Books

Before I even went to school, I had a few story books that I still have, that I can still read, or give away, and they'll still be readable until the day that they completely fall apart, and someone doesn't bother to keep all the bits together.

This is something that can't be replaced by ebooks.  The technology will change over the years, rendering your old books unreadable.   And you'll lose them to time, or end up having to pay for them again.  I've, already, experienced this.  Then, to rub salt into the wound, these ebooks will not be significantly cheaper than a printed book.

Way back when I was at high school we were forced to carry around huge text books, all day, every day, that we had the subject they went along with, under threat of punishment if we did not.  And it took years for my back to recover, since we did had to carry them, there was not enough time between lessons to go to and from lockers.  The maths text book was regularly used, none of the others were, and all could have been subsituted for material projected in the classroom onto the wall.  We didn't need those text books after that year, and I've never had want to see them since leaving school.  We didn't buy them, we were assigned them from the library for the year, and they went back at the end.

Those sort of books could be replaced by electronic versions.  We'd save our backs from lugging around heavy, and unnecessary text books.  And, if the school buys bulk copies, that they're allowed to give yearly copies to students, all those books could, conveniently, be carried on one device.  Of course, you're at the mercy of technology, each student needing something that can stay powered up all day long, or having to have masses of power points in each class room.  Staff and students would have to know how to use the technology, and resolve the inevitable technical screw-ups.  And the school would be faced with annual fees for the same material, plus new fees every time they had to repurchase books as their technology became outdated.  Gone would be the days of one maths text book lasting for more than a decade.

Then I went to college, and was required to lug around several heavy text books that we rarely ever referred to, again.  As before, it would have been easy for the few lessons that actually needed to book to have either projected the half page we needed onto the wall, told us to bring the book on the previous less, or told us to copy the half page we needed into our notebooks to refer to.  And, as before, it was ages before my back and shoulders recovered from this text book fetish our teachers have.

But differently from school, these are books that I've referred to time and time again, years after leaving college, because they have information pertaining to at least one of my professions.  I've been able to do this because they are real books, not short-lived computer files.

Ebooks have their place, but they're not a replacement for real books, only a supplement.


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