EBook vs. Print Book: How to Choose the Right Format for You
by Karen Green
One of the very best things about being a book lover is the choice we get to make every time we’re ready to look for a new book to read. What will it be today? Historical romance? Science fiction? A biography or perhaps that thriller everybody has been talking about? It’s a great problem to have, really.
Book format is another great choice readers get to make now, thanks to the development of e-readers and the wide availability of digital ebooks, but it’s a choice that comes with its own set of pros and cons. So how does a reader choose between an ebook and a traditionally bound print book?
Availability is one key piece of the decision-making puzzle, but even if you don’t own an e-reader or a tablet that supports an ebook platform, you’re not necessarily out of luck. Most libraries now not only allow users to borrow e-readers and download ebook files, but many also offer information sessions on how to get started with e-readers and ebooks.
Once you have access to both ebooks and print books, the decision is down to practicality, convenience and personal preference, but there are a few other finer points to consider. In the end, keep in mind that, as with deciding the next title you’re going to read, there is no way to make a wrong choice here. Your story is guaranteed to have a happy ending—a new book!
Choose an ebook if:
- the book you want to read is otherwise out of print.
- you already have, or have access to, an e-reader or a tablet that supports an ebook platform.
- you are running out of space on your bookshelves.
- you read while traveling—an e-reader is less cumbersome, lighter and easier to hold (especially with one hand) than most books.
- you want to be able to adjust font size, background brightness and other aspects of the “page.”
- you are on a very tight book-buying budget. (Ebooks are typically a bit less expensive than print books.)
- the book is particularly long, heavy or otherwise unwieldy, or you have problems holding or turning the pages of a book.
- you don’t typically share books. (Unless you have a family plan through certain retailers, it is not always possible to share an ebook file without handing over the entire e-reader.)
Choose a print book if:
- the book is not available digitally.
- you like to share your physical books with others.
- looking at your books on the shelf brings you joy.
- you prefer to feel, turn and bookmark paper pages.
- it is more comfortable for you to read typography on a white page.
- reading on a screen fatigues your eyes or causes any other physical discomfort.
- the book is graphics heavy. (Graphics, like photos, maps or illustrations are not always optimized in digital formats.)
- you do not have access to an e-reader or tablet that supports digital editions.
- you can’t live without that new book smell.
- you are uncomfortable troubleshooting minor technological issues that may come up with files or hardware.
Do you prefer to read a print copy of a book, an ebook or a combination of the two? Let us know how you like to read in the comments!