E-books - A Boon or a Bane?
Ever since eBooks made their appearance, they have been the epicentre of numerous debates. While some term the phenomenon as progress, there are others that think this is nothing but an example of mindless digital expansion. Those who support eBooks have a lot to say about their advantages but the opposition too does not lack arguments. It has been quite some time that eBooks have been in circulation but the debate whether they are a boon or a bane is still a hot topic. Have eBooks replaced the traditional books? Are eBooks just an unnecessary invention? Are eBooks for the better or for the worse? These are some of the questions that have yet to be settled.
E-books - A Boon
The advantages of eBooks are numerous:
- They are environment friendly. Traditional books are made of paper which comes from trees. Every year millions of trees are cut to make paper which in turn affects the environment adversely. This minus point of traditional books is not applicable to eBooks as they do not use paper.
- E-books enable you to carry hundreds of books with you anywhere without any extra baggage. Those of you who are avid and voracious readers take very little time to complete a given book. To them this is one of the positive features of eBooks. You can carry as many as you want while travelling without the problem of ever running out of reading material.
- E-books are more accessible than traditional books. A traditional book needs a book store or at least a book supplier near you for you to get that book but you can get any eBook as long as you have an internet connection. You are not dependent on the presence of a third party to have that book made available to you.
E-books - A Bane
The disadvantages of eBooks are as follows:
- E-books are responsible for losses in the publishing industry and financial setbacks to authors. E-books can easily be pirated and put online for free. This takes a toll on the necessary revenue of the publishing houses and the authors.
- E-books are not good for the eyes. In order to read eBooks, you need to keep staring at a screen. The light from such screens not only affects your eyes but also causes problems with your sleep.
- Reading culture is absent with eBooks. Books are more than just reading text on pages; it is the feel of the book in your hands, the smell of the paper, etc. You cannot get these feelings with eBooks.
The bottom line of this debate is that like all things under the sun, eBooks have their pros and cons. E-books have their place and specific times when it is alright to use them. It is entirely up to you that you respect that place and time. Use an eBook when a particular book is physically not available to you or when you cannot afford that book, but you need to read it. Use eBooks when you have to carry a lot of books. But at other times use traditional books. That way you will give both worlds a chance.
Top 5 Sites Where You Can Read for Free
There are many websites where you can read books for free. 5 of the best such sites are as follows:
- Project Gutenberg:
Project Gutenberg is the best eBook site on the internet as of now. This public domain website has more than 45,000 eBooks in its catalogue. If you are searching for classic titles to read then Project Gutenberg is the site to log in to.
- Google Books:
Google Books is like a search engine for books. A huge collection of books has been scanned and turned into viewable files by Google which forms the database of this site. You can find your preferred book by either typing in the title or the author, much like you would do on the Google search engine.
- Internet Archive:
This site was founded in 1996 and contains a massive collection of digitized content in the forms of audio, video, image and text. It is a gold mine for those looking for any type of information on a particular topic. With almost 60,00,000 eBooks and text files, it is highly unlikely that you won’t find your eBook in this database.
This is a cloud bookshelf where you can add your own ePub files besides the ones already there on the cloud. It has one of the most user-friendly interfaces that makes reading all the more pleasurable. It is a perfect site to log in to for reading when you are travelling.
- 24 Symbols:
This is another well-made eBooks database. It has a large collection of books which you can browse using either the title of the book, the author or even the language of the content.
10 Great Books You Can Read Online for Free
Though all the books are good yet there are some that are better. They are classics and have made a major contribution to literature or have been highly influential works of composition. Some of them are like mirrors that reflected the pathos of the times, while some of them are visionary compositions that paint a constructive future. Some of these books give you food for thought while some of them teach you to look at what you already know but from a different perspective. With digitization in almost every sphere of life, books are now available online for you to read on the go. Some of the classics are available for free. Here is a list of 10 great books you can read online for free:
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories, some of which are written in prose while some in verse, authored by Geoffrey Chaucer. The basic premise in the book is that a group of pilgrims are travelling from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of St. Thomas Becket. To alleviate the monotony and exhaustion in the long journey, they decide to hold a contest along the way where each pilgrim has to tell a story. The best story would win the contest and the storyteller would be rewarded with a free meal at the Tabard Inn on their return journey. The 24 stories are presented to the reader through this premise. Chaucer uses these tales to portray an ironic picture of the English society and critique it, especially the Church. Considering it is the magnum opus of Chaucer, the book is a must-read for everyone for its beautiful and detailed descriptions of the characters and the allure of the Middle English language.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Time travel is a very popular concept nowadays as can be judged by its strong presence in mainstream media and online discussions and debates. Time travel provides an interesting content to any movie or story and we have to thank H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine for introducing the concept in the first place. The Time Machine is an adventure novel published in 1895 and shows the use of a machine known as the “time machine” to travel back and forth in time. It is a refreshing read and fans of science fiction must not skip this book as it is a classic in that genre.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde also known as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or simply Jekyll and Hyde is a Gothic novella authored by Robert Louis Stevenson. It depicts a thrilling story of the dual nature of mankind where the two identities are polar opposites. The protagonist, Gabriel John Utterson investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Henry Jekyll and someone by the name of Edward Hyde. The novella had such a huge impact on society that Jekyll and Hyde became synonymous with the words good and evil when describing human nature.
