Real Books vs. eBooks: Which is Better?

This topic has been a hot since the release of the Kindle. It personally hits a strong chord because I myself am a lover of books and own a Kindle. I have had people say to me, “you’re not a real lover of books if you own one of those.”

Here’s the issue. People are saying that eBooks are going to take over where real books used to be. How? How would this happen when there are libraries filled to the brim with tactile, real books?

I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of both real and electronic books because I believe they both have their place in society.

eBooks

Pros:

  • You can carry all of your books in one very small and convenient location. If you are a traveller (like myself), it is difficult to lug around books sometimes and eBooks make your pack a little bit lighter.
  • Occasionally, eBook textbooks are available for sale at a slightly cheaper price and more portability. This also goes with regular non-textbook books as well.
  • Depending on the type of eReader you have, it can do more things than just display books. Many of the ones available today let you store apps and go online while also containing all of your favorite books.

Cons:

  • You don’t get to experience any of the tactile experiences that come along with reading a real book. Flipping the pages of a book you’re engrossed in is just another part of the great experience.
  • Kindles generally look pretty boring (unless you get a nice case for it.) You don’t get to see the awesome book covers that tend to draw our eye to the book in the first place.
  • The actual eReader can be a little on the spendy side of things. The books might end up being cheaper but the actual Kindle itself might take a chunk of your change.

Real books

Pros:

  • You get the joy of going to a library/bookstore and looking around at all the beautiful books. There is nothing quite like finding a cute little bookstore and getting to walk in and see all the beautiful spines lining the shelves.
  • The smell of old books is one of the best around (besides coffee). Some people might say it smells old and musky. I say it smells of a good past and a better future.
  • They are something real you can hold onto and treasure. I know I personally have a big attachment to certain books on my shelf. This wouldn’t be the same if they were being displayed on a screen.

Cons:

  • Carrying multiple books around at once can be a big hassle and isn’t convenient for anyone. Everyone has had to experience the burden of carrying books around on your back all day. Even if you like the books you are carrying around, it doesn’t mean your back isn’t screaming at you.
  • If you don’t want it anymore, you can’t simply “delete” it. You must find another way to hand it off. Not saying this is a hard thing but it definitely is something to think about if you don’t know whether or not you’ll like the book.
  • When letting people borrow them, the likelihood that you’ll get it back anytime in the near future is slim to none. Nobody hands off their Kindle and says “hey, read this book I downloaded.”

Here’s the thing, it’s up to you to figure out which form of books works best for you. Or maybe not which one works better but which one works for the different types of situations you’ll encounter.

I use both because both come in handy and mean different things to me. When travelling long distances in which I feel that a heavy book would not aid in smooth travels, I take my Kindle. When it’s a beautiful Spring day and I want to go sit out on the green grass, I’ll take my book.

One is not outweighing the other, they are simply working with each other to create the ability to consume beautiful literature no matter what the circumstances are. And that to me sounds like a step towards a great achievement, not the destruction of books.

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Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas is a freshman at University of Iowa studying Journalism and Nonfiction Creative Writing. She plans to one day be able to get paid to travel around the world writing about her adventures. The day you can find her travel book on the shelves of bookstores will be the day she has finally reached her life goal. When she is not pursuing her dreams of travel writing, she is either at the University's radio station or on her computer wasting time on Tumblr and Netflix.