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Book versus e-book

In this tussle, between old and new, which one will you pick?

tech reviews Updated: Jan 25, 2010 17:44 IST

Ever since e-books such as the Amazon Kindle made their debut, a debate has been on over whether they can ever match up to the essence of reading a real book. We find out.

At first look, you may think it’s cheaper to buy a book than spend Rs 12,000 on an e-reader. But think of it as a one-time investment, after which you can pick up titles for minimal costs instead of paying about Rs 600 every time. For a voracious reader, paper books will turn out to be more expensive in the long run.

It’s easy to plonk a book in your bag and carry it around to read any time. You’d have to be more circumspect about carrying around your e-reader; especially if you’re forgetful.

The e-reader relies on electricity/battery, and would need recharging. On the flipside, carrying 4-5 books can be quite a burden. On an e-reader, you can carry hundreds of titles with you everywhere without giving it a second thought.

Most new e-readers allow you to access the Internet via Wi-Fi, which means you can log on anytime to buy a new title or get the latest newspaper. The Amazon Kindle 2 International edition doesn’t have a browser or Wi-Fi connection, though. The Nook, however, has Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Think of the paper and ink saved! E-readers use reflective e-ink technology, so it’s easier on your eyes.

Nothing can replace the tactile experience of a book; the feel of paper, often yellowed with age when it’s handed down generations.

Right now, the titles available on e-books are limited, and files in the comic book format aren’t compatible. But that is expected to change in the future.