Myths & Legends of Ancient Greece & Rome by E. M. Berens
Ancient Greek and Roman mythologies have heavily influenced Western literature and especially English literature. Right from the content itself to allusions, the myths of ancient Rome and Greece have made the framework of many English compositions. Hence it is better to know and understand these myths and legends before delving deeper into English literature. Myths & Legends of Ancient Greece & Rome by E. M. Berens is a comprehensive study of Grecian and Roman mythologies. The book is divided into two parts, the first part includes the biographies of the Gods and the second part details the legends associated with them.
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Perhaps the most important reading of the 21st century, The Communist Manifesto compiled by the German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is one of the most influential political documents. It is the source of the communist ideologies across the world and the point of origin of a new political, social and economic system. It contains an analysis of the class struggles of past and present, and the conflicts present in the capitalist mode of production. This book is an insightful and important read for young adults who are voters. Knowledge of the political systems helps voters to make an informed choice when voting for their governments.
The Complete Poetical Works of P. B. Shelly
Percy Bysshe Shelley is one of the finest lyric poets in the English language. He was a major poet of the Romantic Era and inspired many poets in the later Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian eras including gems like William Butler Yeats, Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning. His influence was not restricted by national borders as Indian poets Jibanananda Das and Subramanya Bharathy were also inspired by him. Some of Shelly’s famous poems are "To the Skylark", "Ode to the West Wind" and "Ozymandias", but his work also included visionary poems that are as good as his lyric ones. You can find his complete list of works in The Complete Poetical Works and it is definitely worth your time going through it.
The Iliad by Homer
The Iliad is an epic poem written by Homer that depicts the Trojan War that was fought between the kingdom of Troy and the coalition of the Greek city-states. The war was an attempt by the Greeks to capture the city of Troy and the siege lasted for 10 years. The poem depicts the many events that occurred during the war and the battles fought between the warrior Achilles and King Agamemnon. The Iliad covers only the last few weeks of this prolonged war in real-time but alludes to the beginning, the cause and the many Greek prophecies and legends regarding it. The Iliad has throughout history influenced Western art and literature, and you must give this epic poem a read.
The Golden Bough by James Frazer
Religion is one of the most defining elements in human life. Ever since the first civilisation, humans have humoured themselves with the idea of the Almighty in various forms and concepts. Our history is fraught with many religions and Gods, each of them a product of the reigning thoughts and ideologies of the time. The Golden Bough written by James Frazer is a non-fiction book that contains a comparative study of religion and mythology. The study is quite wide-ranging consisting of ancient mythologies along with tenets of modern religions. It is a must read book for those aiming to understand the psychology behind God.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is a novel written by Louisa May Alcott. It is an insightful story about growing up. It follows the life of four sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy as they grow up from being children to becoming women. It gives details of the experiences of the sisters from the passage of childhood to womanhood. Some allege that it is an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel. This coming of age novel is a must-read for teenage girls who are experiencing similar emotions as the protagonists. Correlating with them will help the teenage reader to come to terms with the rapid changes in her life.
The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci is a polymath who is rightly celebrated across the world. This versatile genius made contributions in almost every field ranging from fine arts to the sciences. Under fine arts, he has given us many renowned paintings like "The Last Supper", "Salvator Mundi" and of course, "The Mona Lisa" among many others. If circumstances were benign, Da Vinci would have been the first man to fly, the inventor of the machine gun, the helicopter and the tank. It would not only be a privilege but also exciting to go through the writings and sketches of a man of such intellect. Embark yourself on a journey through the thoughts and musings of Da Vinci by reading The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci translated by Jean-Paul Richter.
E-books - A Great Way to Enhance Your Knowledge
E-books not only enable easy accessibility of out-of-print books but also books of new and aspiring authors who may find it difficult to locate a publisher otherwise. This helps the book-reader to have a wide variety of reading options and to enhance his knowledge while unwinding/relaxing, at the same time. Free eBooks ease this accessibility even further. We hope you would have liked this BP Guide. Stay connected with us for more such engaging content.