Reading is a lifelong journey for a person who really wants to take it up. Books are the source of enlightenment and work as an axe to break the ice of ignorance. Reading books is an affordable pastime too.
With the passage of time, the publication and distribution of books have changed a lot. Once upon a time, only handwritten books were available. After Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, readers got the opportunity to read printed books. Now, with widespread information technology, readers can read e-books through their personal computers, smart phones or tablets.
Readers often raise a debate whether e-books are replacing printed books or not. They hold different arguments in this regard. Many readers said that they still loved the old-fashioned way of reading and enjoy the smell of paper and the touch of a physical book. "Printed books please my eyes. The smell of paper attracts me," said Pallab Basu, a fourth year student at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Jahangirnagar University.
Srutayu Bhttyacharya Rup, a citizen of West Bengal and a regular reader of Bangladeshi books, echoed him. He said, "I always prefer going through a physical copy of book to e-book. Reading a book is not only reading some printed letters on a page, but also feeling the essence of a book by touching its cover, physical structure and by sensing its smell. Moreover, it is comfortable for my eyes too."
Sikder Masud Raihan Rumman, an intern doctor at Ganashasthya Nagar Hospital, passes most of his leisure time in reading books. He said, "Printed books are easy to read. I can highlight the favourite lines. It feels like I am reading something. While reading e-books, my eyes hurt if I look on the screen for long time and have to tap on the screen of my smartphones again and again."
Sadik Galib, a student of MA at the Department of History at University of Dhaka, said, "A book is not a book to me if I cannot feel it physically. I want to turn over the pages of printed books."
"A digital device has multipurpose-use. Notifications of applications hamper attentive reading," said Rudroneel Ahmed, a film-maker.
A few readers opine printed books and e-books have their own appeal to readers. Due to different features, e-books cannot be substitute of printed books and vice-versa. "Since I feel comfortable in both, printed book as well as e-books are on my list of favourites. Both are equally important to me. Which one I will use depends on the situation. For example, when I am in a classroom or travelling on the bus or train, I use e-books, because reading can be done through my cell phone. Carrying extra books is a hassle. When I am at home, I read paper books. I can touch the cover of books. My eyes receive no extra pressure for reading," said Mahin Bari, an ICCR scholar from Bangladesh.
James Das, a banker serving Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited, harmonized his saying and added, "E-books are available at low price and can be downloaded free of cost."
Ovinu Kibria Islam, assistant professor at Department of Microbiology, Jashore University of Science and Technology, said, "I enjoy both. It actually depends on mood and time. Once I was not used to reading e-books. When I went to Germany for pursuing my higher studies, I had to study e-books, because printed Bangla books were not available there. In the beginning, I read PDF files in my tablet. Then I started using an application named Open books. A few months later, I purchased Kindle and after that I really started enjoying e-books. Sometimes my eyes got tired, but gradually I overcame this problem."
Jakiya Yasmin Shamma, an NGO worker, constructed her arguments, "I find e-books more comfortable, but I have to rely on some devices (charge, light and view settings) for reading. Not everyone has kindle. Traditionally, I am biased for paper books, and it can always be with me in my bed, transport and places without power supply. And all the books we might love are not available in e-book format too."
Since paper is made of wood, environmentalists urge to reduce the consumption of papers to save the environment. But the sale of print books in Ekushey Book Fair is rising every year. This proves that printed books still hold the appeal, and the smell of paper matters still now.
Sadman Sakib completed his graduation from Finance, DU and currently pursuing MBA from ICMAB. He is a writer, blogger and translator. He can be reached at [email protected]