KARNATAKA

A hundred books for free on your laptop

DIGITAL DIVIDE:As writer Shashi Deshpande says, it depends on readers as to how they would prefer to read.— FILE PHOTO: H. VIBHU

DIGITAL DIVIDE:As writer Shashi Deshpande says, it depends on readers as to how they would prefer to read.— FILE PHOTO: H. VIBHU  

Reading has acquired a new dimension. Instead of flipping through pages, “scrolling down” is the new way as e-books have stormed the market.

Most of those who have shifted loyalties to e-books have done so particularly for reasons of economy —— may be space too. Instead of spending on a book, they can log in to a website and download one for free in less than an hour. All they need is to have an account in the myriad websites that offer free reading. As the e-books can be saved in PDF format, one can have an entire library in a laptop.

Vijay Arjundas, who works for a computer manufacturing company, said: “e-books have revived my passion for reading. Finding time to read was never easy earlier; but with e-books, I read novels on my iPad even during work hours.”

A few others cited larger reasons for the shift. As Alresh Mendezes (32) put it, e-books are also environment-friendly.

However, for those who swear by traditional books, like psychologist Komal Anil, the experience of holding one — feeling and even smelling the pages — is irreplaceable.

Right now, bookstore owners are not too perturbed by the increasing dominance of digital reading even though they admit sales have been dented. Ravi Menezes, owner of Goobe's Book Republic, said: “There is a fall of about 5 per cent in the sale of books now because they are available free online. But there is nothing that can be compared to the traditional book.” While there is a slow tilt toward the digital format, authors appear to have learnt to embrace the digital development, albeit hesitantly. Writer Shashi Deshpande, author of works such as The Dark Holds No Terror and If I Die Today, said, “I have a Kindle account too, but the feeling of possessing your book and writing your name on it is something different. However, it depends on readers as to how they would prefer to read.”

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