Printed Books vs Ebooks – Detailed Comparison, Which One To Choose & Why
As technology keeps developing, it is almost impossible to think of something that can stay untouched. Paper makes no exception either. Ebooks have gained lots of notoriety over the past decade. According to most specialists, it is only a matter of time until they overtake printed books. After all, apart from the reading platform, what is the difference?
You have everything you can normally find in the print format, from contents, pictures and numbered pages to layouts. Furthermore, ebooks come with a few extras as well, such as bonuses or direct links to relevant websites.
The debate between printed and electronic book readers goes further than that though. Each part supports its pluses and never mentions the minuses. The truth is both ebooks and printed books have good parts, as well as flaws. One thing is better than the other, but which one? Read on to discover the pros and cons of each side.
Advantages of Ebooks
Ebooks have dozens of benefits. If you care about the nature, the fact that no trees and paper are needed is a major advantage. Obviously, they represent an environmentally friendly option. They clear the environmental impact, but they also reduce costs.
For this reason, costs are also way lower. An ebook can cost up to 90% less than the same book in hardcover format. On average, the price is around 50% to 60% lower. Whether you want an entire collection of books or you are an avid reader, relying on ebooks will seriously cut your expenses in half.
What about the convenience? Whether you want to do some last minute research or you do not have the patience to wait for days, a good ebook store will provide you the required read within minutes only. You no longer need to go from one bookstore to another. Even if you order online, it will still take at least a few days to get your book. With ebooks, everything is available on the spot – all you have to do is find the book.
In terms of flexibility, ebooks dominate the market again. How many books can you carry with you? You might be able to fit a few in a backpack or a large one in your purse. Sure, if you go on holiday, you can fit in more books in your suitcase, yet they are heavy. With ebooks, you can literally carry thousands of books with you on a lightweight device that probably weighs less than an average book. You can carry an entire library nicely sorted on genres and authors – ideal regardless of your mood.
Flexibility goes further than that. Many times, the font is too small, so people have trouble reading printed books. Ebook readers give you the possibility to zoom in, so you can keep the font at the perfect size. Reading becomes easier on your eyes – less hassle, more pleasure.
Multimedia links and elements represent a plus too. You obviously cannot find any of these in a traditional book. Some books come with audio elements, while others incorporate small videos. They make reading a more immersible experience. Also, you will find helpful links to reference and official websites for more information.
Great passages and important information can be highlighted and marked. You can save pages and even search for text. Forget about flipping pages and reading paragraphs to find that special passage. Just search for it through your saved pages or bookmarks.
These are only the main reasons wherefore ebooks represent a better choice. You can also count the fact that they never go out of stock, the possibility to find old books that are no longer available in bookstores and the option to stock thousands of books in a device the size of a book on your shelf. Book storage in your home or office will never be a problem again.
Disadvantages of Ebooks
Nothing is perfect and despite the wide plethora of benefits, ebooks obviously have some drawbacks as well. Piracy is the most common one. While it does not affect the actual reader directly, it affects authors and publishers. An ebook can be easily shared with people who have not purchased it. It is as easy as copying and pasting the content into another file. Sure, piracy affects traditional books too. However, the process is costly and time consuming, so it is not really worth.
While readers do not see piracy to affect them directly, it can. After all, an author or a publishing company may stop releasing their books in ebook formats. Therefore, make sure a book is actually free of charge before downloading it for free. Costs are insignificant, so you could also purchase it to show the author some appreciation.
On another note, lots of people still enjoy the feeling of holding a classic book. Picture this – you had a long day at work, so you are ready to go to sleep. You want a good read before bed. You set your smartphone in silent mode, turn the television off and forget about gadgets. If you use ebooks, you will have to pull a gadget out. A digital device just cannot compare to reading a printed book. It does not provide the same feeling, even though it offers the exact same content.
Think about the effects on your eyes too. This is a debatable aspect though. Ebooks do offer some benefits by letting you choose the font size. Reading is easy and hassle-free. However, you are still staring at an LCD screen for hours. Such screens come with a glare that makes reading a little inconvenient – unlike paper. If the lighting is not good enough, the glare will make you feel tired. If you read an ebook at night with the lights off, there should be no problems. Problems occur when you try to do it in direct sunlight somewhere on the beach or in a glade.
