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The digital age is here; you only need to look at the number of people that use and love their smartphones!

They have become an integral part of life for many by providing an instant channel of communication for work as well as with family and friends. Social media sites are now many people’s lifeblood’s and they simply have to check for any changes; several times every hour.

the original e-ink e-reader was a Sony device, although Kindle was the reason eBooks became popular.

We are accustomed to the sounds and vibrations of our devices from various alerts that for many offers the comfort of knowing that are one is being kept up to date with the latest events that are important to us. These range from the weather and news to the entire latest goings on in the lives of family and friends.

There seem to be an increasing amount of electronic gadgets appearing on the market; each one doing something slightly better than the one before. Books have not escaped this process; the original e-ink e-reader was a Sony device, although Kindle was the reason eBooks became popular. In the beginning, such devices were comparatively simple. They connected to the internet, allowed you to download a book and gave one the ability to read it on the device.

eReaderThese electronic readers have now developed into sophisticated mini-tablets, capable of downloading a book, tagging and sharing sections of the book and even allowing you to check the latest social news or trend. There are many benefits to electronic readers, but there are also some excellent reasons why the paper-based book is still popular.

1. A paper book can transfer you into another world; without any distractions. You can escape from reality and immerse yourself in the story. The issue is not as prevalent when using a dedicated eBook reader but may be on other devices such as tablets and smartphones which if alerts such as news, weather and emails are switched on may be an annoyance while one is reading..

2. There have been several different studies done into the connection between reading and levels of stress in the body. The results show that reading calms the mind and relax the heart and muscles allowing the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body to drop to a more normal level. Reading has also been shown to stimulate the brain and can increase concentration levels; this is only possible with paper-based reading due to the lack of distractions.

3. It has been suggested that reading on any electronic format results in less of the plot line, or the facts of the book being retained by your mind. Research has confirmed this suggestion and also noted that readers of paper-based books have increased levels of empathy and immersion. There has not been enough research to conclusively show why but some believe it relates to the physical feel of a paper book and the act of turning pages giving a reader more of a sense of the course of a book.

It should be noted that there are alternative book formats, such as audiobooks and that these can have advantages over paper books in various situations. Many people prefer to buy audio books for those situations where holding a book is not practical. Because the books can be downloaded into most portable devices, listening rather than reading is a very real advantage when driving or a myriad of other activities.

4. Books traditionally have been seen as an excellent way to relax, unwind and help you to sleep. Unfortunately, this is only true of paper-based books. Reading on an electronic reader has been shown to decrease the levels of melatonin in the body. Melatonin is a hormone associated with sleep, lower levels of it means it can take much longer to fall asleep. It is understood this is because an electronic reader emits light directly into your eyes that suggest to your brain that it is time to wake up. The brain then triggers the lowering of the levels of melatonin to get you ready for another day.

5. An electronic reader can be taken anywhere with you and allows access to millions of different titles at the click of a button. . However, there are times when you do not want the worry of having an expensive e-reader with you. One such example is when heading to the beach for the day. This can be an excellent way to relax but, if you take your e-book, you will be unwilling to leave this on your sun lounger while taking a swim. A paper based book is a small cost if it is taken, an electronic reader is not. For the times where you might be concerned about carrying an electronic reader or leaving it somewhere the paper book has a definite advantage.

6. There is a certain satisfaction in being able to pick up a novel and turn the physical pages. You know how you are progressing and can feel how much of the book is remaining. Additionally you can finish a story and close the book with a satisfied thump. A paper book gives a “feel good” factor that the electronic book does not quite manage.

7. Buying a book is an experience in itself, regardless of whether you go to a local store or on the internet. Normally when you buy books online, it is common practice to set up an account with the online bookstore which will monitor the types of books you have been reading and will make suggestions based on your reading history. While this can provide easy access to your next book it may leave you involuntarily missing out on a good read in a different genre. Rummaging through a bookstore, whether for second-hand books or brand new titles can expose you to so much more material and may persuade you to try something different.

8. A book on display in a bookstore may stand out because of its cover or a particular promotion, and you will be able to flick through it to assess the probability of whether you will find it enjoyable. You may then see a book next to it which is not your usual genre but is worth a try. Shopping for an electronic book is more restrictive as you will usually shop by either genre or author, even a promotional online offer will not necessarily appeal as you are unable to scan the pages to assess the writing style and quality.

9. Formatting for any electronic book is almost identical, this is to ensure it fits and reads correctly on the variety of different e-reader screens. Paperbound versions of books often have meaningful illustrations and have beautifully crafted, wrap-around covers. A paper book can be a work of art; the e-book may also have similar illustrations and offer interactive features but by comparison often fall short.

10. The main format in which eBooks are created, EPUB, has two versions as of now: EPUB2 and EPUB3. EPUB3 has more capabilities but is backwards compatible so that it will display on all e-readers. And eBook reading devices are also backwards compatible, which means they can all display older eBook versions. Same goes for Kindles, which use the MOBI and KF8 formats. Also, eBooks are often updated, and nowadays most platforms automatically push the updated versions to the readers who purchased the original. There’s a chance that in the distant future there may be issues related to this, but for now companies are working hard to make sure people don’t lose access to their eBooks.

11. Authors love to sign their creations and to be requested to autograph their book is incredibly flattering. Autography and Authorgraph are just a few companies/platforms/apps that allow authors to sign eBooks. However, some might argue that it is not the same as book signed using a pen and onto paper. Signed books can also make excellent gifts.

Conclusion

While it cannot be disputed that there is a certain convenience to having an e-reader and access to hundreds of books instantly there are also clearly distinct advantages to reading paper books. There are those who love the traditional paper book, and there will always be those who prefer the e-reader, no amount of arguments or reasoning will change this fact.

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