Camila Martinez

Books are books. Not apps.

Knowledge is the one thing that each and every person searches for during their lives. You can learn in many different ways: media, experience, observation. But there’s one way that lies at the center of knowledge: books.

With the new iBook application for iPads, the purchase of actual textbooks has been increasingly called into question. They’re cheaper, essentially weightless and can all be stored into one convenient device. What’s not to love?

Let me tell you.

To begin, iBooks are only available to people who have iPads, otherwise you can’t really do much with them. Sure, you can highlight, write post-it notes and create reminders for pop quizzes, but this application is only for a select group of people, who either have iPads or are willing to buy one. Oh, and can afford them. Textbooks are universal–anyone can have access to them. You can buy them, rent them or share with a friend. Yes, they’re more expensive than an electronic download, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Textbooks are full of substance, and you can literally feel it when you hold them. When you peruse through one of these beauties, your fingertips tingle against the smooth ceramic-like pages that are open to you. They’ll never run out of battery and you never have to deal with the infamous rainbow wheel that we see all too often while using Apple products. I love Apple products; I own several of them. But there is something intimate and visceral about books that an iPad can never replicate. Human beings are visual, hands-on creatures; this is why books have continued to exist for so long. In truth, we love them. As much as you may hate your chemistry or calculus class, it’s not the books you hate. It’s the struggle, the long reading and the dreaded fear of not passing a class. And you know that the only way to survive that course is by reading that godforsaken book. Believe it or not, but that book, is your ticket to passing a class–or actually learning something.

Now don’t get me wrong, I completely support innovative technology that can make life easier for many (especially for us college students). But when things like iBooks strip us of our basic human functions to learn, interact and physically comprehend information, it’s gone far enough. By compacting our entire life into one small device we minimize our own lives and ability to learn. Like I said before, humans are hands-on creatures–we learn by doing. If I don’t have a book in front of me to highlight, annotate and grab onto, the information won’t stick. And honestly, how many people take their books to class anyways? Maybe for section, but I doubt you’re going to see turtle backpacks all over campus. It’s UCSB, people.

There’s something satisfactory and irreplaceable that textbooks, and books in general, offer. If we gave that up, or unknowingly turned them into a thing of the past, where would that leave us? What would we have left? Just look into your iPhone, iPad or MacBook. Maybe you’ll find your answers there.