The Instigator
Lickdafoot
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Andromeda_Z
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Physical Books are superior to E-books

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2011 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,446 times Debate No: 17679
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (6)

 

Lickdafoot

Pro

Physical Books are superior to E-books.

In this debate, I wish to prove that books are superior to e-books. There are a number of reasons for this. I can touch, feel, and smell a book; which are all part of the unique experience. I can make notes in a book. I can loan a book to a friend. I can read them where there is no internet. Physical books have had a larger impact on our world than e-books. Physical books offer a wider variety. I will expand on these issues and more in the following rounds.

Lets first go over definitions:

book-

1. a written or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers. [1]


e-book-

1. a portable electronic device used to download and read books or magazines that are in digital form.
2. a book in digital form. [2]


We are not debating specific devices but if my opponent wishes to use a specific device as an example, that is fine. I will likely be doing the same.


superior-

1. higher in station, rank, degree, importance
2. of higher grade or quality: superior merchandise. [3]


1. http://dictionary.reference.com...
2. http://dictionary.reference.com...
3. http://dictionary.reference.com...
Andromeda_Z

Con

I accept your definitions, and I will be using the Amazon Kindle [1] as my example of an e-book reader. I'll post my arguments in the next round to keep the debate even. Thanks for the interesting debate, and good luck!

Sources
[1] http://www.amazon.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Lickdafoot

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and hope to make it a good one!

There are two ways in which we can gauge the superiority of one form of media over the other. The first is the effects of the individual. The second is the effects on humankind as a whole. I will attempt to express how books are more valuable than e-books under both of these terms. I hope my opponent will agree with both of these terms. It is up to the individual reader to evaluate the significance of each of these terms, as well as the many points among them, and come up with their vote accordingly.

I’ll start off with looking at the effects of the individual.

1. The sensory experience of a book is more empowering than an e-book.

The weight in your hands as you pick a book up. The aesthetic appeal of the cover art. The soft puttering in your ears and the breeze on your face as you give a book that first flip. We read books for two reasons- pleasure and knowledge gathering; both of which can be heightened through sensory stimulation.

The sense that is the strongest in triggering long-term memory is smell. [1] We all know that the smell of a book is a unique thing that cannot be duplicated. The sensory input from smelling our book helps put us in the right mindset to get transported into the authors world. This creates a better focus in order to experience more pleasure, or to gain more insight from the book. E-books do not have this feature. They smell like every other technologically advanced media device: plastic.

2. Many features of a physical book are emulated poorly by e-books.

The ability to interact with and claim physical ownership of a book is superior to that of an e-book. E-books attempt to emulate the experience of the physical book. (which can be proof in and of itself that a book is superior.) For instance, some e-book readers offer the ability to make a “page-turning” noise at the page breaks. This attempt at replicating the sensory input of a physical book falls short. The person would be pushing a button instead of moving through the depth of the book. This stimuli is not as engaging, and therefore not as effective as an actual book.

A book will not damage your eyes in the way that the majority of e-book readers do. Books can be read for longer periods of time without this impairment. Even the leading reading device, the Kindle, admits to this. They claim that their latest edition of Kindles have a display with 50% better contrast. [2] This affirms that the issues with reading on a technical device are still not up to par with a regular book. Other devices are exponentially worse in this area. Many of them cannot be read in sunlight.

A book has no battery charge. Device readers can only be read x amount of hours before dying, while a book can be read nearly infinitely before the print fades.

3. E-books are only half the book.

E-books are missing the front and back cover, inside illustrations, chapter markers, text imprint and more. A book with just the words is only a fractional part of a book.

3. The wide variety of books cannot be replicated.

There is no way to know how many books are out there. Plenty of books have gone out of print, been lost and forgotten through time. With an e-book, there is no ability to find a rare or almost-lost book. There is no ability to buy a used book. Kindle states that they have over 950,000 books. But is that really enough? Will you find every title you are looking for? Will you find books that aren’t accepted as mainstream? Will you be able to read uncommon ancient knowledge?

4. The anonymity of purchasing a book.

You can walk into any bookstore, purchase your heart’s desire with cash, and be gone. With e-books, your purchases are tied to your credit card accounts. You have to put personal information onto the computer in order to use these.

5. The condition of a book is directly related to the care of the owner.

Once you purchase a book, it is yours to do with as you please. You can keep it in immaculate condition or throw it around until it is worn out. You can loan a book. It is yours to keep for as long as you desire.

