There have been many discussions over e-books and physical books. Some people swear off e-books with concerns that e-books are going to replace their beloved physical books. Some people love e-books because let’s be real, most of us can’t cart around 5 or 6 books with us and e-readers keep everything nice, compact, and easily transportable for those who either have too many books on the go at once to carry them all or can’t make up their mind and need to take their entire collection with them in their e-reader. Others love the feeling of holding a physical book in their hands and take pride in collecting beautiful copies to line their bookshelves.
At the end of the day, it’s all down to personal preference. Neither of these is inherently better than the other, but they do offer something different to readers. I know that this discussion has probably been had a million times over, but I really wanted to share my opinions on the debate, especially as someone who has a physical health condition which can affect my ability to read books!
– Remembering What I Have –
This one of the biggest factors for me – simply remembering what books I even have! Currently, I think I only own about 10-15 ebooks, whereas I have a large bookshelf in my frontroom and two smaller bookshelves in the bedroom and hallway. Part of this is because I often forget about my ebooks. Unlike a bookshelf which displays your books and prompts you to remember them, ebooks are hidden away on your eReader and I usually end up forgetting that they’re even there.
– Organization and Space –
This is a really huge thing for a lot of readers. One of my best friends is a notorious book hoarder (yes, I’m talking about you Lubby!) I dread to even think how many books she has stashed on her huge bookshelf, and for readers like her who don’t have much space left, eReaders can be great! You’re only limited by your eReaders memory and even then there are ways to skirt around that problem. Whilst space is not an issue for me, I do love how neatly you can organise your Kindle books on the older Kindles but dislike that this isn’t really as easy on the Kindle fires. I loved being able to organise all of my books into little folders and subcategories!
– Ease of Holding –
This one is really important for me due to having fibromyalgia. There are times when I have a lot of joint pain and/or muscle fatigue so whatever format I’m reading in needs to be comfortable and put as little strain on my hands as possible. This can be really tricky with big hardback books like Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View (pictured on the right) as they can be pretty hefty, whereas eReaders and phones are a lot lighter to hold. Despite this, I’ve actually found reading physical copies easier on my joints which is really surprising! Although the Kindle is lighter it’s also quite wide and awkward which makes it really hard for me to hold with one hand or when I’m lying down. Neither of these are a problem with an actual book though which is a bit weird!
– Transporting –
Similarly to the issue of organisation and space, transporting is one of the main issues a bookworm can face especially for those who always seem to have 4-6 books on the go at once or are reading a book with upwards of 600 pages! In these cases, eReaders are super handy as you can store hundreds of books on them and they weigh the same whether there are 10 or 100 books stored. Carrying around multiple books can be really hard going especially for anyone with any health conditions or disabilities which means that they can’t carry heavy weights!
– Book Covers –
Ahhh… book covers. There’s nothing as satisfying as a good book cover and to be honest, I hate not being able to keep looking at my book cover when reading on an eReader! There’s just something really satisfying about being able to keep mulling over the book cover when you take a break from reading and I love displaying my books on the bookshelf!
– Price –
Back when I was an avid Kindle user, I always swore by reading ebooks because they were cheaper. I used to have a good stash of ebooks on my Kindle and had gotten most of them the excellent Kindle sales that run throughout the year. But as I started to transition back to paperbacks I realized that ebooks aren’t necessarily cheaper. For example, I recently bought a brand new paperback copy of The Bear and the Nightingale through Amazon for only 60p more than the Kindle edition, as well as a paperback copy of Legend by Marie Lu secondhand for £2.50 as opposed to the Kindle price of £4. I do like having the option to get either an ebook or a paperback depending on what’s cheaper at the time!
– E-ARCs VS Physical ARCs –
There is no doubt that whether an e-ARC or a Physical ARC, it’s amazing to be one of those lucky ones to receive an Advanced Reader Copy! I am always incredibly grateful to receive any ARCs from publishers and treasure them all. Having said that, I’m not going to lie, the sheer joy of receiving a physical ARC from a publisher is an amazing feeling. There’s just something so special and exciting about holding a book that doesn’t have a barcode and has the release date on the spine. Another bonus of having a physical ARC is that you avoid lots of the formatting errors of e-ARCs. I’ve read a few e-ARCs now where I’ve had a lot of issues with formatting, especially when there are pictures, which sadly ends up detracting from the overall reading experience. But either way, I do love a good ARC and am incredibly fortunate to be able to read them.
– Seeing Progress –
This is another one that some people have really strong preferences for. Some readers looove seeing that percentage steadily rising as they make their way through an ebook, whilst others find great satisfaction in feeling the balance of the book change as you turn the pages of a physical book. I don’t have a strong preference one way or the other because I’m just excited to be progressing with the book.
– Screen V Paper –
This is the big one for me – the deciding factor over whether ebooks or physical books come out on top. I own one of the old original Kindles as well as 2 Kindle Fires, and I have the Kindle app on my phone. The old Kindle has more a paperwhite type screen, whilst the others are electronic screens, but it doesn’t seem to matter to my eyes. A screen is a screen and my eyes just don’t seem to enjoy reading on a screen! I find that I’m not able to read on an eReader for too long as it ends up hurting my hands, and making my eyes dry and tired!
When I’m reading I like to escape from the world around me and part of that is about taking a break from looking at a screen all day! There’s something that I just really love about a physical book – the feel and the smell of the paper, how relaxing it is on my eyes, feeling the weight of the book in my hands. For me, I just love being able to interact with that materiality of the book that I feel I just don’t get from an ebook!
I’m a bookworm. I always have been and I always will be, and part of that means that I will always love reading regardless of how I’m doing it! There are so many pros and cons to both ebooks and physical books, and at the end of the day, it is all down to preference. Aside from the fact that I just love a lot of the qualities of a physical book, I feel that they are much easier for me to handle as someone with fibromyalgia. That might seem really surprising to others, but there’s just something about an actual book that makes it so much comfortable for me to interact with.