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What Does The End of Paper Books Mean?

My heart sank when I heard it said that at some point, paper books that you can hold in your hand will be replaced completely by the ones lit up by backlight and a screen.

I always get a little amazed when my little ones are able to show me how to do something on the computer. I am pretty computer saavy, but they know a lot! My 3 kids love to read and I am soooooo thankful for that. I have many warm, fond memories of cuddling around a good book every night with these 3 little cherubs, which continues into today, so my heart sank when I heard it said that at some point, paper books that you can hold in your hand will be replaced completely by the ones lit up by backlight and a screen. Even though they would know their way around this big time, what might we miss?

I can feel the recycling crowd cringing right now as this seems like an opportunity to save a lot of trees and lower our paper consumption, but there is just something so special about cuddling around that book with the pictures. The feel of turning the pages and even the smell of a brand new book. We will miss all of that.

I also wonder about increased screen time for my kid’s eyes and posture and sleep. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, D.O., "Glowing Gadgets Fool Your Brain and Disrupt Your Circadian Rhythms".  Circadian Rhythms are what control the times we sleep and the times we don’t. A cuddly book at the end of the night is there to calm the child and help them get ready to sleep. I doubt very much that a backlit screen will do the same. I haven’t seen it, but would love to see a study done on the levels of ADHD and other diagnosable conditions in our kids, and see if there is a correlation with the growth in screen time.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those "ban the screen" people, who wants to get rid of computers and go back to the old-fashioned way completely. There are days I cannot imagine how I got along before my Yahoo calendar or my blogs, but there has to be a balance.

Rodgers Forge Elementary School kindergarten teacher Deborah Hughey compares reading an e-book to seeing a picture of Vincent van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers rather than the real painting with its three-dimensional feel.

While I agree with Deborah Hughey, I also know that for some who do not have access to books, ebooks can open up a whole new world for them.

As for us, we don’t know if this world with no paper books will come to pass, but we are saving our books so if it does, our kids have some paper books to share with their children so they can cuddle around the pictures and not the screen.

Dr. Sherri is a Child and Family Processing and Motivation expert seeing people via webcam. For more info click here.

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marilyn June 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM
not for me, no way. when Google keeps track of what you read, what page you are on etc. via satellite, forget it. And yes, they do. How can someone have access to ebooks and not actual books? Every town and every school has a library, or at least the county does. Taxes pay for libraries, I'd rather do that than pay for some crazy thing that is making somebody a millionaire off of my info.
marilyn June 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM
A better title would be 'What Would the End of Paper Books Mean" as the current title insinuates that this is fact and currently happening. Unless of course it's one of those tricks to get people to Gasp and read the story.....!
LMJ June 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM
I think there is room for both. Something that has always bothered me about the kindles, is that they are electronic and electronics fail, and you will loose information on it. We all have lost a certain amount of valuable information on our computers because our hard drives have crashed, even with recovery. I do think we all spend too much time in front of computers, but so many of us make a living, being in front of it. I keep thinking back to my childhood and my mom saying, "Don't sit so close to the TV!" How is this better when many of us are inches away from it?
Hi Marilyn, I read an article about folks who in are in other lands in poverty who are getting these devices donated. Places that don't have libraries like we do. So that is what i was referring to. I hadn't even thought about the tracking part of this. Good point!
No tricks. Just came up with that title. Didn't mean to say it was a formal move. Just that it is happening. I have heard and read that many publishers are going to ebooks because it is cheaper for them which is logical. The one place I would probably like to see more ebooks is with the text books. I watch these poor kids carrying their whole lockers home on their backs looking at a future of chronic back problems, but I digress. :)
Hi LMJ, I remember being told that too. Brings back memories! :) I have also read lots of info lately about the blue light that computer screens emanate that effects the brain somewhat like sun does, of course without the healthy vitamin D part. This blue light can stimulate being awake and I believe has much to do with increasing amounts of insomnia and from that, chronic diseases. The brain produces melatonin in response to darkness and if you think about the way people existed prior to the advent of electric light, they were awake with the sun and asleep with the darkness. We don't do that anymore. Many people are burning that candle at all ends! If you look up studies on shift workers, people who work overnight and sleep during the daytime, they have illnesses at much higher rates than the normal population, including cancer. Obviously, reading on a computer screen for a short time does not make one an overnight worker, but on a lesser scale the sleep rhythm thing could apply without good balance and boundaries.
Pedro B June 28, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Keep in mind you aren't limited to Google for your ebook reading/storage. There are plenty of other avenues that do not involve as many privacy breaches. Do a little more research and the 'fear factor' will disappear. Ebooks are definitely a good compliment to what we all have enjoyed in paper for so long. Also, there are plenty of inner cities in the U.S. with public libraries that have less than adequate children's book collections. Everybody's not in DF/HP with our wonderful north shore resources per capita.
Pedro B June 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM
What you need to do is learn how to properly back up your data and it's not such a big problem. The key is, multiple redundant backups. Understand, a typical user's ebook collection takes up very little space. It can fit on a simple USB flash drive that are often given away as souvenirs. Mine is backed up monthly, separate from the primary PC backups, and gets thrown in the kitchen junk drawer, den, etc. This is easy stuff if you get someone with decent entry level IT knowledge to assist. There are primers on this topic for newbies on the internet if you look around. Lifehacker.com is a great site that gives good non-techie explanations if that's what you are looking for.
Hi Pedro, As I said in an earlier comment, the point you bring up is a valid one. Not everyone has perfect resources and this can be a help. Getting people reading is a positive no matter how it happens. :)

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