This is not the case with e-books. It is only yours as far as the company decides. At one point, Amazon removed all of George Orwell’s books from their customers’ Kindles because the publisher decided against electronic books. [3] Would you want a book that you bought to mysteriously disappear?

And this is just one concern for the life of an e-book. If an internet connection is lost, you do not have a book. If you are out of internet range, no book. If you cannot afford your monthly internet bill, no book. If your device starts giving technical difficulties, no book.

We all know that technological devices do not last forever. They have a relatively short life span regardless of the owners’ care. For example, the Ipod’s average life span is two to three years. [4] Your ability to read an e-book is determined by your ability to spend a significant amount in maintenance of the product. A physical book can last as long as your desire to keep it. No additional purchases.

6. Having your book signed.

Getting a book signed is not just getting a signature- it is getting an artist’s autograph on the one thing they value most- their artwork. This is both financially, and personally, more valuable than getting a signature on a piece of paper, or dare I say, an actual e-book device.


I will end my post with one point for how books are superior to e-books in affecting us as a whole. This is slightly controversial.

7. Books are more beneficial to the American economy.

Books are more beneficial to the majority of citizens (low and mid class) in the American economy. Independently owned bookstores, which are a leading revenue for physical book buyers, are being shut down due to the rise of internet book sales.

Two to Three hundred independently owned bookstores close a year. This is comparative to significantly less than 100 new bookstores that open up each year. The American Booksellers Association, the organization for independent stores, has dropped in its membership from 4,000 in the 1990s to 1,300 today. [6]

Meanwhile, Amazon.com, one of the leading online companies in book sales, is selling 115 kindle books per every 100 paperback, and 300 kindle books per 100 hardcovers. [6] They have sold millions of kindle readers, which cost significantly more than the amount of an average hardback.

So we see that E-books are rocketing in sales for Amazon. We also know that Amazon is a leading outlet for internet booksales, with an astronomical 93% of votes. [7]

Books activate our economy, keeping the money in our neighborhood; while e-books are limited to the company that is formatted to your reader, furthering their power and monopoly. This is not to even mention the effects on publishers, authors, and the paper industry.

I look forward in hearing my opponents response.

1. http://www.agewiseliving.com...
2. http://www.amazon.com...
3. http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com...
4. http://articles.cnn.com...
5.http://www.usatoday.com...
6. http://www.usatoday.com...
7. https://s3.amazonaws.com...

Andromeda_Z

Con

Sensory Experience

Though the smell of a book may trigger long-term memory, it also has some drawbacks. Books are made of paper, so they are porous. Porous materials can collect allergens or mold spores, aggravating allergies. E-books are non-porous, so they can be easily cleaned.

Features

It is not necessarily negative that a stimuli is less engaging. The act of pushing a button can become almost automatic, leaving the reader to pay more attention to the book itself. Turning pages can become difficult, such as when you are reading a book in bed. The blanket can get trapped between the pages, which is impossible with an e-book.

E-book readers do not always cause eyestrain, as they can be designed to use E-ink technology. E-ink is designed to closely mimic the appearance of ink on paper, and can be in sunlight without difficulties. [1] The increased contrast in the Kindle is not evidence of technical difficulties, it is evidence that e-readers are continuously improving. Books have remained as they are for hundreds of years.

E-readers can be charged and read at the same time, so the battery will not be a problem in many situations. The Amazon Kindle can hold a charge for up to two months. [2]

Half the Book

E-readers often can display many of those components. One popular e-reader, the Nook, can display images in color. [3] There is more than just the words to a book, an the manufacturers of e-readers realize this and deign the devices accordingly.

Variety

As the demand for titles grows, publishers will respond to the demand by making their books available as e-books, increasing the variety. The out-of-print books would likely be converted to e-books, as there is still a market for them and e-books can easily reach that market without ever having to be printed, shipped, and sold at a store. A book can be both out-of-print and available as an e-book.

Anonymity

If anonymity is important to you, there is the option of purchasing a gift card that can be used online and paying for the e-book with it. For most people, I do not understand why anonymity would be a deciding factor when choosing between a physical book and an e-book.

Condition of Books

If a business is doing something that you find unethical or bothersome, then the logical solution would be to boycott the business, not what they are selling. It is also important to note that Amazon credited the customers' accounts with the money that they paid for the book.

This point is incorrect, the e-books do not disappear once an internet connection is lost; once they are downloaded, they are stored on the device. No internet connection is necessary to read them.

