EBooks or Print Books?


There is no friend as loyal as a book” – Ernest Hemingway

True. But what if that friend was an online friend? What if the person you thought was your friend turns out to be two-faced? Online friends can’t reveal their true selves to you unless you meet up with them in person – unless there is a physical copy there for you to believe they are who they say they are. You may think you know them… but you don’t. You don’t have that social support or that physical contact.

Wait… was I thinking out loud? Sorry. Seriously, though, I have a question for you; do you prefer EBooks or Print Books? I came across an article on Facebook a few days ago “14 Things Only People Who Adore Print Books Will Understand” and it made me love print books even more. I’ll tell you why. But considering I’ve never read a single EBook, I’m probably being biased.

They are low maintenance. You don’t have to do anything to them but open them on the page you left off and you’re away. They don’t crash and they don’t get viruses. You can read for hours on end without having to reposition yourself near a plug socket because they have no batteries and you don’t have to charge them. You can stay put in your comfy spot with your tea staring out the window… if you wanted. But that’s just preference. Do you think your e-book will be readable in say, 50 years? Your copy of Catcher in the Rye will be. Imagine going into a library with your Kindle, you know because libraries have great atmospheres and your Kindle suddenly decides to shut down because it has run out of battery. Unless you have your charger with you, you can’t read from your Kindle. So all you can do is pick a book from all the thousands of books around you just like everybody else.

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The classic book smell. Duh. Don’t you just love picking up an old or new book and smelling its pages? It reminds you of all good things in life. E-readers can’t replicate that. Plus it looks weird if you start smelling your Kindle. I haven’t read a book in a couple of months so I literally just went up to my bookshelf and picked the first book I saw and smelt it. Don’t tell anyone I did that. But it just smelt so good. There is actually a scientific reason why most people love the smell of books. Barnes and Noble said “books are made up of paper, adhesive, and ink. When these materials degrade over time, they give off organic volatile compounds, which in turn produce a smell that’s appealing to readers. The reason the smell is so appealing may be because it has a hint of vanilla. The scientific explanation for the vanilla-ish scent is that almost all wood-based paper contains lignin, which is closely related to vanillin.” So there you have it, B&N have spoken. Nothing smells like that; it’s like an addiction.

Books come in all shapes and sizes. Kindles and other e-readers do not. It feels more like an achievement when you read a print book, you feel prouder. Especially when you see the left side getting thicker and the right side getting thinner as you get closer to the end. It’s exciting, and you never want it to stop. Reading from a technological device feels more like reading an academic article, it feels like a chore – boring. And you can pet books. They are nice and soft to touch. There’s something about holding a book that can’t be replicated by an EBook. You can’t help but feeling a world of pain when you finish a book, and you stare into space contemplating all your life’s choices and what brought you to this particular moment.

Your future enormous secret underground library. How cool does that sound? I love collecting books, I find it amazing that I can see all the books that I have read over the years, some more than once. It’s a visible representation of what kind of genres I used to love, and similarly the genres I’m into now. For example, when I was a young teenager I read books about vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts and shapeshifters… you know like a typical teenager. And now I love reading historical fiction and domestic fiction as well as the occasional fantasy *cough* Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children *cough*. At the moment I have a really small bookshelf. It’s quite unfair really. I’ve had to double up books in front of each other. So really, you can only see half the books I own. I have books on my shelf and on my desk. They are overflowing and I need somewhere to put them in the future. Cue underground library. I have an emotional connection to all of them. It’s not like I’m going to sell them or *shudder* throw them away. They bring back good memories for me. And I can’t throw away memories.

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It’s fun to shop for books. And you don’t care if it annoys your friends if you spend hours upon hours searching for the perfect book. I could spend a whole day in Waterstones I’m not even kidding. Sometimes I buy 4 books at a time in Asda because they’re 2 for £7 and don’t read them for a year. But they look pretty on my bookshelf so do I care? No. I mean, just looking at all the beautiful book covers in the shop is relaxing. I’m a book hoarder. I’ve even organised my bookshelf into alphabetical order by the Author’s name. And with shopping for books in bookshops, you can inspect all the pretty book covers in detail rather than looking at a thumbnail picture of its cover on your screen. Have you ever visited a bookshop? They are pure bliss and smell like forests. A town can’t really call itself a town without a bookstore.

So those are the reasons why I love printed books instead of EBooks. Tell me down in the comments why you prefer EBooks over Print books or vice versa, I’d love to hear what you think! Happy reading.

“That’s the thing about books. They demand to be read.” – Me, Just Now

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17 thoughts on “EBooks or Print Books?

  1. Hello! I vote for the E-books while keeping a gentle love to printed ones.
    It is only just because of e-books availability from everywhere – mobile, laptop, PC. They’re easy to carry – not a bad idea to have own library in the pocket, right? And also they’re more cheaper than printed version.
    As for paper books, you need to have a lot of place at home to store them and to have enough money to buy them one after another (I’m a real readercholic, so it will cost really a lot).
    So, 90% of my reading are E-books, and 10% – is a small collection of paper books that i can reread again and again with non-stop admiration.

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  2. Pingback: Interesting links of the week (7/8 – 7/14) – same stuff, different day

  3. Print for me. I love browsing the shelves in my local library; I’ve discovered so many new authors this way. It’s so easy to flick back through pages to remind yourself of a character or incident. An aside, I still have all my old hardback Enid Blytons. Imagine if they were on a e-reader, the technology would be so out-of-date now I wouldn’t even be able to look at the cover illustrations.

