Are print media becoming obsolete? Many people think so, with tablets and phones and e-readers all vying for our attention nowadays. Best-selling technology writer Nicholas Carr weighs in on the topic in this August 2013 article from Nautilus.
- With his title, Carr frames a two-sided conflict: paper vs. pixel. On which side does Carr himself stand? Where does he state his position most clearly? What, exactly, does he say?
- The majority of articles about the history and future of printed texts (of which there are many) focus on the technology of printing itself. Why does Carr choose to focus on the invention of Cai Lun? What point is Carr making with his emphasis on paper? Point to examples in the text to support your conclusions.
- Carr presents a wide assortment of evidence to support his argument, from historical accounts to recent scientific and market research. What structure does he employ to keep his ideas flowing smoothly from one section to the next? Is the sequence of evidence effective? Why or why not?
- Carr cites surveys showing that U.S. college students “prefer printed textbooks to electronic ones by an overwhelming margin.” Which do you prefer? Does your preference vary by subject matter or course level? Is a foreign language text, for example, different from one for a biology or economics course? Does print or pixel better facilitate your comprehension? Retention? Attention span? Using Carr as your They Say, write an essay in which you express your textbook preferences, considering these variables as well as any others you find relevant.