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E-books Vs. Paper Books

Mandy Carrico
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It's a Book

It's a Book by Lane Smith 

It’s a Book by Lane Smith is about a tech-savvy donkey who can’t help interrupting a gruff monkey trying to enjoy his book. Befuddled at the lack of a power cord, scrolling and animation, he peppers the monkey with questions in a hilarious back-and-forth dialogue of paper versus technology. 

The story is written as an illustrated children’s book but it is highly enjoyable for all ages and, I dare say, even more so for adults who will not only get the sarcasm and subtle humor but who remember the before and after of the digital book boom. So who to side with? The donkey or the monkey? It’s been nearly a decade since the early commercial e-readers began gaining popularity and still the debate rages on about which is better. The answer is not so simple. There are positives to both formats.

E-book Pros: 

  • Free previews. Most e-books allow you to read the first few chapters. Sure, you can do that in a bookstore or library but with an e-book you can do it wherever you want and you don’t have to stand in the aisle of a store because all the good chairs are taken. 
  • You can get the book any time of day or night. Like What-a-burger French fries, sometimes it’s just better at 3 a.m. because there’s a certain amount of giddiness about that kind of beck-and-call. 
  • It’s like wearing Star Wars underwear. It makes you happy and you can do it because no one will see it. Go ahead and read whatever you want. E-books guarantee you won’t be judged.
  • No unintentional workouts. You won’t get a cramp reading War and Peace and you can have all the books that cater to your current reading mood at your fingertips.

Paper Pros:

  • No outlet required. Paper is always there for you no matter what. No need to speed read because the battery signal starts flashing and you forgot your charger.
  • Lost art. The cover of a book can be a very important piece to the story. It can set a mood, trigger a memory or emotion, or a collection of spines can make a beautiful and very personal décor piece out of your reading preferences. 
  • Reading is more than just words. Book discovery happens at a very early age. It allows babies and young children to experience reading and books before they know what the pictures and words mean. Modeling, playing and interacting with books contributes to future reading tendencies and that same experience is lost on a device. 
  • What’s a nice book like you doing in a place like this? Not all books need to hide in the files of an e-reader. Sometimes books can be great conversation starters. 

Print vs. e-book cartoon

Cartoon by Harris County Public Libraries staff member David Cherry

So, donkey or monkey: who wins in the story? Well, It’s a Book is a book (and not available in e-book format so kudos to the author for forgoing those sales to avoid the irony) so, in this case, paper wins the battle. But the war still goes on.

Other books by Lane Smith (available in paper and digital formats):

  • Grandpa Green
  • Abe Lincoln’s Dream
  • There is a Tribe of Kids

Share your thoughts: e-books or paper books? 

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