The rising popularity of eBooks in recent years has encouraged the debate: “Paperbacks vs eBooks”. While both have their pros and cons, the final decision is ultimately up to you to decide which is more suited towards your lifestyle.
If you’re an avid reader, then you’ve definitely asked yourself the question “Am I cheating on my paperback books if I buy ebooks?”
As a kid, I refused to purchase a digital copy of any novel I wanted to read. Mostly because I felt like there was no satisfaction in having a file on a computer rather than a tangible copy I could hold in my hands. Now that I’m no longer a naive kid, money has become a factor that I’ve had to consider.
Personally, after trying out both formats, I now enjoy reading a mixture of both paperbacks and eBooks. If there’s a book by an author that I particularly enjoy, or if I’ve re-read a book more than twice, then I tend to buy a physical copy of it, usually from Book Depository. This way, my bookshelf is filled with books that I love and will read again, and not books that I won’t touch again after the first reading.
Why Should You Purchase Paperback Books?
You get to hold a tangible copy in your hands.
If there’s one reason why I will continue to buy paperback books for the rest of my life, it’s that I get to touch it and hold it in my hands. I find it strangely therapeutic to manually flip pages with my hands.
If you ask anyone who considers themself a passionate reader, they’ll say that they love printed books because they love the feeling of being able to touch, smell and see the book. There’s something wonderful about having a physical copy in front of you. Being able to feel the texture underneath your fingertips as you turn the page. Many people also enjoy annotating their books, so if you like making notes while you read, paperbacks may be the option for you.
You retain the memories of reading a printed book much better than an eBook.
Reading an actual book reduces the risk of concentration loss and makes it much easier for you to immerse yourself into the literature in front of you. The process of reading a physical book can imprint certain memories into your mind. If you were trying to remember a certain paragraph, you might recall how you were feeling whilst reading that specific passage or you might try to remember where it was located on a page, if it was on the left or right side or if it was at the top or bottom of the page. These significant characteristics that a printed book have, make retaining the memories of reading more fresh and at the forefront of your mind.
Printed books can be treasured for years to come.
As years pass by, books can become collector’s items and be worth significant value in the rare book market. Popular books with editions that are no longer in production increase in value and can often sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. For example, first editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone can often sell for four or even five figures!
Books are sort of like wine. They get better as they age. Slowly, you are able to watch as the pages darken and yellow, and the book develops a musty smell, much like the smell that lingers permanently in any vintage bookstore you walk into. This is partly what makes a printed book so special. You get to watch as it grows old with you.
You can lessen the strain on your eyes.
It is widely known that staring at a screen for too long is extremely harmful to your eyesight. Reading words on paper can lessen the strain on your eyes as your eye muscles don’t have to work to track the movement of pixels on a screen. In addition, the yellow tint of most book pages lowers the contrast between the words and the background and makes it less tiring for your eyes to read for long periods of time.
A paperback book has no distractions.
In this digital age, it can be very hard to get your mind to switch off after a long day. Reading has always been a calming hobby, something that’s supposed to relax and soothe the mind, to provide an escape from the world, but this can only happen if you’re fully immersed in the book.
Reading on a digital device such as a mobile phone or laptop does not eliminate distractions, rather, you’re more prone to getting distracted if you are constantly bombarded with messages, tweets and updates. I’ve personally noticed that being disrupted while reading increases my agitation and is definitely not how I intended to feel during my reading time.
Why Should You Purchase eBooks?
They’re cheaper than physical copies.
Purchasing digital copies are without a doubt cheaper than purchasing physical copies. This means that you can purchase MORE books for the same amount of money and you have more reading material to last you a longer amount of time. In addition, if you purchase a printed book only to read it once, it will simply end up on your bookshelf gathering dust. This might be sufficient reason for those on a budget and those who have limited storage space to consider purchasing digital copies.
You can purchase them anywhere with the ease of online shopping.
With the world moving online more and more each day, it’s become ridiculously easy to shop online and have it delivered to your door the next business day. But what do you do if you’re abroad or travelling?
With eBooks, you have the freedom of purchasing and then downloading straight to your device. However, with paperbacks, you have to go through the process of finding the closest bookstore, possibly travelling a large distance to get there and then facing the likelihood that there won’t be anything within your interests. If you’re overseas, then you also run the chance that there isn’t anything in your language. Of course, you have the option of purchasing paperbacks online, but that would be difficult to complete while travelling.
They’re more convenient to carry around.
Digital copies of books can be accessed on any device, whether it be your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. This means that they are much more portable than physical books and you have the freedom of reading anywhere you like.
Paperback books are heavy, there’s no doubt about that, especially if you want to carry more than one book in your bag. So what do you do when you want to bring more than one book on your trip? With eBooks, you can bring as many books as you wish and they won’t take up any extra space or add any weight to your luggage. This way, you are not limited to only carrying one or two books because of the weight.
They’re easier to store.
With ebooks, your only limit is the amount of storage space you have on your devices. With paperback books, however, you’re limited to how many shelves you have available to store books. You can have hundreds of books stored on your device and yet still have plenty of space left over, but once you’ve filled up your bookshelf, you’ll be stuck on finding a storage space for your books.
Digital devices are backlit so you won’t be limited to where you’re able to read.
One of the main drawbacks of reading a book printed on paper is that you are limited to reading only in places of sufficient lighting. This means that you can’t read in a car travelling at night or in a darkened plane without disrupting the sleeping passenger next to you. This is where backlighting comes in handy.
The backlight and high contrast of digital devices make it much easier to read in places of poor lighting. However, this also increases the strain on your eyes, so you have to give your eyes enough time to rest between reading sessions. This is where the development of eReaders comes in.
While previous generations of eReaders did not come with backlighting so as to imitate the feeling of reading a book printed on paper, recent versions such as the Kindle Paperwhite now come backlit to give readers the freedom of reading anywhere they want regardless of the lighting conditions.
In the end, it all comes down to personal choice. If you decide that printed books are the better option for you, then I recommend Book Depository or Amazon. If you enjoy reading eBooks more, then you can purchase them directly from Apple Books or from Google Play Books.