Books vs. ebooks: war or coexistence

By |Published On: November 15th, 2018|Last Updated: February 23rd, 2024|

I can say that books vs. ebooks is an overrated subject. While the “ebooks” phenomenon is now more popular than ever, there’s something so magical about sniffing a newly purchased book. Regardless of the format, what truly matters is the process of taking time for yourself and just getting lost in a book. The best part of books and ebooks is the fact that everyone can choose freely whichever version they prefer. 

War or coexistence?

Of course, it is highly true that in our present days there are two different types of people. Those who believe there’s a “cold war”: books vs. ebooks and they must take one’s side and those who take advantage of both possibilities and enjoy the best of both worlds. Wondering where do I belong? Truth be told, I consider myself an old-fashioned avid reader who didn’t have contact with an ebook until a couple of months ago. I would say I’m all for printed books, but I must admit that I also love the benefits of ebooks; that’s why for me it’s not relevant the collocation “books vs. ebooks”, but rather the syntagm “books altogether with ebooks”. Therefore, today’s article doesn’t want to encourage the fight between paper books and electronic books. But rather to highlight both advantages and disadvantages of these two reading choices.

Books vs ebooks: pros and cons

Ebooks are the best option for traveling

books vs. ebooks traveling

If you’re an enthusiast traveler and also an avid reader just like me, you’ll definitely want to take with you as many books as possible in every holiday. But unfortunately, your favorite books might be significantly heavy and it’s quite difficult to carry them. Moreover, they might occupy a lot of space in your luggage and this isn’t practical at all. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, it’s very likely to have as many books as you want on your e-reader. You can carry an entire library in your pocket! And you know what? It’s super easy to download all the books that you want! Another great aspect is that the e-reader weighs less than 250 grams. That’s almost nothing, right? So, if you’re planning to go on a long trip, don’t worry! Portability is one of the best characteristics of an ebook reader. You can take it with you on a plane, train, or even in the swimming pool and you won’t even feel its weight. Simply amazing, isn’t it?

Ebooks are perfect for night reading

books vs. ebooks night reading

Maybe you belong to those who like to read at night before going to sleep. But we all know how hard it is to keep the light on while somebody’s trying to rest. An ebook reader will certainly solve this problem because many readers come with built-in reading lights. These kind of lights are really easy-to-use and won’t get in your way like the lights attached to the physical books do. If you’re sharing your room with someone and they are not so bookworms as you are, an e-reader incorporated with a reading light is the perfect solution for both of you! You can finish your book in silence and your roommate can sleep peacefully. It’s a win-win!

Ebooks require internet and electricity

There are also some disadvantages when speaking of ebooks. As you might already know, there are some books that you can’t download, but only read them online. In this case, you won’t be able to read the desired book without an internet connection or electricity. Imagine reading a very interesting crime novel and suddenly your ebook reader is out-of-battery! And you can’t go on with your reading to find out the murderer until you charge your electronic device! We all enjoy a bit of suspense, but not too much and we really want to find out what happens next! On the other hand, it’s a completely different story when reading a physical book. You can read as much as you want without being afraid that your internet might not work or your ebook is running out of battery. In this case, when talking about books vs. ebooks, books definitely win the dispute!

Ebooks don’t ask for much storage space

Those who own a lot of books like me know how much space they can take up. It can be a real hassle to organize your bookshelf in such a way that it won’t occupy much space of your room. Compared to a physical book, an ebook is far more flexible and convenient from this point of view. An ebook can be read on special e-reader devices such as Kindles or on any computer device such as desktop computers, tablets, laptops, and even smartphones. The best thing about an ebook reader is the fact that it saves you a lot of storage space. You don’t have to worry about bookshelves anymore, with an e-reader your bookcase is located on a tiny handheld device, your computer or on both. Just imagine all the space and shelf-money you can save from buying ebooks instead of books! You still need digital storage to keep your ebooks in, but fortunately, you have plenty of options. The cloud is by far the best one. You can easily upload your electronic books to your cloud hosting account, access them from anywhere in the world, and even share them with your friends without worrying about trivial things like security.

Ebooks promote a shallow reading

books vs. ebooks shallow reading

There’s a powerful connection between how we read and what we absorb from our reading. Both of these are influenced by the content of our reading and the medium we use. Some studies found out that reading on screens promotes non-linear reading. This means that we spend more time browsing and scanning when reading an ebook compared to a physical book. Let’s face it, all these emails and social media notifications distract us when we’re reading on a tablet. It’s very difficult to focus only on the plot of the book while you receive news from Facebook or Instagram. But when you hold a book in your hands, all of your attention concentrates on the storyline and you engage properly with the physical book. The conclusion is that we tend to read superficially on a tablet than on paper. Therefore, we encourage children in schools to read print books and not ebooks. Here’s another win for the books when talking about books vs. ebooks!

