There is a huge debate on physical books vs eBooks, there are positives and negatives to both and I’ll leave links to some at the end of this post but once I started using eBooks, I read more than when I read with physical books.
It is easier for me to get eBooks, I go online, search for the book and buy it, than I have it. I don’t have to drive out to the local bookstore, either look through the shelves or ask a staff member where a specific book (or the genre) is, then pay for it, then get back home and start reading it.
eBooks take up less space on a bookshelf than a physical book, which means I can store more eBooks than can fit in my bookshelf. If you have physical books then you have a limited bookshelf size before you have to swap out books in order to keep reading other books.
eBooks are also lighter, no need anymore to lug around multiple books that range in weight, you can fit thousands of books on an e-reader and the weight doesn’t change based on how many books you have.
Both eBooks and physical books let you highlight and create notes. The major difference is that with eBooks you can remove the highlights at anytime (unlike physical books where you will either have to destroy the sticky note or get a new book), and being able to edit or remove notes without running out of physical space.
Wonder what a word means? If you are reading a physical book you will have to stop reading and go find the definition. On many e-readers you can select the word and the definition will come up.
Want to read without turning on any lights while it’s dark? e-readers can do that as long as you have a charge (some of the devices will last multiple weeks on a single charge, as always it depends on how long you read and what your brightness level is).
With physical books the text size is the only size there is (you may be able to get a large print book but then you have to buy another book and it may not be available), with eBooks you can change the text size to any size you want (limited to the size of the screen).
There are always disadvantages to owning something digital, you don’t “own” the eBook but there are ways to remove it if you where to look online (some authors and publishers do release their books drm free, however if a book does contain drm there are ways to remove it, none of which I’m explicitly telling you how to do so, I’m simply providing information surrounding it).
Some authors of physical books do take the time to make their physical book special, one such book is The Every by Dave Eggers, who is releasing the book with at least 32 different covers. The hardcover of the book is also only available from independent bookstores. Other authors do take extra time with their eBook by providing annotations in-line (as opposed to having them at the end of the chapter or end of the book). Most authors don’t take the time to do anything special for their different editions, but when they do it’s a nice touch and it encourages readers to buy their book.
Extra reading regarding this:
Ebooks are an abomination – Ira Bogost for The Atlantic
How libraries acquire books – Rob Hart for LitReactor
Publisher worry as Ebooks fly off libraries virtual shelves – Aarian Marshall for Wired
The rise of e-reading – Pew Research Center
Your E-Book Is Reading You – Alexandra Alter for The Wall Street Journal (paywall)
This is post number 82 as part of 100 Days To Offload.
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