Since the modern information age arrived, businesses, educational institutions and governments have increasingly used the internet to disseminate information to their targeted groups. In the process, e-books have been increasingly adopted as an important medium for delivering educational information. The widespread adoption of e-books has however raised a number of issues, ranging from copyright issues to issues of acceptance.
In this essay, the author aims to discuss the various issues that have risen as a result of adoption of e-books. First of all, e-books threaten the traditional book publishing industry (Carey, 2006). E-books are particularly cheap to reproduce and distribute since they do not involve any paper printing, cover printing, warehousing and shipment. All a user has to do is point at a URL and click on the title he or she wants, and the e-book can be downloaded either for free or for a comparatively small fee.
Publishing companies like Macmillan and Wiley have had a long standing dispute with major e-book distributor Amazon over this issue since the sales of traditional hardcover books have plummeted after the introduction of e-books (Carey, 2006). Secondly, there has been an issue of copyright infringement (Kelly, 2006). The World Wide Web has many websites that have been built primarily for file sharing. An e-book can be purchased only once and subsequently posted in many sites where users from all over the world can download it free.
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The author or the publisher of the book therefore does not profit from the efforts put in towards delivering the work (Kelly, 2006). This trend has even been reported with books which have not been released in e-book format: a buyer will digitize it maybe by scanning the pages and then publish it to the internet where everyone can have free access to the full content. No matter how law enforcers try, this has been one tendency which is virtually impossible to stop.
Copyright issues aside, the proliferation of e-books has raised issues surrounding the unavailability of efficient devices for reading or extracting the content (Rothman, 2006). Most readers access the content in e-books by using a laptop or a desktop computer, but there have been numerous complains that too much exposure to the radiation from computer monitors causes eye and brain fatigue. The smaller devices available like Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and mobile telephones are too small and a user cannot read the content comfortably from such.
In addition to this, all devices used in reading e-books are technology-based, and users have to be conversant with these technologies so as to be able to exploit the benefits of the e-book revolution. Finally, there have been acceptance issues in the adoption of e-books in the contemporary reading culture (Nelson, 2008). Generations of readers have grown up reading paper books (printed books) and have gotten so used to this that making the transition to e-books is not a very comfortable venture.
Many students have continued to prefer printed paper and only use e-books for referencing purposes. The reading society is not as biased towards modern technologies as everyone would like to assume. According to statistics, many college students and faculties have continued to exhibit preference for paper books (p-books) over e-books for research, textbooks and for leisure reading (Nelson, 2008). All in all, technology is continually becoming popular, and despite the issues related to widespread adoption of e-books, digital libraries are becoming a force to reckon with in the literary scene.
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