Books don’t require batteries or internet

books vs. ebooks no internet

One of the best things about books is the fact that they don’t need any electronic equipment. You can read peacefully as much as you want without stressing out that your ebook reader might run out of battery or your internet will disconnect unexpectedly. There’s also this familiar situation when you forget to charge your device and you can’t read at all. It’s so annoying, right? You’ll never have this problem with a standard book. As long as there’s enough light, you can read anywhere and anytime. You are the only battery that needs to be charged up and you don’t have to be “connected to the internet” to be able to read. :)

Books keep you away from screens

I’m speaking now on behalf of the people that are working eight hours a day in front of a computer. Imagine the following situation: you’re coming home completely exhausted and all that you long for is to lie in your bed and hold a good book in your hands. Such a beautiful and relaxing evening, isn’t it? Who wants, after eight hours spent in front of a desktop computer, to spend another two or three hours in front of another electronic device? Staring at a lit screen can be tiring not only for this category of people but for everyone. With time, it affects your sight and brain. A 2014 Harvard study discovered that people who used ebook readers with LED screens at night slept worse and were more tired the next day than the people who used to read physical books. It’s crystal clear that if we care about our health, we must utilize ebook readers as seldom as possible.

Books are bad for the environment and also easily damaged

books vs. ebooks bad environment

We learn ever since kindergarten that in order to obtain print paper, we need to sacrifice trees. Therefore, we can honestly admit that books damage our environment. If we care about nature and oxygen, we must all think seriously about this dramatical situation. Ebooks create positive externalities on the environment. They have a lower carbon footprint than print books because they don’t require excessive amounts of paper to produce. Producing a Kindle creates the same carbon emission as thirty books. We’d better all start buying Kindles and protect our atmosphere! If not us, then who? If not now, then when? Books not only that damage our environment, but could also be easily damaged themselves. Over time, the pages might fade or get dirty. They could also be water-damaged, fire-damaged, have the ink smudged or even worse, get ripped pages! Horrifying! Contrarily, you’ll never have this problem regarding ebooks. It’s obvious that if we’re talking about books vs. ebooks, we would definitely choose ebooks in this situation.

Books can be really expensive

I must admit, I love books so much that I could buy tons of books! But the saddest part is that the books I wish for are always so expensive that I’m starting to have second thoughts regarding their worth. It’s true, I always get excited like a little kiddo when my online book orders arrive, but my smile fades away quickly when I think of all the money I spend on books. One friend told me a couple of months ago about ebooks and since then, my life finally fell into place. I’ve bought a pretty cheap Kindle and now I can download for free as many books as I want! Of course, there are some books that are not free, but they have a super low price. Ebooks are really easy to create and because of that they are always cheaper than physical books because there are no printing fees associated with them. I truly recognize, my Kindle is a huge blessing to me! I spare a lot since I’ve heard about ebooks. An ebook reader is definitely a must if you’re a total bookworm as I am!

The feeling of holding a book in your hands

books vs. ebooks hold a book in hands

I left purposely this paragraph for the last part because you know what they say: the best is yet to come. For me, the feeling of holding a book in my hands is one of the best feelings in the world! There’s something about turning and sniffing the pages of a book. Something real, something right that simply makes me feel more connected to what I’m reading. On the contrary, when I read something on a screen, I feel a distance and a disconnection. And truth be told, we’re never going to get that comforting smell of paper or the weight of a good book in your hands when we read an ebook. Let’s face it, it’s always nicer to keep your books on the shelf and to stop by and visit them whenever you want, just like you visit an old friend. It’s true, your ebooks can also stay forever in your Kindle library, but they won’t catch your eye on a rainy day. According to a study carried out by the University of Arizona, people are more emotionally attached to physical books than to ebooks because books are something tangible and they establish a sense of self and belonging. What other proof do you need? Print books definitely improve our lives and will never get out of style!

The verdict

Without a doubt, the winner in this situation is none other than the person doing the reading, regardless of the chosen method. It’s not necessarily important if we read a book or an ebook. What’s crucial is to choose to read in a world where people tend to become more and more superficial about this. As for me, I’ve already expressed my opinion before. My first and true love will always be the physical books, but with time I’ve also learned how practical and useful ebooks are. It’s very difficult for me to talk about books vs. ebooks because I’d rather enjoy reading both, without having to make a choice and comparison between them. This article also tried to show that no matter of our choice, there’s always going to be both advantages and drawbacks. So why not enjoy the benefits of both alternatives?


  1. Artemis July 25, 2021 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I agree! We must appreciate the coexistance of printed books and ebooks

  2. Artemis July 25, 2021 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I can relate with the person who wrote this article. Printed books and ebooks both have their pros and cons , so that is why I have a deep love for them both . A quote by Marcus Tullius Cicero , ” a room without books , is like a body without a soul .” Thank you ✩

  3. Rashel April 22, 2022 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    Well i like both but i like books better.

  4. Amelia R. March 23, 2023 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    I love how well written this is. It defenitly shows how eBooks and physical books are both different and somewhat alike. This really helps with the essay I came here for! Great job.

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