In defence of books

Anything published in a book will almost certainly have been rigorously fact checked

Strange as it might now seem, for much of our history humankind treated books with the same kind of admiration that people currently devote to the latest iPad. For millennia, one of the key measures of a civilisation's greatness was the kind of elaborate storage facilities it built to house books, and grand buildings such as the Library of Alexandria were renowned throughout the civilised world.

Nowadays, libraries are having to reinvent themselves and bookstores are going bust. University and TAFE students with an assignment due will do a Google search rather than consulting an encyclopedia. But even in 2013 there are still three key things books have going for them.

Books are trustworthy

While people can and do publish anything on the internet, most books are sold by large publishing companies with a reputation to protect. That means that anything published in a book will almost certainly have been rigorously fact checked.

Books provide detailed information

Whether it's a Wikipedia page or a standard website, information provided on the internet is typically designed so it can be skimmed rapidly to provide a broad overview of a topic. That's fine, but if you want to explore a subject more thoroughly you're still better off reading a book written by an expert.

Books are the ultimate portable reading device

You can take a book on the train and not have to worry about it running out of power halfway through your journey. You can take it to the beach without having to worry it'll stop working if it gets a bit of sand or a few drops of water in it. And you can even drop it from a great height onto hard tiles without worrying about it shattering.

The internet undoubtedly has much to offer, but it's not a replacement for everything that came before it. So next time you're searching for some quality information, take a leaf out of your grandparents' book and consult one of those rectangular objects full of paper and ink.