease of use. Today, it is easy to choose a favorite model of an electronic device in the Internet or any store, buy it, and then download any materials one would like to read. It could be news, books, reports, research articles, any video or audio files, etc.
- With hardly any trouble at all, it is possible to make various actions with a document. It is simple to improve, augment, develop, download it, sent it via e-mail, or just share it with friends.
- Due to the technological development, it is possible to set up convenient characteristics such as color, type, size of font, or page. That particular makes a reading process individual.
- An important factor is money saving. Most publications are free of charge in the Internet. It allows users to find necessary information on the Internet, download it, and read it on electronic devices at a suitable time.
- It is also a good opportunity to collect all favorite books, magazines, newspapers in one personal collection that is located on one small electronic device should it be an E-book, tablet, or anything else. At any moment, people can open their own library and read the material they would like. For that, they should only turn on the device and choose the fitting book.
Despite all listed advantages, there are some disadvantages of using visual materials. Comparing them with benefits of electronic devices, it is evident that today they help people. Talking about negative characteristics of visual products, there are the following:
- The main argument is reduction of reading speed via electronic equipment. The research provided by Nielsen (2010) of theNielsen Norman Group shows that “the iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed book, whereas the Kindle measured at 10.7% slower than print”.
- Another negative factor is dependence on electricity. As far as all gadgets need to be charged, visual devices are not an exception.
- Price is essential as well. In some cases, gadgets are expensive. However, comparing this price with expenditures on buying printed sources, it becomes clear that it is better to buy a device for further economy in the future.
Today, three areas are developed most actively in the market of electronic devices, including tablets, smartphones, and E-books. Sales volumes increase all over the world. In proof of the Nielsen’s research, Cohen (2013) made her own analysis about how people used their devices, how they spent their time, and which categories were most power users. So, according to her research, in 2013 the number of smartphone owners increased by 25% to 143 million and the amount of tablet owners grew by 55% to 71 million.
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To conclude, once books were the main source of information, but times change and electronic devices have replaced printed editions. In general, books have come a long way of development. However, today they do not look like traditional printed versions.
No matter how the technology will develop, books will remain an invariable attribute of a literate and educated person. People engage in reading while learning or working and many people cannot even imagine their leisure without books. That is why, today many companies offer a wide range of electronic devices to match people’s personal preferences.
Comparing all advantages and disadvantages of electronic products and printed material, a conclusion should be drawn that electronic products are handier than paper editions. Nevertheless, at the same time printed editions remain a conservative way of reading.
Today’s market of electronic devices allows people to find appropriate forms of gadgets based on such factors as price, form, content, etc. Due to high demand for devices, companies will always work on improving and inventing gadgets for keeping up people with the times.
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