With proper care (such as not dropping it, or getting it wet), technological devices can have a significant lifespan. A physical book cannot last indefinitely, as it will begin to fall apart with repeated use. An e-book can be read as many times as you wish without losing pages.

Signatures

If a signed book has significant financial value, then it would be reasonable to protect it from damage. Damage can come about through use of the book, rendering it impractical.

Economy

E-books are taking over physical books in terms of market share partly because they are cheaper. The decreased price of an e-book means that more money can be pent at local restaurants, stores, and such. Let's say someone saves $50 by purchasing e-books instead of physical books. The $50 could be spent at a bookstore, giving the bookstore owner a job. Alternatively, it could be spent on lunch, a movie ticket, and a new shirt. This would give three people jobs, which benefits the economy more than giving one person a job.

My Arguments

1. E-books do not result in the destruction of trees, as physical books do. Physical books are made out of many sheets of paper, e-books are digital. Millions of e-books be made with minimal resources.

2. An e-book reader takes up much less physical space than a book does. The Kindle can hold up to 3,500 books. [2] This is even more significant when you consider that an e-book reader can hold many books, without taking up more space. The extra space can be helpful in small spaces such as apartments, tiny offices, and students' backpacks.

3. Many e-books are available free, through Amazon, Project Gutenberg, and many other sites. [4] [5] This increases the availability of books to people who would ordinarily be unable to afford them, promoting literacy.

Sources
[1] http://www.eink.com...
[2] http://www.amazon.com...
[3] http://www.barnesandnoble.com...
[4] http://www.amazon.com...
[5] http://www.gutenberg.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Lickdafoot

Pro

Sensory Experience

My opponent makes an interesting point about paper being potentially hazardous. Conversely, e-book devices are made of plastic which can be just as hazardous. [1]

Features

Most of the features on reading devices are similar to those that we use when we are on the internet, skimming through articles and clicking around. This does not put us in the same focused mindset as opening up a book does.


Half The Book

Different readers will offer different features to try and make up for the lack of a whole book. There will still be missing parts of the book, making it less of a book than a physical book.

Variety

My opponent claims that more books will become available as the demand grows. It is impossible to find them all. The point still stands that there will be many valuable books never to make it to e-book.

Anonymity

I accept my opponent’s rebuttal as a legitimate way to get around that issue. For her clarification, this could be a deciding factor for people who are concerned about putting their personal information online, where they could be subject to hacking.

Condition of Books

My opponent said that e-books can be read while not online. This is the case for reading already saved books, but not a new book. E-books are still less of a secure buy than physical books for these reasons:

They are files. Files can be damaged or lost regardless of the owners’ care.

Technological devices can malfunction, freeze, and lose power. They are known for long-term inconsistency at best. This is not the case with a book.

The length of time in which technological devices stop working properly is consistently less than 20 years (as seen in source 4 of the second round.) Books can be known to last hundreds of years.


Signatures

My opponent agrees that a signed book has value. Her rebuttal is that books can become damaged. So can anything else that gets signed. This does not change the fact that books can be signed while e-books cannot.

Economy

E-books are not always cheaper than regular books. We can look on Amazon for a comparison. They are selling a new copy of Grapes of Wrath for 8.66. They are selling a used copy for as low as 3.99. The Kindle edition of Grapes of Wrath is 12.99. [2] E-books can be more expensive than a physical book, and you will never have a chance to buy an e-book for the discounted, used price. Therefore, my original point still stands that books are more beneficial to the .


C1- While it is true that books use paper, paper can be made from other materials aside from trees. Cotton and flax are two examples. Also, e-book devices are made of plastic, which is more harmful to the environment than paper.

C2- My opponent brings up a very good point about the space that books take up. Books are physical; they can be displayed. They can be sold, donated, or given as gifts. They can be recycled for profit. That space turns into money in the pocket.

C3- Availability of free books is true of physical books as well. You can go to the library and get a free book. There are also book exchange programs to get involved with. People who are too poor to buy a book are too poor to buy an e-book reader, rendering her case on promoting literacy void.

You can clearly see where my cases show superiority.

I thank my opponent for an interesting debate!

1. http://www.health.state.ny.us...
2. http://www.amazon.com...
Andromeda_Z

Con

Sensory Experience

Bisphenol A is only released in large quantities when the plastic is heated. Provided you are not baking your e-reader in the oven, it will not release BPA in any larger quantity than anything else.

