Carmen Teijeira (Teacher of Spanish Language and Literature)
When reading the cultural section of a newspaper one soon notices that the debate paper book versus e-book is a popular matter of discussion nowadays.
It cannot be denied that the technological revolution the world is going through will reach and modify the way in which we approach culture. One proof is the increase on the number of people reading electronic books. The fact is not striking; electronic books have many advantages over printed ones.
The first point to bear in mind is obvious: they allow to store and carry a bigger amount of information on a small device.
A further point is related to the environment: less paper means less tree fallings.
Finally, electronic books may be purchased online, reducing the effort of having to drive to the bookshop or the library.
However, do all the above reasons mean that printed books will be left to gather dust as an obsolete instrument of culture? It will simply not be the case. Is there any experience comparable of opening an old, dusty book in whose pages you may notice the passage of time and feel the signs of other voracious readers who read the book before you? Electronic books do not have the charm of real life; their appearance remains unchanging.
Some may consider the above reason actually an advantage. So, let´s go for more practical reasons. Few people would dispute that devices to mark and underline are poor and inefficient at electronic books in comparison with printed ones. Furthermore, it is easier to flick through a paper book.
In conclusion, the outlook for paper books might be more optimistic than it appears. While electronic books will provide solution for some disadvantages of paper, they do not completely provide a similar, comfortable reading experience.