The eRead Era: Print is Holding on for Dear Life

Iman Naima Smith

Staff Writer

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Amazon’s Kindle device sits atop an issue of The New York Times, the device asserting its dominance by displaying its ability to host articles and much more media. Photo courtesy of Amazon’s website. 

It’s no secret—we live in a colossal technological era. The writings of J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins can be read on portable devices of all diverse dimensions.

Nicole Dei, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, has a preference for eReaders—her study life operates much simpler. “I prefer them because I could copy them [electronic content] into a study guide,” Dei said.

To Dei, print is a bit temperamental. “I hate how if the print is small, it hurts to read. I just don’t like flipping pages—it makes the process go by way slower,” Dei said.

Broadcast journalism junior Bradleigh Chance takes comfort in holding a good ol’ paperback. “I like making up my books with highlighters and little annotations,” Chance said.

Results from a series of telephoned surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project depicted enthralling statistics in relation to eReaders vs. print.

According to the report, 21 percent of Americans had read an e-book, where e-reader owners read an average of eight books a year more than people without such devices in February 2012.

The eReader has gently made its way onto the center stage of education, with print still active—just holding on for dear life.

Dei feels the eReader serves an imperative role in the classroom. “We’re entering an age where everything is being taught through technology,” Dei said. “I think by teachers utilizing eReaders more, keep classes more current.”

Chance cautions that when operating eReaders in the classroom, teachers should be technologically savvy. “I think that eReaders have the potential to aid technological learning, but teachers need to know how to help students use them,” Chance said. “Sometimes students know more about technology than their teachers!”

A survey conducted at the University of Maryland invited respondents to decide whether they fancied eReaders or print. Out of 40 participants, 85 percent said yes to preferring print above eReaders—15 percent said no.

The inquiry of preferring eReaders as opposed to print depicted 15 percent declaring yes while 85 percent affirmed no. The survey was not only open to general students—Honors Humanities students were privy as well.

Allison Peters, a sophomore government and politics and history double major, is the president of the Honors Humanities Student Council.

Her council received a noteworthy gift in 2012.

“The Nooks were given to us at the beginning of last year. The theme for the program last year was ‘Humans 2.0,’ which focused on the value of technology in the humanities,” Peters said.

To Peters, the addition of the Nooks was not very successful. “I was only a minority of students that used them, and even when they did/do use them it’s for PDFs—not books,” Peters said.

Peters feels that eReaders upset the learning process. “It eventually just becomes another screen for us to look at,” Peters said.

The University of Maryland Libraries host a webpage coated with helpful instruction on how to dissect the mechanics of an iPad to that of a Kindle, as well as where they can be accessed within the library’s database.

The university’s bookstore even offers an elaborate array of tablets for students who may just favor the touch screen above traditional inked pages.

So will the age of print ultimately make an everlasting departure?

“Yeah,” Dei said. “I predict it’ll happen in the next five years.”

Peters declares a slightly dissimilar prediction.

“I think that print magazines and newspapers will absolutely die, but I think there are enough book purists to keep books in print alive.”

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