[Discussion] ‘On the Joy of ebooks’ and ‘Why teenagers are so resistant to ereaders’.

In Margaret Drabble’s ‘On the Joy of ebooks’, she opens with the fact that some people are taken aback by the fact that she prefers ebook readers over traditional books. At first I was also surprised at this fact as I’d expect the nostalgia and sentimentality that she even describes herself to keep her coming back to her favourite paperback books and I expected the younger audience to be drawn more to ebooks.

The more I read however, the more I realised that she’s already lived through a time of struggling to fit your books into a bag and lug it around while travelling and she seems to understand and is more grateful for the invention of the ebook. The younger generation on the other hand haven’t had as much of an exposure to the paperback era of having to carry around an arsenal of your favourite books only to have it weight you down, clearly not as much as Drabble at least. I think that a lot of the younger generation are reading physical books over ebooks because they want to have that paperback era for themselves, feeling as though they may have missed out on something that was so prevalent before their time.

This is shown in the second article; “A survey carried out for the Bookseller Children’s Conference in 2015 claims that 16-24 year olds (the same demographic that BBC Three went online to reach, remember) prefer physical books to digital books, with 64% saying print books were their favourite and 20% saying they didn’t mind.”

In my opinion, the argument that ebooks are more practical and space efficient is fair however there is a clear bias towards books in most scenarios as, despite this argument, the article says ‘the sale of physical books is on the up and the sale of digital books is falling.’

The only way this can be the case is not through practicality but instead the sentimentality of what the younger generation haven’t experienced and the almost defiance of ebooks to experience it.

Any thoughts on this?



2 thoughts on “[Discussion] ‘On the Joy of ebooks’ and ‘Why teenagers are so resistant to ereaders’.”

  1. Amy Aspin’s reply

    I also agree with both Will and Holly that the idea that e-books are causing the downfall of novels because people can pick and choose where and what they like to read is an unsupported, poor view. By starting his article depicting, what can only be described as, a nostalgic view of reading a paper-back novel, it could be argued that this article may not be as unbiased as he wants it to be.

    Although, Mason is seen to try and argue for e-books by stating saying that he is not the ‘only person in his circle’ to read e-books, mostly from his kindle. He rather seems to blame things like social media (Facebook, Instagram etc.) for harming our brains ability to pay attention and therefore our ability to read and appreciate novels. He states that “The attention span has shortened not just because ebooks consist of a continuous, searchable digital text, but because they are being read on devices we use for other things. “ I disagree with this however as reading Facebook statuses on my small phone screen has not stopped my ability to appreciate and complete many novels.

    In response to Will and Hollys view that ,by people like Self and Schillinger’s professor stating that “the novel is dead” completely leaves the power of deciding what is good literature in the hands of the older generation, I completely agree. The older generation didn’t have access to e-books an d e-readers, so it can be said that the nostalgia of having a paper book to hold and to read is stopping people from fully accepting e-books as a equal form of literature.

  2. I think that Margaret Drabble’s argument for using an e-reader is strong in the article “Margaret Drabble on the joy of e-books”, especially when she discusses the way that e-readers have an “almost limitless capacity” for research and inquiry as there are functions to highlight and make notes within books. This can also be done in a physical book but by using an e-reader to do this it will be easier to follow the notes you have made rather than trying to decipher notes that have been crammed around passages.

    However, she does state that just one way of reading is the right way. She mentions that she was in a group of twenty people who were all equipped with a number of texts. Some people had the physical books and others chose to use an e-reader. She states that between them, they all found exactly what they needed from the texts as one version of reading does not drive out another as there are many ways of reading and they all complement each other. This shows that although this is her preferred method of reading it does not mean that it is the right way for everyone.

    One of her given reasons for preferring this method is due to books being heavy to carry around, as Will mentioned above. She states that as she is getting older, books and bags get heavier so it is much easier for her to have an e-reader, especially because it allows you to shop on the go. If you want books to read on holiday, en e-reader is perfect as it means you won’t have to go over the baggage allowance and can save time and money by buying books online. The first article, “Why teenagers are so resistant to e-readers”, opposes this idea however, as the writer suggests that they are more than happy to go down to Waterstones to “splurge most of their money” on a new book, simply because they like the way that it smells, and because of the actual feeling of a book and the activity of turning the pages.
    Does anyone else have some thoughts on this?

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