Microsoft Encarta dictionary defines a book as a collection of printed or manuscript pages sewn or glued together along one side and bound between rigid boards or flexible covers. It has over time taken different shapes and sizes but has always maintained its major role as storage of information which entertains, informs and educate the readers.
However, with technological development came the introduction of electronic books better known as E-books. Electronic books are portable computerized devices that allow readers to download text and then read it, mark it up, and bookmark it. The term e-book is also used to refer to the concept of a paperless book, whether it is read on a specially designed e-book device, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or a desktop, palm tops, lap tops, i-pads and even phones.
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E books are easier to transfer unlike the paper books; it is more compact and can be saved in flash disks and taken anywhere without the inconveniences the paper books may give. For example, the E- format of the Encyclopedia Britannica weighs the same size of any DVD unlike the paper format which is volumes of big books which weights over 1000 times that of a DVD.
However, the E-books unlike the paper books can get “corrupted” by computer viruses and sometimes, computers can crash and all the files in it crashes along with it. It also needs to be powered by electricity or by batteries which needs to be charged to ensure regular power.
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Many of the respondents to the question of which was more preferable between Paper format and E-Format of books I spoke to say that they prefer E-books because of it is easy to access E – Books unlike the paper books. For example, to get a Bible passage via the E-Bible is faster than on paper. When a Bible passage is mentioned, even a novice is just a click away from whatever passage is being searched for.
Another notable plus the E-books possesses is that of mobility. With the E-book, the user seemingly carries nothing at all because the literature or book is in a virtual realm. E-books can be saved in removable storage facilities like Flash drives, CDs, DVDs, Cameras and Phones.
E-books on phones, PDAs or laptops can be viewed anywhere anytime And in countries which do not have regular power supply, E-books are the best bet because reading E-books on phones does not require immediate electric power supply.
However, some publishing executives interviewed assert that with the entire plus and advantages the E-book brings, Nigeria is not yet ready to imbibe the E -book technology due to so factors which irregular power supply is major.
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From the 20th century, technological devices such as computers, the electronic media, movies, and the CD ROMs challenged books as means of communication. However, because books are so easy to carry and care for, they remained a primary means for dissemination of knowledge, for instruction and pleasure in skills and arts, and for the recording of experience, whether real or imagined.
Electronic books can store the same amount of information found in ten or more paper books, and they also offer some of the prime advantages of paper books. Many people believe that as e-books develop further in the early 21st century, they will challenge paper books in a way than ever experienced.
Some of the questions that would definitely crop are these, what will happen to Newspapers like we know today; baring in mind that many of them already have their e-formats? What will happen to textbooks in the primary, secondary school and tertiary institutions?
However, Nigeria will have to improve in terms of Electrical Power and in the aspect of improvement in the education sector in order not to be left out in the next generation of books.
Now, would you rather read the E-book or the Paper book?