Books or Ebooks? The Pros and Cons
With the costs of tablets and ebook readers becoming lower, it may be a great time to consider purchasing e-books instead of traditional bound books. Is one of these book formats better than the other? Let’s compare the pros and cons of both books and ebooks to see if one format reigns supreme.
Ebooks are more convenient. Hands-down, ebooks win accolades for convenience. Who wants to fill a carry-on with a stack of paper books when one slim tablet can hold all those and more? With just one device, you’ve got access to an infinite number of ebooks. In addition, you have the internet literally at your fingertips as a resource for looking up unknown words, additional information, or to clarify book material. With a traditional book, you’re limited to one story and no resources.
Books are more sensory. Even though ebooks take the cake for convenience, many people agree that holding a tablet or e-reader just isn’t the same as having a book in your hands. Reading a book isn’t just a story, but a sensory experience. You feel the weight of the book and the texture of the cover, hear the sound of the pages being turned, and even smell the scent of ink and paper. For some, this is a valuable part of reading that ebooks just can’t replicate.
Ebooks can be adapted to fit your needs. Another great benefit of ebooks is versatility. Depending on the device, ebook readers offer a variety of features, from adjustable font size to changing brightness levels. In recent years, waterproof readers have become popular, allowing book-in-the-bath affectionados the ability to take read their favorite novels while soaking. Some readers even read books to you for a more immersive experience, highlighting each word as it’s read. This makes ebooks an excellent choice for children learning to read and those with failing eyesight, such as aging grandparents. The NoMeLoMe digital library even allows users to record themselves reading aloud, creating a keepsake that can be used over and over again.
Books can be personalized. Books allow owners to personalize pages in a way that ebooks can’t contest. Families record births, marriages, and deaths in paper copies of bibles, authors and illustrators autograph copies of their works, and high schoolers annotate in margins of textbooks. Books given as gifts often contain dedications and inscriptions to the recipient on the title page or inner cover. The sentimental aspect of book personalization is not to be taken lightly, as books can be passed down through generations as a family keepsake in a way that ebooks cannot.
Ebooks are hard to read in sunlight. Reading an ebook at the beach is an exercise in futility. Even with screen brightness on maximum power, attempting to read in bright sunlight is near impossible. While there is some glare on white paper pages, it is far easier to read a paper book at the beach than an ebook...and it’s not likely that your paper book will be stolen when you’re taking a dip in the water!
Books are more unwieldy. The longer the book, the heavier it becomes. Those of us with noodle-arms think twice before purchasing a lengthy hardcover book since they are so bulky and heavy. Drop a thick volume more than a few times and the book’s spine becomes damaged, resulting in an even more difficult-to-handle book. With ebooks, the weight is consistent, no matter how long the book is, and it’s a lot easier to handle.
Ebooks are reliant upon chargers. Ebook readers need a source of power, so planning to read ebooks on a primitive camping trip isn’t a great idea. Lengthy power outages and lost or damaged charging cords also cause ebook reading time to fizzle. Books don’t need to be charged, so they can be read anytime and anywhere.
Books take up a lot of space. A true book lover quickly discovers the frustrations of not having enough shelf space. While many people would love a bonafide library in their homes, it just isn’t practical to dedicate a whole room to book storage. Having ebooks eliminates this problem, as the number of ebooks you can own is limited only by the storage space on your device...and more ereader space can always be added.
Ebooks save trees. In a eco-friendly world, ebooks take first prize for being more eco-friendly. Think of all the trees that are saved each year by utilizing ebooks over traditional books! This is very important to many people in today’s environmentally conscious society.
Ultimately, the winner of the great debate of which is better, books or ebooks, is up to you! Both types of reading material have great benefits and significant drawbacks that each of us prioritize differently. Perhaps the best choice of all is to use both e-readers and books. That way, you have the perfect way to read, no matter what the situation!
A former elementary school teacher, Carolyn Mikelson has always loved children’s literature. She enjoyed the whimsy of creating spontaneous stories for her kindergarten and first grade students, and later treated her own four children to a new oral bedtime story every night. Carolyn was thrilled to move into the world of publishing after her children became a bit older, and began working as a children’s literature editor at TRP in 2014. Carolyn makes her home in the far west Chicago suburbs, where she enjoys spending time outdoors, at the theatre, and at other fine arts and cultural events. During her free time, she teaches reading, writing, and speaking English to immigrant women in her area. Carolyn is member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.