Story by Rachel Sande

The debate between e-books and paper books is a dilemma that has been discussed for years.

“I’m going to default to an older version,” said Darin Merrill, the English Department Chair. “The engagement with the text is superior if I have the artifact in hand.”

“I prefer paper books,” said Brooklyn Cook, and Freshman studying English. “I like holding them, so I can read them and like feel the pages. It’s more of experience verses just reading them.”

“I have a very strong preference, pro paper books,” said Kiah Forester, a mother. “Physical books give you a more all-inclusive experience when you are reading a book.”

There are many reasons students may go for one or the other.

“Most students like being able to get ahold of a book,” Merrill said. “They like books that aren’t horribly expensive of course, but they also like being able to carry something that they can engage on their own terms.”

“I like holding them, so I can read them and like feel the pages,” Cook said. “It’s more of experience verses just reading them.”

“The clear benefit to electronic text is how much you can carry, a book that my engagement with is altogether my strategy,” Merrill said. “I can do it at the rate I want, I can turn pages in the way I want, I can write in it the way I want, as opposed to an e reader that restricts me from doing all of those things the way I would like to.”

“It’s harder for me to connect with what I’m reading when I’m reading it on a screen,” Forester said. “And most everything that I read online, most of it just scrolls right past my brain as soon as I read it, but when I’m reading a physical book, I’m able to see where on the page the words are, and be able to hold it with me.”

“It’s probably a mistake to give oneself over completely to electronic texts just as it is a mistake to say flat out ‘no’ to electronic text,” Merrill said.

“Books have been friends to me, having a book with me is more comforting than just another screen,” Forester said.