Features

It is not the action of pressing a button that provides the distraction when browsing the internet, it is the nature of the internet itself. With all the links, websites, and people, the internet can distract like nothing else. However, none of these qualities are present in an e-reader.

Half the Book

The only thing e-readers are consistently missing that books have is the paper, which we have already established can be harmful to those with allergies.

Variety

If they are impossible to find, then they cannot be read in any form and this argument doesn't further your point. If they are impossible to find in e-book form, then they will be converted to an e-book if there is demand for an e-book of them. If there is not demand, then it doesn't matter that they are unavailable.

Condition of Books

Downloading a new book can be done in a very short period of time, and then internet access is no longer necessary. it only needs to be maintained for however log it takes you to find he book and a minute or two to download it.

Files can be retrieved after damage, there are many third party services that specialize in this.

Books are not indestructible, all manner of things can happen to them. Water damage, pages falling out after repeated use, and bent pages occur all the time.

You are trying to equate an average scenario and a best case scenario. Some things will break the day you buy them and others will last for generations, but conclusions cannot be drawn from these cases alone.

Signatures

I do concede that a signed book has financial value, but value decreases with damage. To protect the value, it would be wise to protect the book from damage that can result from use. This would make the book itself of little practical value, as books are meant to be read. If a book is not going to be read, then how is it better than an e-book that will be read?

Economy

E-books, including Grapes of Wrath [1], are often available for free. My rebuttal, that instead of spending all the money at one bookstore, it can be spent at multiple different stores, still stands.

C1

Plastic is not inherently more harmful, as it is more durable. You can get it wet without it dissolving, pull at it without tearing it, and all without cutting down a forest.

C2

They can only be displayed in spaces where there is ample space to do so. In the small spaces that I mentioned, this is not often possible.

Books can only be sold after you own them. Purchasing them costs money, and used books sell for less money than new ones, so there is no real profit to be made.

C3

A library book will eventually need to be returned, which is not true of e-books.

I imagine the e-book readers being distributed in a manner similar to the one used by the One laptop Per Child program, where the devices are given to those that need them. [2] Once someone has an e-book reader, millions of books are available to them.

Sources
[1] http://www.archive.org...
[2] http://one.laptop.org...
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Lickdafoot 5 years ago
Lickdafoot
the first [6] should be a [5]
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
After reading the first round, I really wish I'd taken it. Should be a good debate.
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
Aww, I wish I had taken this - I've already had this debate a few times in school recently!
Posted by Lickdafoot 5 years ago
Lickdafoot
doesn't matter to me, you can post your arguments if you wish.
Posted by Andromeda_Z 5 years ago
Andromeda_Z
Would you like me to post my arguments, or is this round for definitions/acceptance only?
Posted by smonie55 5 years ago
smonie55
I like physical books because they aremuch more significant. you cant smell a e-book. i would argue against the person if they were saying e-books were better than physical
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
LickdafootAndromeda_ZTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Compelling argument from Pro.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
LickdafootAndromeda_ZTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a good point about the physical touching that cannot be replicated. Con cleverly baited Pro (I think) into arguing about the dangers of paper vs plastic. I was looking forward to Pro talking about how you can touch a book, physically put page markers in it, underlines and highlight important stuff in a textbook etc, but Pro never really hammered those points in. Have to vote Con for that. Also, point 2 was Pro's only strong argument, the rest were not as convincing as point 2.
Vote Placed by t-man 5 years ago
t-man
LickdafootAndromeda_ZTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had slightly better arguements
Vote Placed by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
LickdafootAndromeda_ZTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro presented a very comprehensive case for the superiority of books. The rebuttal from con was mixed - try to focus on why the ebooks unique attributes are more important, rather than just different, from the book's attributes. It was a hard sell to convince me, for instance, that turning a page was so terribly difficult in bed that I should get an ebook. Con made strong arguments of his own, and at the end, niether side had effectively refuted the other. Pro had therefore met burden of proof.
Vote Placed by RaeTulo 5 years ago
RaeTulo
LickdafootAndromeda_ZTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Look at the given definitions for "superior". 1. higher in station, rank, degree, importance 2. of higher grade or quality: superior merchandise. I think con implicitly won the definitions debate and thus has proven his/her side of the resolution better. Con proved that they are generally preferable because of the lower price, and because of the technology of E-books, etc. My vote goes to Con.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
LickdafootAndromeda_ZTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think that Pro made stronger arguments that books can never truly be replaced by e-books. Also, the argument that e-books are trying to emulate books itself is a rather strong argument.