Is the printed book still better than the digital one? Some opinions about it

Digital files cannot last that long, as expensive maintenance must be taken into account, argue some advocates of print.

One of the things that was said when the digital age began was that books were going to disappear. Seeing various outlets switch to digital and no longer print, people were a bit hesitant.

Twenty-two years after entering the 21st century, researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) warned that not only is the book important, but it is and will be something irreplaceable.

Some people will say that the book is cheaper in digital stores and it is even more comfortable to carry a digital device to be able to read more than 500 pages, but the UNAM researchers mentioned that it will not be able to replace paper, which can be consulted for many years.

At the conference “An appointment with the National Library of Mexico: History of reading and the book in the post-pandemic. Reflections on an uncertain future”, which was carried out, freely, on social networks, the professor of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Chair made reference to the lifetime of paper compared to the book.

Today, the printed or written texts that have been recovered are hundreds of years old and can be preserved for researchers to study, said Ann Blair, chair of the history department at Harvard University.

In addition, digital files cannot last that long, since maintenance must be taken into account, which is expensive, and current technology will become obsolete, said Cathedral professor Carl H. Pforzheimer.

The professor also commented that the books did solve a storage problem, although the sustenance of this generates a very important economic expense for the institutions.

“The ink on the paper maintains cultural knowledge, for example, texts found or written in the Renaissance can be consulted, despite the centuries that have passed,” the researcher specified.

“But we live in the digital age and the transition to e-books is here and we need to constantly improve the accessibility, quality and durability of these materials. I believe that libraries are and will continue to be crucial in providing access now and delivering it in the future,” she said.

Something that also worries academics and generates an expense is the storage of documents, since the expert in Book History and Modern European History said that keeping archives is a challenge for Harvard, because several storage spaces were built, the newest in New Jersey, with the capacity to house 19 million works and is currently almost full.

In Widener Library (1915) 10 floors were built for the storage of documents and they thought that they would take a long time to fill. In 1940 problems arose again due to the large number of books, which is why in 1942 the construction of a warehouse in “New England” began, which reached its maximum capacity in a short time.

A reason that they see as practical for the digital age and “ebooks”, because in storage there are some inconveniences such as microfilms, which are delicate and you cannot see them in color.