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Why Do We Need Books?

Just another human being drifting through space and time; living life; sometimes even experiencing it

Books have always been a very important source of formal knowledge for human beings. Since the very inception of the age of reading and writing, books have been serving as a primary source of authentic and reliable information. In fact, books were the only way of gathering information up until the advent of the internet. With the advent of powerful search engines, there is increased inclination among people to use the internet to find information and facts. However, books continue to play an important role in the quest for knowledge. In this modern age of the internet, what is the relevance and importance of books in our academic and social lives? This article attempts to answer this question.
In the modern day and age, there are two primary ways of obtaining knowledge. One option is painstakingly sifting through pages and pages of a book (in most cases more than one), just to get your hands on a required piece of information. This indeed is a very difficult and time taking procedure. The second available option is browsing a particular topic on the internet and one can find the required information in seconds. For example, if a student needs information about the events transpiring in a particular year in "American civil war", he/she can simply search that particular year on any search engine and can come up with everything needed on that topic. Therefore, one might argue that the internet is an efficient and fastest way to search for information.

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On the other hand, when one attempts to find information using a book, the task suddenly becomes a lot more demanding, exhaustive and time-taking. Now the task involves painstakingly sifting through words in pages of a book to find required information. Moreover, in books, most of the information that we see is not exactly what we are looking for. Still, we might be able to understand and comprehend that information too. While getting through this process finally we can find the required facts that we were looking for. Thus, during the process of searching for the required facts in a book, we can also acquire additional information about the topic. In other words, while getting through books we might have to interact with a lot of irrelevant facts but it might be worth the trouble because we end up with more than required knowledge. In addition, the author of the books are well-known and they have pursued their careers in the fields about which they are writing in the books. Therefore, the information provided in the books is bound to be authentic, legitimate, and indisputable and thus it can be quoted on any platform.

The temptation to bank on the internet to gather facts, knowledge and information is very understandable as it is the fastest way to get things done, but there is something fundamentally wrong with doing so. Yes, by using the internet we can get our hands on facts and information as fast as we can; but the problem with that is, the knowledge obtained from the internet might be very superficial and shallow. Once we barely get to the facts that we need from a website, we do not bother going into the details or specifics of those facts. Consequently, we can never get an in-depth understanding of the issue about which those facts are referring to.

There are certain situations in which we are being rushed by a scheduled assignment or any assessment test and time is of the essence. In such a situation, the utility of the internet kicks in. It will be understandable if a student relies on the internet to do the job. In fact, it will be a very reasonable thing to do. The balance swings to the wrong side when students rely on the internet to obtain knowledge on a particular topic using the internet as an alternative to a book. For Example, while gathering information about a well-researched project, it will not be adequate to bank solely on the internet. A book must be consulted for this purpose.

While internet can serve as a quick-fix for in time completion of an assignment or during preparation for an assessment or a test, it's the books which enable us to enhance our understanding about a particular topic and attain an in-depth insight in a particular matter and thus, we should prefer the use of books over the internet whenever we need detailed information about a subject matter.

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© 2017 Fawad ul Hassan

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