eBook vs Print, Which is Better?

I was adamant e-readers were a creation of evil for the longest time. Why on Earth would I want a computer to read off when I can have a beautiful book with its weight and aroma and magic? Where is the soul? Where is the beauty? Nothing beats the feeling of a new book in your hands waiting to be read. I’m sure we can all agree that books are wonderful. I have amassed hundreds of them over the years and my collection is always increasing.

Enter, the e-reader. It was a cold and snowy February day when I received my 16th birthday present from my parents. I think they had grown tired of tripping over the piles of books all over the house. I was presented with a Kindle. Despite my prior concerns about the soullessness of ereader, I was secretly thrilled with this gift. Thanks to the magic of the internet I now had my own portable bookshop and library! It was the perfect gift for a bookish introvert such as myself. That particular kindle lasted me about 8 years, and I was devastated when it finally expired. So much so, that my husband quickly bought me a new one to shut up my lamenting.

Reasons to love e-readers:
  • You can buy almost any book you like instantly and store it on the device for instant access anywhere in the world (as long as you have battery!)
  • You can purchase books while you are out and about if you are ever stuck for something to read. No more nicking newspapers out of bins or re-reading the back of a shampoo bottle over and over again!
  • The new ones are back lit so you can read at night with minimal disruption to your snoring partner.
  • You can ditch your book-suitcase for holiday and just slip the e-reader into your hand luggage. This was a HUGE bonus for me personally.
  • You can highlight meaningful passages and quotes without defacing the book, and save them for future reference. I am one of those people who simply CANNOT write in a book, so saving quotes on an e-reader is much easier.

I think it is clear I am a convert when it comes to e-readers, but there are some cons in my opinion too.

Cons of e-Readers:
  • As handy as they are, it just isn’t the same reading experience as a good old fashioned book. They don’t have the smell, or the weight, or dare I say it, the magic.
  • Its nearly impossible to lend out an e-book. You can’t just give it to your friend to read, or even pass it on to a charity shop to be loved again. The ability of books to become gifts and heirlooms is part of the magic I think.
  • I personally miss the tangibility of physical books on my shelf when it comes to my Kindle. I often forget what I’ve got on there because its just not as visible. I will usually end up buying a print copy in addition to the e-book if I really loved it.
  • You don’t need to charge a book.
  • You don’t get the full experience of being drawn in by the cover of a book.

On the whole, I do love my e-reader. It’s convenient and portable and I always have it with me if I am travelling or going on holiday. Its perfect at the moment for if I need a book fast, and don’t want to wait for the post or venture out into the post-apocalyptic wasteland to the bookshop. I’d recommend any avid reader invest in one.

That being said, nothing beats the beauty of settling down to lose yourself in a book. The way they smell and feel in your hands. The sound the pages make as you turn them. The thought of sharing it with the people you love once you are finished, so they can enjoy it too. The pride you feel adding it to your book shelf once you are finished, knowing you lived the life contained within, and gained a unique glimpse into the mind of another.