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Reading is important — no matter how it’s done

Through the constant growth of technology, we have seen the shift of printed books to digitized e-books and audiobooks. Though printed books are still the publishing industry’s top sellers, digital book sales are rapidly rising, reaching a peak with roughly 260 million sold in 2017. As an avid reader, this can seem like a bad thing. But is it really?

There is nothing like cracking open a new paperback, but there are advantages to digital books.

Digital books are easier and more efficient to access than print copies. In order to buy a book, one must drive to a bookstore, or buy it online and have it shipped to the house, which can take anywhere from one day to two weeks, depending on shipping costs and times.

Buying an e-book or audiobook is instantaneous — a copy is already published online and is available with just a few clicks of a button. Within minutes, one can be reading the latest New York Times bestseller without out even getting up from the couch.

With this easy accessibility, people are more likely to read. We like to make life as easy as possible, and with the digitization of books, it has never been easier to get access to literature.

Not only that, but it is easier to store e-books and audiobooks as opposed to printed tomes — let’s be honest, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” at more than 750 pages, is more of a heavyweight brick than a book. E-books and audiobooks allow one to fit hundreds of novels in one’s pocket and carry them just about anywhere.

For college students living in dorms or people living in small apartments, this can be priceless. Space is such a valuable thing and e-books and audiobooks do not take up valuable storage space.

While we are talking about students, how nice would it be to walk upright, without a giant backpack weighing us down filled with giant — and expensive — textbooks.

E-books are also eco-friendly. With no need for paper, there’s no need for cutting down trees or those hazardous paper factories.

E-books and audiobooks also cater to an audience that print paperback cannot — the visually impaired. When I was a senior in high school I was in a reading program where they paired up students who loved reading with people who had trouble with it. I was paired up with a blind person. I was able to read to her and introduce her to audiobooks and she came to really love to “read.” The audiobooks allowed her to enjoy books on her own time without relying on someone else.

Digital books help those who have difficulty reading small texts and styles. In most cases, e-books allow one to adjust font size, style and even color.

As an avid reader, I love a printed book. I love holding it in my hands. I love the feeling of turning each page. Most importantly, I love being surrounded by them — being able to look at the beautiful covers filling the shelves, reminding me of the stories I’ve read, and the stories waiting for me. I have even bought books after reading them digitally just so I can have a copy on my shelf.

I guess it’s just a matter of balance. One can love print and digital books. It’s really the reading that is most important, however one chooses to do it.

Story by Cheyenne Ard, UP contributor

Category: Opinion