Books vs. eBooks

The great bookworm debate.

books vs ebooks

It’s actually a good one, and one that’s hard for me to choose a side on.

I grew up reading physical books, as most of us did.  Out of all the different books I’ve read during my (almost) 25 years, my best memory of reading physical books was waiting for the newest Harry Potter book to be released and actually holding those treasures in my hands.

Pros of Physical Books:
  • If you spill something on it, it’s usually still readable.
  • Marking a spot is easy with placing a sticky note/tab on the page.
  • You can sell or donate a book if you no longer want it on your shelf.
  • You can let your friends borrow your books.
  • People will know you’re actually reading (who does that?).
  • You can buy discounted/bargain/used books.
  • Reading a real book relaxes you more than reading an e-book.
Cons of Physical Books:
  • They’re heavy (which really stinks when traveling or moving).
  • A store or library might not have the book you want available.
  • They take up space in your home.
  • The book can fall apart if damaged or just really old.
  • You can’t read in the dark (without a book light).
Pros of Kindle/Nook Books:
  • You can fit thousands of books onto the device and bring them anywhere.
  • It’s easier to eat or do something else with your hands while reading.
  • E-books tend to be cheaper than physical books.
  • You can get an e-book the second it’s released (no more waiting outside in the cold!)
  • People don’t know what you’re reading (which is really good for guilty pleasure books).
  • You can adjust the text size (no need to buy large print books!)
  • You can easily read in the dark (not that you should…)
Cons of Kindle/Nook Books:
  • If the e-reader gets wet, you lose everything (unless you buy another e-reader).
  • You can’t lend them out to anyone (or not very easily, at least).
  • It’s not good for your eyes to be fixed on a screen for a long time.
  • Reading on an e-reader isn’t as relaxing (the screen can actually make it harder to sleep).
  • It’s not as easy to mark a spot that you want to go back to later.

So there are obvious pros and cons to both ways of reading – it really all comes down to personal preference.

While in most cases an e-reader is probably more practical, I have still found it more satisfying to read a physical book.  I also find it easier to remain focused on a physical book than my Nook.  So I guess when it comes down to it, I’m on the physical book side of this debate.

That said, nothing can replace that cozy feeling of curling up with a book and a hot cup of tea.

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30 thoughts on “Books vs. eBooks

  1. Jenny says:

    I’ve never tried an e-reader. I look at screens all day long so it’s really nice on my eyes and my head to read something that’s not a screen. I’m siding with you, physical books for me!

    • Tabby says:

      That’s good you haven’t! Don’t go to the dark side! Haha. I have one because my aunt bought it for me, and I do like it, but I only really use it for when I’m going away for a few days.

  2. Sophie says:

    I struggle with this so much. Practically speaking I am so aware that an e-reader is so much better because my house has reached the point where no matter where you are there is a book of mine close by, and carrying a book with me does sometimes weigh my bag down when they are on the larger side. But I can’t give them up. I love seeing the physical stacks of all the books I have read and all the ones I want to read. I have a compulsion to go into bookstores all the time to just look at books (I did it today and left with 4 oops…) because I love them so much. And I can’t give them up, even though practically it would make sense haha

    • Tabby says:

      I hear you. I’ve moved around so much and it’s always a pain to lug those heavy boxes in, but I love seeing overflowing bookshelves. I was always at the bookstore when I was in college because there was a Barnes and Noble right down the street… I’m surprised they didn’t offer me a job since I was there so much! Ha. I literally just want to spend all my days off in a bookstore or library going through the books.

  3. mimi45rog says:

    Well, I’m actually a bit divided on the subject. My house is full of books and I still like to read them, but I also have the kindle app on my mobile and it is so convenient when you sit at the doctors waiting or at work during your break. But I can’t seem to concentrate as well as with a proper book I admit. Also, I have lately developed a fondness for audio-books. They can be very entertaining especially when I do my cross-stitching. So there is a third option available if you can’t make up your mind 😀

    • Tabby says:

      I’ve tried listening to audiobooks and I just can’t get into it – my mind wanders too much. I do like the convince of ebooks, like you said, when you’re at the doctor’s or wherever. It’s really hard to be fully on one side or the other… all the options are great :)

      • mimi45rog says:

        It took me a while to get the hang of audiobooks. It helps if you find one with a pleasant voice. At some stage I was listening to a series of books about 4-5 hours every night while I was cross-stitching. That was so much fun.