Also, think about the inconvenience of running out of battery while on a train trip. Right in the middle of the story! Right when it was about to become exciting! Ebook readers (be it a smartphone or an actual ereader) cannot go for ages. If you plan to read on a trip or on the beach, make sure you have enough battery to support it. The good news is such gadgets have better batteries these days, while reading applications do not require too much power. If all you do is reading, you can probably go for a few days without any hassle at all.
Advantages of Printed Books
Some of the advantages of printed books are debatable. For example, tangibility is often offered as the main benefit of traditional books. When you spend money on a classic book, you also invest in a long lifespan and tangibility. If properly taken care of, that book will be on your shelf forever. The experience of touching a book and flipping pages cannot be achieved with an ebook gadget.
Obviously, not everyone would agree to it. To some people, the actual tangibility means nothing. It makes no difference what you hold, as long as you are interested in the actual information. The same rule applies when you go into a bookstore. Most people like the experience of shopping for books. But is it really an advantage? Even if you like it better than browsing online, it is not a good enough reason to ditch ebooks. You could just as well go there for a couple of hours and walk around with no intentions to buy anything. Is not it the same?
One of the benefits that actually matter is the fact that a printed book is for everyone. If you do not want your children to spend too much time with technology at an early age, printed books represent a better choice. They often have to take their books at school, so they would rather have a classic book with them, rather than an expensive gadget.
The same goes for elders. Not everyone is computer literate. Your grandmother would probably have a hard time trying to download and read an ebook. She may not even be able to understand all the tech words associated with this industry. Print books can solve this problem right away.
Understandability is another debatable advantage of printed books. According to some research, you are more immersed into such a book. You understand it quite easily. You would have to take notes of certain paragraphs, so you would have to do it manually. Again, not everyone agrees to it. Also, printed book specialists claim on cheaper costs for not needing an electronic device.
How do you read this article then? Whether you have a computer, a smartphone or a laptop, it makes no difference. You do not necessarily have to buy an ebook reader to enjoy some ebooks, but use whatever you have around.
No one denies the fact that printed books do have a few benefits, but they are quickly fading in front of ebooks. It does not mean that ebook readers have no books in their library. Everyone has a few good ones that they want to read again, but the market is slowly moving into the digital direction.
Disadvantages of Printed Books
Generally speaking, the disadvantages of printed books match the advantages of ebooks. It is just how it works. Printed books cannot cope with whatever ebooks are better at. There are a few other things to consider though.
For instance, classic books are inconvenient. You can carry a good book with you to read in the subway or your lunch break. You can take a few with you on holiday, but that is pretty much it. You do not know what mood you are in, so take a wild guess. All in all, printed books are heavy and hard to carry around. If you have ever moved from one place to another, you should know that. Boxes with books are always the heaviest – nothing but pure wood.
Also, you need some lighting. It is one of the small things in life that everyone hates. You are ready to go to sleep and want to enjoy a good read before. If your partner is already asleep, your light will become annoying. Even if you only have a small lamp by your bed, chances are it will still light most of the room. Of course, not everyone might be affected by this, but overall, ebooks can be enjoyed with no extra light. The screen is backlit and not as shiny as a lamp.
Finally, the lack of space causes book cleaning every once in a while – just like with clothes. There are books you are less likely to read again (or ever read), so you donate them to charity shops to make room for others, which will eventually follow the same routine. If space is an issue, this is the last thing you want. Instead, store thousands of ebooks on a simple device that is thinner than a book.
As a short final conclusion, books revolutionized the world hundreds of years ago. No matter how common they seem today, they do represent an innovation. Imagine the world without books, would it be that far? Exactly!
Printed books come with some benefits, indeed, but nothing major. We all enjoy shopping for books or holding a book in the backyard on a sunny day. We also like seeing lots of collections in a massive library in our study rooms.
However, with the new ebook trend around, all these benefits tend to pale in front of what ebooks can do. All these benefits are nothing but personal little pleasures in life. Ebooks are by far more convenient, flexible and easy to deal with. They protect the nature by reducing the carbon footprint and can make everyone’s lives easier. For this reason, many authors choose to skip the hardcover edition and get published in the ebook format only. That should tell the world a lot about where this trend is going.