As the way we read books changes, I wonder what people like about reading books versus e-books. To me, what is most interesting is we are asking this question. Just a few years ago, no one read e-books. I remember when Amazon came out with the Kindle. Everyone thought the company had lost its mind. Why would anyone want to read a book on a gadget like that? Ha! Then came Apple with the iPad to compete with Kindle. But by then Kindle had grabbed a big chunk of the reading market. Nook came along but had trouble competing with Kindle. Indeed Amazon was a forerunner in the e-reader industry.
Now, more people have e-readers than don’t. More people read e-books than ever. But do we really want to take our print books and toss them in a pile of anachronisms along with fax machines and VHS players? I don’t think so. There are still many people who prefer reading books.
Let’s look at some pros and cons:
The phone apps like Kindle App enable readers to read their books wherever they are. Print books can never compete with that attribute.
They have tactical qualities that the e-book will never have. At least I don’t think they’ll ever have (one never knows with Amazon).
E-books can be read in the dark. Backlighting on the readers today enable people with poor sight to read anywhere. We no longer have to worry about proper lighting. Furthermore, e-books give the reader the option to change the font size. So, if you are in a place where you can’t see the small print, no worries. Just increase the print size.
The glare from the sun makes e-readers practically impossible to read. Even with all the glare-proof covers, it just plain doesn’t work. If you’re at the beach, take a print book. And, by the way, many people only read at the beach.
If you want to know what a word means, you no longer have to walk away from your book, find your dictionary, open the heavy tome, and look it up. All you do, is touch the word and poof, the definition appears.
Authors cannot sign e-books. If you go to a book signing event, you must have a print book with you if you want the book signed. So far Amazon has not figured out how to enable authors to personally sign e-books. But, I bet that is something that may be in the e-book future. (Remember you heard it first here).
E-books come to you instantly. When you order a book, you do not have to wait one second before it’s uploaded onto your device. Even UPS and Fedex cannot move that fast.
It’s easier to look up things you forgot or to skim with a print book. I’ve tried to go back and find something on my e-books, and it’s very hard. With a print book, you need only turn through the pages and find what you want instantly. You can put a page marker on the e-Book when you know it’s something you may want to go back to. But what about all those times when you don’t mark the spot and later want to go back?
When we purchase a book, sometimes we like to share that book with family and friends. Think about all the times when you took a bag of books to a person who was sick. How can you do that with e-books? Nope, not possible. You can give e-books as gifts, but that means buying the book again.
Access to more information is quicker with e-books. When reading historical fiction or nonfiction, many times I like to look up more information about the time period or the particular topic. That can be done instantly with e-books. With print books, I might ask questions as I read, for example, when reading Goldfinch, I asked myself, “Where is the painting hung.” Instantly I found out by Googling from my e-reader. In other words the potential to learn more is greater with e-books.
These are a few of my thoughts about the pros and cons with reading e-books or print books. From what I can see print books are not going away. There are too many pros for both reading print books and e-books.
What are your thoughts?