Do electronic books make reading more enjoyable?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am

Matthew Murchie, 15, St Joseph's College

There is no doubt that e-books have many advantages over printed books - they have a huge memory capacity and don't waste paper or ink. But do these qualities make e-books more satisfying to read than regular books?

Much of the pleasure one gets from reading a book is the ability to flick freely through the pages. We can easily browse for various topics, diagrams or pictures. You can't do this with an e-book because the 'search' function is not the same. Trying to skim through an electronic book is inconvenient.

Security is another big problem. We can take regular books wherever we want with little fear of them being stolen. Would one feel so relaxed leaving an e-book lying around? Remember, when one e-book is stolen, hundreds of books are lost along with the device.

You can drop a normal book on the floor without any damage being done. But if you accidentally drop an e-book, it could be damaged beyond repair. With e-books being so fragile, it is difficult to feel comfortable reading them, especially if there are children around.

Reading electronic books could be more of a nuisance than a pleasure.

Ronald Ling Pak-ki, 20, University of Hong Kong

There are some interesting and notable advantages to reading electronic books instead of ordinary, paper ones.

First, I think the internet connection in electronic books is the most attractive point.

The internet allows us to search for interesting facts which appear in the electronic books, immediately and directly. We can explore background information within a few seconds, through a single machine.

Moreover, some electronic books contain reference tools like a dictionary and encyclopedia, which help readers look up difficult words and terms. This enriches our reading experience.

Third, electronic books include multimedia highlights, which make reading more interesting. These photos and video clips provide visual stimulation to the reader.

Such visual elements can spark the imagination and encourage people to read books. Interactive, multimedia elements can make reading more pleasurable, and help cultivate this good habit among youngsters. This could be a starting point to encourage them to love reading books.