The Great Debate: Print vs. Digital
Even with the rising popularity of eReaders (like Amazon Kindle) and mobile eReading apps, many readers still prefer physical print books. Though many people prefer the tactile feel of traditional printed media, eBooks do have some distinct benefits and offer versatility that print cannot. While print books aren’t going away anytime soon, there are many situations in which eBooks provide an advantage over traditional paper media.
1. eBooks Are Instant
With eBooks, you don’t even need to leave your house to buy new titles or borrow them from your local library. You can purchase them directly from a digital bookstore and download them instantly to your device. Even libraries now offer digital eBook lending, so you can instantly download titles for free without ever having to visit the library. You can acquire an entire library of new books on your eReader while still wearing your pajamas or sitting on your couch.
2. eBooks Are More Portable Than Print
Printed books, especially hardbound editions, can be very heavy, while most modern eReader devices are lightweight. It’s much easier to carry an eReader containing an entire library of titles than to bring even a few physical books. If you finish reading one on your trip, it is much simpler (and cheaper!) to download a new eBook than to find a bookstore. If you have your collection synced to a cloud service, you can seamlessly switch to reading on your phone if you find yourself with extra time to kill but didn’t think to bring your eReader.
If you purchase only electronic textbooks, it will be much easier to carry them home and back to class. You can even load all of your books to the phone that you already carry with you anyway. This allows you to keep your entire library in your pocket, so your textbooks will be available to you wherever you are. This would allow you to study anytime you have a few minutes free, such as waiting in line at a coffee shop.
3. There Are No Late Fees for Library eBooks
If you borrow a physical book from the library and forget to return it, you will be charged a late fee. Many libraries also now offer eBook loans in addition to their print book offerings. You don’t have to return them by any due date—instead, their licenses will simply expire on your device. You will never be hit with a surprise late fee for digital loans. eReaders make accessing library materials easier than ever.
4. eReaders Have Built-In Dictionaries
It can be frustrating to come across a word that you don’t know while reading a print book. You either have to find a physical dictionary or pull up your phone or tablet to look it up. Most of the time, you probably don’t bother, and are just left wondering. Most modern eReaders have built-in dictionaries that allow you to look up words by tapping on any word you don’t know. The dictionary definition will appear right on the screen without you even needing to leave the app.
5. eBooks Take Up Much Less Space
Avid readers tend to collect a lot of books, which can take up too much space and make your home feel cluttered. However, even the largest collection of eBooks won’t take up much physical space in your home. It is much easier to manage a large digital library than bookshelves filled with hundred or thousands of books that you will likely never reread.
6. You Can Customize Font Size and Style in eBooks
Unlike print, eBooks allow you to change the font size or even the font style. If you require large-print books, you can adjust any eBook to be readable to you, but with print, you are limited to titles that are available in large print editions. You can also usually customize the font used in eBooks if you don’t care for the default style.
7. eBooks Give You Better Access to Indie Titles
There are many independent, self-published authors who only have their work available in digital formats. Many of these titles include novellas and short stories that would be too short to publish on their own in print, but which are perfectly suited to reading digitally. Owning an eReading device gives you access to writing that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to read.
8. eReaders Can Be More Environmentally Friendly Than Print Books
It may seem strange to think than an electronic device could have less of an impact on the environment than traditional books, but eReaders can take fewer resources to create than a large number of books. Manufacturing one Kindle produces as much CO2 as producing 30 print books. Most avid readers will offset this figure in less than a year by switching to eBooks. While paper can be recycled, the paper recycling process itself can cause environmental pollution because of the sludge that is produced during the de-inking process.
9. eBooks Can Be Read in the Dark
Because eReaders are backlit, you don’t need to have an external light source to read them—you can read in the dark or in low-light situations anywhere. As long as your eReader is charged, you can read in bed, during power outages, or outside in the evening without needing an external light. This allows you to read eBooks in many more situations than you can traditional print books.
10. New Releases Are Usually Cheaper as eBooks
eBooks are typically released at the same time as their print counterparts but are often cheaper to purchase. If you prefer to buy books rather than borrowing from a library or a friend, you can save some money by sticking to digital releases. This may not be true for older titles that are generally available at steep discounts from used bookstores.