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Consider the consequences of shifting to e-books

With advancements in technology undeniably affecting society, it seems necessary to ask if Americans are too quick to accept every new option that comes their way.

Print – in news and literary form – has become highly digitized and has solidified its standing in American culture in recent years. Now, e-books are available for PCs, Macs, iPads, Nooks, Kindles and other e-readers.

Yes, the advantages of e-books seem overwhelming at first. For those familiar and comfortable with technology, they seem like a cost-efficient way to read for entertainment or knowledge. The instantaneous gratification of e-books and their environmentally friendly, paper-free nature are two of the most popular arguments in their defense.

For those with available resources, an e-book appears to be more cost efficient. But what about those who cannot afford an expensive e-reader device or a slender portable laptop?

Those without the resources or capabilities to access these types of technology are simply left behind. Unless e-reader prices can be drastically reduced, there will still be a clear need for tangible printed books.

The question of piracy is also pressing when the discussion of e-books arises. If music is so easily pirated and MP3s are obtained illegally online without compensation for the artists or record labels, how long will it be until e-books fall into sync with publishing already experiencing a rapid downfall, this is a major concern for publishers turning to e-books as a saving grace for revenues and profits. If book pirating becomes as prominent as music pirating, publishing will surely be hit harder than ever before.

Technology also comes with certain inherent problems that complicate the enjoyment of a book. A paperback copy of “The Great Gatsby” surely wouldn’t run out of battery power in the final chapter, nor would it catch a virus and become infected to the point of no return.

Some readers are wary of adopting this electronic version of reading over the safety and reliability of the printed book. Surely, readers and society should take sufficient time to weigh the costs of the e-book before diving into this technological world and saying goodbye to their printed books for good.

Tara Petzoldt is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.