Print Book vs Ebooks: Pros and Cons

ereader_picBack in June, another blogger, Sarah B., wrote this wonderful post about the debate over ebooks which included some great information on the history of ebooks, and most recently Leila S. made great visual representation of the differences between the two. Today, I would like to talk more about the pros and cons of each.

Ebooks have more concrete pros and cons than print books do, a lot of the things that make print books great have more to do with preferences, while ebooks are more about convenience. First off, let’s take a look at the pros of ebooks.

  • Size: For me this is one of the greatest things about ebooks– you can fit hundreds on one small device, which- when you love reading- is an amazing thing. This small size is also great for traveling.
  • Font Options: Most ebooks let you adjust the font size to your liking, you can have anything from huge and easy to read to super small which lead to less “page turning”. This is a great feature especially if reading small print is difficult for you. Some e-readers also let you change the color and font type to make the font easier on the eyes.
  • Brightness: Many ereaders have either the ability to change the screen brightness or come with a built in light which makes it easier to read in any lighting condition, from dark nights to bright days outside.
  • Cost: Often times ebooks are cheaper than there print counterparts, and many classics are even offered for free. This is great for saving money.

And now onto the cons of ebooks…

  • Start-up Cost: To read ebooks you will need to get an e-reader, and even though there are e-readers priced at every budget level it can still be an investment, especially if you’re not totally sold on the idea.
  • Needs to be Charged: For light day to day reading at home battery life shouldn’t be a problem, but for long car trips or camping then having to have an electrical outlet can be a problem.
  • Hard to Lend Books: While there are some programs, like the Amazon Kindle Owners Lending Library, that allow ebooks to be lent to friends and family, it can be a hassle to figure out the system,not to mention all parties involved would need a device.
  • Digital Feel: For me part of the joy of reading is the book itself, the texture, the smell, the weight, and with ereaders, you just don’t get that.

Next I would like to talk about the pros of print books.

  • Easy to Share: Lending print books couldn’t be easier– just grab the book and pass it along; no set-up or hassle involved.
  • The Whole Experience: There is just something about print books that ebook can’t compete with, the way the spine cracks the fist time it’s open, the way the pages feel in your hands, the rich scent of paper, the way they wear over time and gain character.
  • Sentimental Value: While ebooks are probably going to be around for quite a while, there is something really special about being able to hold something in your hands that your parents, grandparents, and other family members had when they were young.
  • No Battery Required: With print books it’s grab and go– no need to worry about being miles away from electricity.

And finally, onto the cons of print books.

  • Size: The fact is print books take up space, and a lot of it. For avid readers it’s only a matter of time before the books move from the bookshelf onto tables, chairs, the floor, and anywhere that they will fit.
  • Cost: Print books, especially hardcovers, can add up fast. Although buying used or checking free carts at libraries can help, that can be a gamble and pursuing the newest book will usually result in a trip to the store.
  • Reading Conditions: Print books need light, and sometimes that can be a problem, especially if you’re a fan of reading at night before bed or on long night car trips.
  • Durability: Paper degrades over time, and while this won’t typically be a huge problem, it can be a hindrance if you like to travel with books or plan on passing them down to future generations. The plus side is this wear is usually just something that gives the book character and not a deal breaker.

Overall, both ebooks and print books have many advantages and disadvantages and when it comes down to it, it’s all about preference. Whatever you choose– read on!

-Angela J., 12th grade

3 thoughts on “Print Book vs Ebooks: Pros and Cons

  1. This is a great comparison between the two mediums of reading! I have always preferred print books, but your review shows me some advantages for ebooks I hadn’t considered. Great insight!

  2. I have always felt like online books were more better than using print books but this reminded me of the value of print books! Good job!! ;)

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