Digital Editions: Reliability VS. Efficiency

How one reads any piece of work is based on their own personal preference. From my own experience, I prefer reading from a physical book more than reading from the digital edition of the book, due to many reasons. For starters, I do not prefer reading from digital editions due to my lack of knowledge and trust in technology. What I mean by my lack of trust in technology is for instance, if I read a book online, anything can occur to disrupt my access to the book whether it is from the internet is not connecting, or perhaps there’s a glitch in the system or perhaps how I am accessing this book, usually through a kindle, laptop, or a phone, any of those machines can have a system failure at any given time, so they are not as reliable as reading from the physical text itself.

An example I can give about digital editions of books not being reliable is that one semester I saw that digital books are efficient for class use, so that entire semester, I had access to my books online. Everything was fine towards the beginning, but then I started facing issues prohibiting me from accessing these books when I needed them. I faced issues with network connection or just a general system failure from my laptop which was not expected since my laptop was only recently purchased, but that just goes to show that even though digital editions are efficient in terms of making it easy for you not to carry books around or if you want to find the section the professor is pointing at just by writing keywords, this efficiency is not as important as needing reliable access to the book.

Personally, my relationship with books is that I prefer to have my main access to the book through owning a physical copy of the book. By owning a physical copy of the book, I can read the book without being as distracted since by looking through a digital edition, I will find myself not having my sole focus on the book, I would be distracted easily. I also personally enjoy the experience of reading a piece of work from the actual physical copy, sometimes with digital editions, it is difficult to navigate through the pages or even be sure that your bookmark was saved; since I mentioned earlier technical malfunctions can occur so digital editions are not reliable. Moreover, I only look at digital editions if I want to use it in class to help me follow along with the lecture smoothly, to me that is the only way that digital editions of books are efficient and convenient, since keywords make it easy to follow along with the lecture and even find certain parts or paragraphs that you would like to share with the class discussion, so its only convenient in that case. But technical issues do occur which is why it is better to keep the physical copy handy with you. since on a physical copy, it is easy to bookmark, highlight and navigate through it, the only issue is that it takes longer time than navigating through a digital copy and again that all depends on your relationship and comfort with technology. Another point is digital copies are better if one were to require an audio version of the book due to issues with eyesight or perhaps has a language barrier and wants to learn more about how words are pronounced. (582)

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5 thoughts on “Digital Editions: Reliability VS. Efficiency

  1. I loved your comment about distraction. I know when I am reading on a computer or phone the itch to do just about anything else is right there, at my fingertips. I agree that distractions can be an issue with digital copies, however, distractions are with us constantly. I like many of the arguments you have posed here as I feel many of us will choose to look more kindly on digital editions and the devil’s advocate post is always needed, but I think your reasons need to be teased out a bit more. Navigating between webpages seems more easily accomplished than navigating between multiple books, their appendixes, background notes, etc. all at once. To me, that ease of navigation from the digital copy (one page multiple tabs or annotations on the page) is more helpful than the stack of books with bookmarks strewn across my kitchen table.
    Also, while I agree that technology is not always reliable, and enjoy that you based your argument more on the technology over content, I still feel the reliability of technology as the crux of the negative view on digital copies is not enough to convince me. Technology is constantly evolving and improving, and will continue to do so.

  2. Hussah, I love your remark on the language barrier that digital editions help avoid. There are times where even I forget how to say a certain word and my NookStudy will come in handy. I agree though that there are disadvantages in the use of an eReader in the classroom, as there may be technological flaws. What device is perfect? I do feel that the printed edition makes it easier for me to improve my memory as I navigate through the pages. In fact, just the physical touch of flipping pages come in handy when there is an open-book exam and I need to remember where a specific chapter is. However, comparatively a digital edition comes in handy when we are looking at different translated copies.

  3. I can relate and sympathize with your preference and reasoning towards the physical book rather than the digital edition. It’s also understandable if you have a lack of trust towards the Internet that could disrupt your reading. For example, there’s always a possibility to be infected by malware, virus, pop-up advertisement, spam emails, and others that can prove to be harmful. From personal experience, I had trouble submitting essays, commentary, projects over the Internet, saying that it was a bad connection or error had occurred or I was not permitted at all.
    On the other hand, however, a physical book can be easily damaged, lost, or stolen which would then require another purchase. Moreover, the physical copies could be high-demand and be in a shortage which would require more time for delivery if the only option is ordering online, time that you may or may not have to spare.
    In any case, I agree with your standpoint in the argument between online reading vs printed reading.

  4. Hussah, I am glad that you touched on the topic of audiobooks as I don’t recall any of the previous posts mentioning accessibility as an issue in favor of technology regarding language or vision (there is so much to write about and limiting our original posts to 400-500 words can be a challenge!). Also, I hadn’t thought about audiobooks in terms of a learning aid for language learners (though I had in terms of an aid for students who are sight impaired). That is another great topic to explore! Also, I didn’t mention in my post that one thing that I do like about digital editions, at least my Kindle, is the ability to increase the font on the reading screen. Readers cannot do that with print books & unfortunately I find that I am now at a point where I need to use reading glasses to help with eye fatigue. Increasing the font on my Kindle makes reading much easier and enables me to read for longer stretches of time without eye strain. However, as convenient as it is, and as many benefits as there are, like you I still prefer to read a print edition of a book!

  5. Hussah, I am glad that you touched on the topic of audiobooks as I don’t recall any of the previous posts mentioning accessibility as an issue in favor of technology regarding language or vision (there is so much to write about and limiting our original posts to 400-500 words can be a challenge!). Also, I hadn’t thought about audiobooks in terms of a learning aid for language learners (though I had in terms of an aid for students who are sight impaired). That is another great topic to explore! Also, I didn’t mention in my post that one thing that I do like about digital editions, at least my Kindle, is the ability to increase the font on the reading screen. Readers cannot do that with print books & unfortunately I find that I am now at a point where I need to use reading glasses to help with eye fatigue. Increasing the font on my Kindle makes reading much easier and enables me to read for longer stretches of time without eye strain. However, as convenient as it is, and as many benefits as there are, like you I still prefer to read a print edition of a book!

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