Special to Mustang Daily
People don’t use the typewriter anymore, they’ve given up on floppy discs and cassettes are out. But, paper books will still be necessary in the future, Cal Poly professors say.
“There’s just something about sitting in a room full of books than sitting in a bare room with a Kindle,” English lecturer Mark Roberts said. “It’s like there’s so much potential knowledge in there, you feel like you could know everything if you spent enough time, and you don’t get that from looking up something on iTunes.”
Even if e-books do not completely outsell books, data on sales indicates a change. In 2011, Amazon sold 105 Kindle e-books for every 100 paperback and hardback books, according to The New York Times.
But people are not moving away from print books to e-books, English lecturer James Cushing said.
“I think it’s a lie, I think it does not exist,” Cushing said. “I think it’s people trying to sell pieces of technology that they can delete and get you to buy more expensive technology. It’s a rip off.”
Still, e-books are a great new technology, marketing professor Stern Neill said.
“It certainly makes a lot of sense, efficient delivery mode, easy to update, saves trees,” Neill said. “You can constantly change content, so if there’s a new case of social media update, I could immediately update and the content will be fresh.”
E-books have their advantages as well, Roberts said.
“As revolutionary as the iPod, in the same way you can suddenly carry around an entire library of music, you can now carry around an entire library of books,” Roberts said.
E-books can be a new innovative teaching technique to keep students engaged, Neill said.
“You can have students manipulate the info,” Neill said. “The content is more interactive.”
A major advantage to having print books, however, is that people can read or write in the margins, Roberts said.
“One of the things we have from great writers, great thinkers, is we have their libraries, and within the margins of their notes and the things that they thought we can study their influences and see what they thought about other great writers,” Roberts said. “We’re not probably going to have that for e-books, nobody is going to want to look up all the marginal notes that somebody made in their Kindle years from now.”
The main advantage of paperback or hardcover books is being able to write in them and hold them, Cushing, Neill and Roberts said.
People like the feeling of books, holding something physical, Neill said.
“I like the wholeness of it, you know that all the content is here, there’s an index and table of context and you can thumb through it and find things,” Neill said.
Roberts also enjoys holding and looking through a book, he said.
“A lot of people want to hold a book, so there’s probably more of a romantic attachment to books than technological,” Roberts said.
Books are a classic form of literature, Cushing said.
“The book is what you have no matter what, this is what you always had,” Cushing said.
Books will be around for a long time, Roberts said.
“It’s an art object and that, I think, is going to preserve it,” he said.
Jennifer Silva contributed to this article.