E-books vs. regular books

So, this is something else than just a normal review. I thought it would be cool to do a compare and contrast post between e-books and regular books (as you naturally had already deduced from the title). I have owned an e-reader (a kindle touch) since August and I have owned regular books since before I could read. This means I have a fair amount of experience with both types of books and makes it so that I am perfectly placed for this compare and contrast. So let’s get started!

E-book:

Pro’s:

  • You can bring your whole virtual library with you wherever you go. No more picking and choosing when leaving for a holiday. Just take it all, you never know what you’ll be in the mood for anyway. And needless to say this really can save you a lot of space in your luggage and can even help you cut down on weight when you are travelling by plane.
  • Adjustable typeface, both in size and font. This is really nice for people who might have reading glasses (though the menu stays in the same standard size and font) . This way you can still read without your glasses. It also allows you to choose the amount of text you have on one page, which is just great for me. I’m terrible at not looking ahead. If I see some text in all caps or something similarly exciting, I will always let my eyes linger thereby spoiling the surprise for myself. So now I can just curb my temptation.
  • One hand reading! This means that you can eat while reading, drink while reading without struggling with your book to stay on the right page. You can now also whip out your book at pretty much any given moment without having to worry on how you will be holding your (possibly very heavy) book.
  • E-books are often cheaper than regular books, especially if you are ordering online. You don’t have to pay shipping costs and the base price is often at least a couple of bucks cheaper. The small investment of buying an e-reader can save you lots of money afterwards.
  • Never lose your bookmark. It can’t fall out so you can never lose your page. Because haven’t we all lost bookmarks or have to resort to using random papers as bookmarks? Or laying your book facedown, opened to your page even though you know that you are just breaking its spine! no more of that.

Cons:

  • You have to check your battery. Though the battery life is a very long one, this also regularly causes me to forget to charge my e-reader at times. There have been times when my battery was running dangerously low while reading on a train.
  • On your e-reader (or at least on mine) you just see the titles and authors of the book. Sometimes I wish there was a way to see a short synopsis as well. This is very handy for finding out what a book is about, especially if you bought it some time ago, or just bought it after numerous recommendations without catching the basic plot of the story. This is something I really miss and hope they will somehow be able to incorporate in future e-reader models.
  • You can’t really feel the progress of the book. You get a percentage, and though that gives you an idea, it’s just not the same as seeing it in a real book. Though it does get better after using your e-reader more often because you just get used to it. But I do miss it.
  • It’s not as easy to flip back and forth to certain pages. For instance, flipping back to that map on the first page or that previous chapter to check whether you missed something. Nor can you just leaf through a book to get the general feel of it.
  • Not all books are available in digital format yet.

Regular books

Pro’s:

  • The beauty of a book. And just seeing how the writer wants you to see his book. In a certain typeface, with a certain spacing, with that beautiful cover that might give you some insight into the story, with a certain header and footer. There’s just so much more to a book than the text, and with real books, you just get more.
  • The feel of a book, just the general weight of your book in your hands. When you are reading a very skinny book it feels different from reading a really big book. And though weight can sometimes be a burden (literally and figuratively) it can also be quite nice to get in that reading mood.
  • The easy flipping of pages. This can be seen in contrast with the con I previously mention about e-books.
  • You can see all of your books. You can fill a library. This is something you can’t do with e-books, you can’t give stall them out on that bookshelf and show the world that you love reading. With real books you can decorate your house with beautiful bookshelves covered with great books.

Cons:

  • No eating or drinking while reading goes unpunished. Either you get stains on your book or it just becomes such a hassle that you just forget about reading until your snack time is over.
  • It can really be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when making your schoolbag. Sometimes you just have enough things to bring to school/work without adding the weight of that eight hundred page book you are currently enjoying.
  • Who has ever accidentally bent corners of books by just keeping it in your purse/bag for too long? Definitely me. And it just pains me to see my book afterwards with those injuries because I like to have my books in a good shape.
  • Getting so close to the ending of the book that you don’t know if you should take just this book, this book and a new book or both books on that train ride.

As to say which one I like best: neither and both. I think e-books are a nice alternative and it opens up so many new options. I just choose wisely. When I’m at home I do still like reading regular books but when I’ll be on a trip or taking the train I happily read on my e-reader. I think both options has its merits and I will continue to be a fan of both. I will always buy regular books, partially because I just can’t stop buying them and because I just love them so much. But e-books are very convenient and I won’t deny myself that convenience just for the sake of it.

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