Nook vs. Book

By Leah Mandly

Imagine thousands of books, magazines and other reading material at your fingertips. No paper ink or any pages to turn. No need to even go to the bookstore. With just a few clicks your book is instantly available.  Today this is reality. With the development of technology like the Kindle from Amazon and the Nook from Barnes & Noble, printed books are becoming a thing of the past.

For people like me who love to read, the Kindle and other e-book readers are a slap in the face. The beauty of the written word is just that. The words are on pages bound together in a physical book. One can actually feel the paper as one flips pages. Also, taking time to notice texture and the fresh, clean smell of a new book is an added bonus. I get one of the best feelings when I purchase or rent a book from a library. I know that I’m about to go on an adventure. Books have taken me all over the globe and to other far away worlds. Nothing can compare to curling up on a cold day with a good book to read. They represent the wishes and dreams of many different people. Traveling to Middle Earth, battling enemies in a foreign country or being transported to the time of kings and queens are just a few of the myriad number of places that reading takes people. I feel that without this essential connection to books, reading is just not the same.  There is a certain “feel” that you get from stories, whether it’s going to be an awesome read or a piece of crap. Having the book in front of you is an invaluable ingredient to learning and processing information.

Alternatively, e-book readers are cold and remote.  Staring at a screen takes away from the experience of reading. Instead of bonding with the story face-to face, noticing the cover and attention to detail, one is confronted with a flat machine. Pages are “flipped” by skimming one’s fingers over the surface of the “reader.” It is an absolute travesty that these machines are taking over and replacing what is one of the most beautiful customs this world has to offer. Technology has advanced us far with gadgets and gizmos like the iPhone. They have changed the world as we know it. However, how far will we go? To change the way we read seems like a sacrilege. Sure, it might be easier to simply download a book, but the technological problems that can occur are not worth it. As with all technology, nothing is infallible. Books aren’t immune either, but I’d rather have a solid copy of what I’m paying for, rather than a little icon on a screen. Computers crash all the time, and if your Kindle or Nook breaks, then what? If it’s not under warranty, and you haven’t backed up your files, not only are you out a few hundred bucks, your books are gone, too. For me, it’s very simple to just go out and buy or borrow the books I want to read. Having to depend upon something else entirely in order to read is not worth the risks.

Here at the University of Massachusetts, students now have the option of renting textbooks at a much cheaper rate than buying them. School books don’t have to cost a fortune anymore. For those like me who have a voracious appetite for reading, and can go through books in a few days, libraries are a wonderful resource. You still get that personal experience with a book, and you don’t even have to spend money to buy it!  With the Kindle you can’t rent books at all. What if you only need to read a book once for class and then don’t need it anymore? Why should you have to buy it when you can rent it and give it back later after you are done with it? The Nook has a sharing option, but only allows you to lend any particular book to one friend. After that, you can’t share the book ever again. Would you let your friend borrow your Kindle or Nook? Instead of handing out an expensive piece of equipment with possibly all your school books on it, wouldn’t the smarter choice be to just give your friend the printed book? Instead of worrying about if they are going to break or lose it, you can just simply let your friends borrow your books. If something happens to them, they are more easily replaced. The Kindle and Nook, however, are not as easily replaceable.

If you’re like me and abhor the use of these “e-readers,” speak out against these viruses that have wormed their way into society. They are attempting to replace one of the most sacred pursuits in the human race. If they totally outmode printed material, we will lose so much in an attempt to save a few lousy dollars.

Leah Mandly is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]