Ah… the age-old debate. Is this an overdone topic? Probably. But I wanted to share with you all the reasons why I like and dislike both eBooks and physical books, so I’m writing on the topic anyway.
I’m pretty new to the world of eBooks. Just after Christmas (and about three weeks after I started my Tumblr book blog), I decided to buy myself a Kindle. I’ll be honest – I used to be one of those people who was super stubborn and would say that I had no interest in an e-reader or eBooks in general because it wasn’t the “real thing.” (I was stupid, I know, but let’s just ignore that for now.) But I also knew that you could get great deals on books by buying the eBook version rather than a paperback or hardcover and that there are tons of free eBooks for you to download as well. I also noticed that it was much easier to get review copies as a newbie blogger if you accepted digital copies. So I bought a Kindle.
I honestly use it a lot more than I thought I would. I thought I would only really use it for the occasional review copy and while I do primarily read eARCs on my Kindle, I also have downloaded tons of free books and bought a few books that I’ve been wanting to read that had great deals.
However, I still prefer physical copies. I’m not quite sure what it is about physical books. I think part of it is just that I like seeing the books on my shelf (or more accurately, scattered throughout my dorm). It’s so much more satisfying than looking through my Kindle’s library. Another thing that is admittedly a huge plus for me is that if someone asks me what I’m reading, I don’t have to actually answer them – I can just hold up my book and they can look for themselves (nearly every time my boss sees me reading, she asks what book it is).
Here are some other pros and cons of each that factor into my opinions of them:
- They’re much easier to carry, especially when travelling, and much lighter to carry.
- You can have a lot of books available to read without them taking up a lot of space (a big plus for me, as I live in a small dorm for most of the year).
- They’re cheaper than physical copies.
- They’re easier to hold comfortably. I can lie on my side in bed and still easily read from my Kindle, but I can’t do that with a physical copy.
- You can easily adjust the text size to make it easier for you to read. I don’t ever really do this, but for people who don’t have good vision this could absolutely be a helpful feature.
- You can highlight/make notes without actually writing in the book.
- You can strain your eyes if you read for too long. Yes, this can be a problem with physical books, but electronics tend to strain your eyes more quickly and worse (at least in my experience).
- You can’t easily tell how much is left in a book/how long a book is. You have percentages, but 80% means vastly different things for a book that’s 200 pages and a book that’s 800 pages. You may know you only have 20% left to read, but is that 40 pages or 140? The same thing goes for individual chapters too.
- You have to keep your device charged to be able to read.
- Sometimes eBook retailers remove editions from their store and from your device and then you’re out of luck, despite the fact that you paid for it. I honestly had no idea this was a thing, but BookRiot recently posted an article about it.
- You can lend them to or borrow them from friends.
- You can resell/trade/donate them if and when you no longer want them.
- You can easily flip back to the beginning or end to look at things like maps, glossaries, etc. or just to flip back to something that happened earlier to remind yourself of it when it’s mentioned later.
- You can arrange them on your shelves however you want.
- It’s often easier to read books that may have illustrations/photographs or different formatting. I remember seeing a few people say that Illuminae was much easier to read as a physical copy than an eBook for this reason.
- You can use bookmarks! Yes, I’m including this as a real pro. I have lots of bookmarks that I love and want to use, but they’re useless to me if I’m reading eBooks.
- You can lend them to friends. Yes, I’m listing this as a con too – some friends don’t take good care of books or you may just not want to lend them out!
- They can be bulky and awkward to hold.
- If you want to read in the dark, you need to use a book light. I personally hate book lights – I find them very annoying and they get in the way.
- The more you read them, the more damaged they’re likely to become.
As you can tell, I’m pretty evenly spread with likes and dislikes between the two. For me, it mostly comes down to personal preference. I just prefer to read physical copies. What about you? Do you prefer one over the other? Do you agree/disagree with any of the points I’ve brought up? Do you have any to add?