The digital invasion

The digital invasion

A growing debate among people today is whether books are now like a form of traditional media, underread and irrelevant, and the internet, a more updated and quicker version. But there are those who cannot get enough of the paperbacks.

While the internet may provide a more new-age form of entertainment, it cannot be compared to the warmth that a good book exudes. Abhinaya Harigovind, a student, says, “I personally prefer a book. My reasons are purely sentimental though — a book feels warm and alive to me, and an e-book, impersonal.” The presence of e-books, however, and the ease that comes with procuring them (either for free or at a cheap cost) now saves people the time of searching for and purchasing a hard copy, at a higher rate.

The scales seem to be balanced in terms of reliability for the two — while it takes a long time and high levels of commitment to publish a book, anybody from anywhere can publish something on the internet. Shobha Krishna, a teacher, emphasises on this factor of anonymity over the internet when she talks about the large amount of content available in the digital sphere, but with questions on authenticity. “Being a teacher, my hand quite naturally goes to the books everyday. It lets me absorb information intensely. But when it comes to the internet, there is so much content waiting to devour us, and the anonymity of the writers can’t always be trusted.”

Then again, there is so much verified content readily available over the internet, which can be accessed in a matter of seconds, that looking through several shelves to find the required information is an act that nobody has the patience for anymore. The internet is a source of the present, where information online can be modified or updated in a matter of minutes if needed. Books, on the other hand, don’t have that luxury and tend to get outdated because of the internet. Abhinaya says, “Although there are some beautiful pieces of writing on the internet, the beauty of the written word will persist irrespective of whether it is published on an electronic medium or in the form of a book.”

With advances in the digital sphere, the internet now caters to everyone’s needs, no matter how different they are. Living in a world where speed and technology seem to make all the difference, majority of the population prefers to use search engines. Shobha wraps up, “Be it to narrow down on one idea, or to sieve one out from several ideas presented globally, we live in the white heat of a technologically advancing world.”   

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