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    1. Oh my gosh Enid Blyton! My favourite book as a kid was The Wishing Chair, I LOVED that book ❤ I totally agree with you, they couldn't replicate the covers on an e-reader. The hardbacks just had so much character, and seeing them on a screen wouldn't have the same impact that it does on print. I must have that book lying around somewhere, my sister read The Magic Faraway Tree too.

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  4. Sometimes I wish you did not have to choose a one or the other answers. I did choose Ebooks, but at the same time, I do also like print books.

    Although you arguments for print books are quite good, they do also pose some challenges.

    If you have limited space, it is not always practical to buy and store a lot of books, and I can have access to hundreds of thousands of books through my iPad, which takes up less space than most print books.

    I also have the ability to sample new authors, genres, and series without as much commitment as if I was to go and buy print books. Such as purchasing a collection of 20 books each the first in a series for around $1 on Amazon, if I don’t like the writing style or find it hard to get into the story I can just skip to the next book, whereas if I had gone and purchased the books at a bookstore I would feel like I need to read them having spent more money to buy them.

    Which of course, brings another point, that there is an extensive range of books by self-published indie authors, that are just not available in print. While there is a lot of junk in this space there are some really good authors that just cannot get a print deal.

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    1. I see what you mean Joel with the space to put the books, and it really is difficult to find somewhere to put them if you have a small house/ room, and it can get annoying for others if you just leave them lying around everywhere.
      I think with Kindles/ eBooks that you have access to all those books and for me, I don’t like having all that choice of which book to read next. If that makes sense, so I like buying a book, reading it and then putting it on my shelf to show that I’ve read it. If I had all those options on a kindle, I wouldn’t have the time to read all of them and I wouldn’t know where to start when choosing the next book to read.
      That is actually really good value, but you can also buy a book for that price in a charity shop, and if you don’t like it you can buy another one, or give it away to see if someone else likes it. It is a bit of a waste of money tbh if I buy a book from a shop and don’t like it but I mean, you can sell those books on too if you wanted. How does it work with eBooks – can you sell/share books on them? Because that would be cool if you can.
      I see what you mean, it is a shame for them that they can’t get a print deal, and eBooks are very useful for them to get their books read. There must be some gems out there that haven’t gotten the publicity yet, which is unfortunate because I’m assuming the book market is very competitive in this day.

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  5. I love print books, too, and was a late subscriber to the eBook phenomenon. Since this article is about the love one has for print books, I will confine my comments to this theme. In the main, I am a lover of non-fiction, my non-fiction books being categorised by subject and then by author – although I have just woken up to the fact that my books on music are arranged differently, I.e. by composer (Bach, Beethoven, etc.) and then by author.

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  6. teenbookreviewer33

    Print books are so much better. Even though some are too big to hold easily, Kindles hurt my hands to hold, and they’re just not much fun. Also, you then have to worry about battery life and all sorts, so print books win for me, definitely.

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    1. Can’t agree with you more. Also, when I see someone reading a book on public transport I think “they have their lives together” and from the cover and title of the book they are reading you gain a glimpse into their lives, whereas if a person was reading from a Kindle, they are just like everyone else, attached to their technology.

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      1. teenbookreviewer33

        I see so few people reading from a normal paper book now. It annoys me when people are so attached to technology (bit hypocritical as I’m blogging and commenting right now, but I’m not in public so it’s fine). I find print books also give you an idea to the length of the book, and I find it makes the book more enjoyable. May just be me though.

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      2. Hehe I know what you mean! Everyone looks down at their phones and no-one interacts with anyone else in public anymore, it’s like we’re actively trying to avoid people. I think when you read a book on a Kindle you find yourself thinking “ugh, when will this end?” and it makes it less fun to read and you get bored, and then when you read a paper book you’re like “there’s so much that’s unresolved and I’ve only got 20 pages left! How will this end?” and it’s more exciting to read because you’re sitting on the edge of the seat thinking about all the possibilities.

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      3. teenbookreviewer33

        Also, if you’re on a modern day kindle, there is wifi enabled on them, so then you get sidetracked by notifications. Totally agree with the the pages left scenario, especially if I’m reading a boring book. Also, I like to skim read some parts, normally if they are uninteresting, so I may skim read past the ending if I didn’t know it was coming up, yet in a paper back, I see when I’m on the final chapter and then promise myself that I will read that slowly. I also try and see how long chapters are to see if I have time to read them as I hate putting a book down half way through a chapter, and that isn’t overly easy on a kindle, but takes seconds in a paper book. Sorry for the rant, lol.

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      4. Oh I didn’t know that! That’s so annoying, I’d hate all the distractions. I can’t do that, I will never look at the last page of a book until I get there, but sometimes if it is a boring part of a book I will quickly look at the last line of each page to see if it gets more interesting :’) I do the same! I count how many pages are left in the chapter and then will myself to read it all before I do anything else haha

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  7. Great article, April! I agree with you that a print book is better. I like the way a book feels in my hands compared to my phone or sitting in front of a computer. There is a difference. The fact that they’re portable is an enormous advantage (as you said, never have to worry about the battery). I tend to be a visual learner, not sure if this has ever happened to you, but I can recall from memory where printed text appears on the page. I can also remember whether it was on the left side or right side of the book. I think that’s because more senses are involved in reading a physical book (touch, sight, smell, and possibly hearing if reading aloud) compared with an eBook (touch and sight, primarily, maybe hearing if using a screen reader). Am I the only one this has happened to?

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    1. Thanks Jason! There is definitely a difference, books don’t give you eye strain. There is a lot to say about printed books, I think there was a study done once and it said that those who read print books can recall the events of the story better than if they read from a tablet or kindle. I can’t do what you can do, however! I agree with you that there are more senses involved with reading print books, and I think that does aid memory. And overall, it’s a change from staring at a computer or phone screen all day.

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