    • soccerspook says:

      I don’t like reading that much, but I love the audio-books. I listen to them on walks and when my family travels out of state. Those are definitely better for a person like me, haha :D

  4. Jean C - GzN says:

    Mmm.. I have read e-books and hardcopies, and to be blunt e-books is much more convenient than traditional book (all-in-one device, easy to carry, fonts, page scroll, etc..) That being said. the only times I read now is when I am waiting for my laundry to wash / dry-up. those are the times when I am idle in one place, I chose a hard-copy. the feeling is real for me.

    – E-books when I used to commute to college (40min bus ride + 10 min subway)
    – Books when I wash my clothes or doctor’s appointments (waiting rooms just ask for old school reading)

    • Tabby says:

      E-books are definitely more convenient, and I’m surprised don’t use them for school. I personally like to take mine camping each year when I go with my dad and step-family… it makes it so much easier to read in my tent at night, haha :) Plus, since I do so much reading on vacation, it’s easier to bring a lot of books with me.

    • Tabby says:

      Makes sense. It’d be more practical for me to keep all my books on an eReader with all the moving I do, but I don’t. I can’t part with my books.

      And thanks! :D

  5. nikkispeaks says:

    I’m all about my ebooks. Don’t get me wrong, I love a physical book in my hand, but oh how I love my ebook. Its just so convenient. I still prefer the traditional book when I’m reading self help/non fiction stuff.

    • Tabby says:

      Yeah, I feel like there are certain books, like the self-help/non-fiction, that I can comprehend better if it’s a traditional book.

  6. ericx33 says:

    I think I actually prefer the e-books because of the convenience. I can have multiple books with me and it doesn’t weigh me down, and the books are usually cheaper. I do like physical books and all, but I like the benefits of e-books more :)

    • Tabby says:

      I definitely see those points since I have a Nook, it’s definitely convenient. I’m just old-school on this, haha :)

  7. Suze says:

    I can’t use an e-book reader…some of us are stuck with (read enjoy here) real books due to various eye problems. I have tried a few different readers and all of them are extremely difficult for me to see the words. I have dyslexia and it is so much easier to read a book. Actually I can barely read what I am writing here and have to just have faith that it will show up with correctly spelled words! lol

    • Tabby says:

      Yeah, that’s understandable as well. Even too much screen exposure can give people consistent headaches. I think someone actually pointed that out before, but it’s a good reason to stick to the real books :)

  8. madisonpeyton says:

    Has heavy as they can be, I prefer old school books. There’s just something more comfortable about reading with a real book as opposed to an eReader.

  9. Ngobesing Romanus says:

    I like this discussion and the various views being expressed. I am not yet into e-books and I think it will be hard for them to replace the physical books. The two will have to journey together like brother and sister. For now, my inclination is what I am used to – physical books. Change is not an easy thing.

    • Tabby says:

      I was shocked at how big of a response this post got, but I’m also happy to see there are many passionate readers out there. I feel like with all the social media and video games, reading is a dying pastime. But I guess I was wrong :)

  10. suzannebowditch says:

    I can see the pros and cons for both sides BUT I much prefer a physical book to an e book. I actually love wandering around book stores, and there is nothing like the smell in a book store – a place filled with knowledge and ambiance. I like the excitement of waiting for a new book in the store (even if its raining!) We can live with books and ebooks existing side by side, but please don’t let the ebook replace the book.

    • Tabby says:

      I don’t think ebooks will replace old-school books. I think there are too many of us who prefer to read an actual book. :)

  11. Vandana Mathur says:

    I love to read physical books. Though I have a kindle too, but I am still not very used to it. I agree ebooks are convenient to carry, and save a lot of space as well but I think old habits die hard. I have grown up reading old – school books, and it will take time to adjust to new technologies.

  12. Kenzie Smith says:

    That’s funny, one of my earlier memories of reading includes waiting for the newest Harry Potter books when they were released! You list some great pros and cons of real books versus e-books. When the e-readers first came out I swore I would never own one, but then I bought one and really like it! It doesn’t take the place of real books but it is really neat!

    • Tabby says:

      I swore I wouldn’t either, then my aunt bought me one and I actually ended up liking it, not more than actual books, but I like it :)

      They’re definitely good for someone who travels a lot.

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