Whether eBooks are better than printed books has been a long-standing debate.
Though eBooks today have become the mainstay of the publishing industry, they have not completely overtaken print as predicted by analysts.
While there may be several advantages of going digital, some people find reading online daunting. Plus, there have also been some signs of eBook readers switching back to print.
So which option should you pick?
Let’s take a look at eBooks vs. printed books and compare the critical factors that make people choose one over the other.
eBooks vs. Printed Books: A Comparative Analysis
One of the primary reasons behind the popularity of eBooks is their portability. Unlike printed books, eBooks are lightweight and easy to carry. You can carry an entire library of thousands of books in a single device.
The books are easy to access too. All you need is a good internet connection, and you can download any book you like within minutes. You can carry them anywhere and even enjoy reading on the go, as long as you keep your device charged.
On the other hand, you can carry only a handful of printed books at one time. However, since printed books require no power, you won’t have to worry about charging them time and again.
Supporters of print books argue that it’s much easier to work around printed books. You can easily dog-ear pages, highlight passages, or write notes. It is also easier to keep track of pages in physical books since they never change.
Besides, some people feel that the ability to hold books or turn pages with fingers provides a more fulfilling reading experience.
However, with the advancement of technology, many features have been introduced into eBooks to provide users with a wholesome reading experience. You can now add bookmarks, highlights, and notes to digital books as well.
Plus, many eBooks have an inbuilt dictionary so you can quickly look up difficult words without getting distracted. Not to forget the search feature that enables you to track a single word or phrase from thousands of pages. Such functionalities make eBooks better suited for the fast-paced modern world.
Have you ever heard of an eBook going out of stock? No, because they never do. Also, there is no waiting time when you buy eBooks. This is in contrast to printed books, where the timeline from buying books online to getting them delivered and finally being able to read them is often long and tenacious.
With eBooks, on the other hand, you can download and read them as soon as you purchase them. You can also print eTextbooks if you want to keep a hard copy of the same.
Printed books have a set layout that cannot be altered. But the same is not the case with eBooks. You can change the font size and line spacing and adjust the format from landscape to portrait or vice versa.
Some eBooks even allow you to change the font style and color instead of sticking to the default format. This flowable quality of eBooks is another reason behind the massive surge in their sale.
Ease of Learning
There are certain situations where eBooks can outperform printed books in ease of learning.
For instance, visually challenged readers or people with dyslexia and other learning difficulties can benefit from the interactive features eBooks provide. They can magnify the font and set the layout that is comfortable for them.
E-books are also easier to integrate with audio. With the new read-aloud features in most eBooks, you can listen to written words and complete a book even while doing other chores.
However, not everyone is tech-savvy. Some people might find the features of eBooks difficult to use and prefer the simplicity that printed books provide. This is usually the case with the older generation. Even with youngsters, the potential distractions of links and advertisements in eBooks may affect their learning.
E-books do not support prolonged reading as spending too much time on screen can easily strain your eyes.
So reading a book on a digital device requires you to take frequent breaks. Even with the anti-glare technology, you can still experience visual fatigue after long reading sessions.
The same is never the issue with printed books. If you have good lighting, you can read printed books as long as you like without harming your eyes.
Impact on the Environment
On the surface, eBooks seem more environment-friendly than printed books. However, the analysis is much more complicated. The environmental impact of printed books vs. eBooks depends greatly on your reading habits.
eReaders consume more carbon to produce than printed books. So buying an eReader will only make environmental sense if you are an avid reader. Also, they are difficult to recycle.
If you prefer physical books, you can go for used textbooks or borrow one from a library to reduce your carbon footprint. Besides, you can easily recycle printed books when they reach the end of their life.
You can generally get eBooks a lot cheaper than physical books since no printing cost is associated with them. So if you prefer purchasing books rather than borrowing, you could save a lot of money by going digital.
eReaders can also get access to many free eBooks available online. However, you initially have to invest in a good reading gadget to access all the eBooks.
Sharing books with family and friends is much easier with printed books.
You can physically hand them over once you’re finished reading. Some people even sell used books or donate them to the library. This way, more than one person can benefit from a single purchase.
However, with eBooks purchased online, the usage is generally restricted to only one account. So you may miss the joy of sharing your favorite books with your loved ones.
Both eBooks and printed books have their pros and cons, though eBooks can be more convenient in many respects.
So the ultimate verdict of which option is better depends on the personal preference of each individual. If you’re unsure, why don’t you give eBooks a try and decide if it suits you better?
The best-selling Speech-to-Print eBook from author Louisa Cook Moats would be a great book to start your digital journey.
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