survived quite a few tests in their long history and, despite everything, have
stuck around to this day. Nowadays, however, they are threatened by a new
challenge, that is, general digitization, which is moving our lives and work
online and further into the “cloud”.
In such a
world, it is increasingly difficult to find time to sit down and pick up, not a
phone or a computer mouse, but those sheets of paper and a cover that are included
in a “classic” book.
found their way throughout history, and today is no different. It started with
selling books online, followed by e-books and audiobooks.
What are we
talking about here? It is about books that have been converted from a physical
medium into electronic form and then stored on a certain portal, called an
e-library. An e-library, or digital library, in addition to the storage itself,
also enables access and management of a wide variety of digital documents, from
books and magazines to audio files, images, and videos.
e-books and e-libraries
advantage of digitization is quickly noticeable, especially in the access and
organization of these documents. We can access them anywhere and anytime, and
we can also find a specific book or magazine much faster than in a
of books naturally also brings advantages in administration. For example, if a
library had only two copies of a certain book in stock, only two people could
read that book at a time. There is no such limit with an e-library, as the
number of copies is virtually unlimited.
To borrow a
book, users do not have to get into their car and look for a free parking space
near the library but can browse through the books right on their sofa. At the
same time, it should be noted that with this, of course, the feeling of being
surrounded by books on the bookshelves is lost, which many people would miss.
possibility of accessing content from home particularly bloomed during the
recent COVID-19 pandemic, when libraries were closed during lockdowns, and
face-to-face contact was at least partially discouraged for a longer period.
we have hundreds of years old books stored nowadays, there are many of which no
surviving copies are known to exist. This is the vulnerability of traditional
libraries, which do not always manage to preserve valuable knowledge and
stories for future generations. Digitization, however, eliminates this
vulnerability with the help of Cloud storage, which keeps data a lot more
Digitization has also enabled various institutions, such as the European Parliament, to present their documents, books, and publications to a much wider public than before. The EP Library is thus an open online library that provides public access to thousands of knowledge sources about European Union services and the work of the European Parliament.
In Slovenia, one of the most widespread ways to access digital books is the Biblos platform. To borrow books, a user needs to create a personal account.
registration, one can borrow up to four books at once and can read each book
for up to 14 days, after which the file is locked. Therefore, in this case,
there are no late fees, because after the loan expires, access to the book is
international applications are mainly aimed at mobile phone users. In this
case, we mostly access books in the English language. To use those apps, we
will have to pay a monthly subscription, which allows us to read all the books
in a specific application for as long as we want.
What about audiobooks?
years, audiobooks have also experienced a great expansion. In most cases, it is
an audio recording of a person reading a book, and the user listens to it at
home, or while driving instead of the radio, etc. Audiobooks are especially
popular with those who do not like reading books or do not have time for it.
There are often also available shorter audio recordings in which one can listen
to the summary of a book.
can be found on a wide variety of portals. They are often found next to digital
music and videos, such as on some of the popular applications for playing music
(Spotify, Tidal, etc.). Many libraries have decided to convert at least some of
their books into audiobooks.
We do not
need any special equipment to play an audiobook. Wherever you can play music,
you can also play audiobooks in most cases, since they are stored in one of the
same formats that music is also stored on. This means that we can listen to
audiobooks on mobile phones, computers, tablets, and televisions.
audiobooks have become extremely popular, especially in the last decade, they
can already be found in the 1930s. They were mostly intended for the visually
impaired, but they were also used as an educational medium in schools and
Today, audiobooks are available in digital format, but they used to be sold
in physical form on analogue cassettes or vinyl records, and of course on CDs.
are audio and digital books?
“I was a fan of audiobooks, but I always viewed them as cheating,” says Beth Rogowsky, an associate professor of education at the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
In 2016, Rogowsky conducted a study involving three groups. One group read sections of Unbroken, a nonfiction book about World War II by Laura Hillenbrand on an e-reader, while the other group listened to the same parts. The third group both read and listened to selected sections at the same time.
all three groups took a quiz designed to measure how well they had absorbed the
material. As the findings showed, there were no significant differences in
comprehension between the three groups, regardless of whether they were
reading, listening, or reading and listening simultaneously.
Key information is hidden in the use of e-readers. An Israeli study from 2014 indicates that the effectiveness of learning and understanding deteriorates if a book or magazine is read on a screen rather than in physical form.
University of Virginia (US) psychology professor Daniel Willingham believes that reading on a screen reduces learning and comprehension compared to reading from printed text. With e-books, we do not have a sense of how much we have already read and how much we have left. As you’re reading a narrative, the sequence of events is important, and knowing where you are in a book helps you build that arc of the narrative, Willingham explained to Time.
Research from 2016 also suggests that anchoring certain words to the pages of classic books can help us remember what we read more easily.
article is part of joint project of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European
Studies and the Anton Korošec Institute (INAK) Following the path of
digitalization in Slovenia and Europe. This project receives funding from the
information and views set out in this article are those of the author and do
not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union
institutions/Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies/ Anton Korošec
Institute. Organizations mentioned above assume no responsibility for facts or
opinions expressed in this article or any subsequent use of the information