In the beginning were printed books.
Then came eBooks.
Since they were comparable, we came to find that each has advantages and disadvantages.
So in this post, we are going to look at 5 advantages and 9 disadvantages of printed books. Then 22 advantages and 5 disadvantages of eBooks.
That said, we begin with the advantages of printed books.
5 Advantages of Printed Books
Print books definitely have a traditional value. Since “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”, obviously the advantage of a printed book can also be the disadvantage of an eBook and vice versa.
- Palpability: The fact that a printed book itself can be held in the hands is often cited as its main benefit.
But not everyone agrees with this point.
To these people, tangibility means nothing. To them, what you hold is not important. What counts is the content.
- Offer thrill of shopping for books: Entering a bookstore, going through the aisles, running your sight over the rows of books on the shelves, and flipping through them before you buy is an experience some people can’t afford to miss.
Others say preferring this social experience to browsing online is not a good enough reason to ditch eBooks.
If that is all that counts, then you can also go window shopping for the same satisfaction.
- Good for all ages: If you want to heed the specialists’ advice not to allow your children to spend too much time with technology at a tender age, then printed books represent an option. Anyway your child would have to take their printed books with them to school.
If we consider elderly people, the truth is that not all of them are computer literate. So, your grandparents may have a hell of a time trying to understand all the tech words associated with eBooks. They can’t download one and read it on an e-reader. They would therefore prefer their good old printed books.
- Easy to understand: Understandability is another questionable advantage of printed books.
Some research have found that being more immersed into printed books makes it quite easy to imbibe and understand the content.
Disputable, some people claim.
- Cheaper cost: Printed book specialists claim that traditional books are cheaper than eBooks. This is because you don’t need an electronic device to read them.
But this advantage is dubious since you don’t need one device per book.
8 Disadvantages of Printed Books
The benefits of printed books are quickly fading in front of eBooks. That is why the book market is moving in the direction of the digital version.
So, what are the disadvantages?
We found 9.
- Environmentally-inimical: One of the factors of environmental degradation is the cutting down of trees. Yet, printed books are made from trees. It goes without saying that they don’t help the environment at all.
2. Cumbersome to carry around: Carrying a book with you to read in the subway or during your lunch break, or even with you on holiday, isn’t a big issue.
But if you have ever moved from one place to another, you should know that boxes with books are always the heaviest. Why not, when they are made from wood.
Everybody would therefore agree that printed books are heavy and hard to carry around.
- Reading at night in bed could disturb your partner: You want to have a good night’s read before curling into your cover cloth. This is something we have inherited from childhood when parents read to us in bed before we go to sleep.
You would need some lighting to do so.
But imagine that your partner is curled in bed already asleep or trying to do so. Your light will become annoying. In effect, light impinging on your retina prevents sleep.
It doesn’t matter if you only have a small lamp by your bed. Chances are it will still light most of the room.
Some people also can’t sleep deep. So the least movement (even the simple rustling of turning a page) can disturb them.
- Need stocking space: Why is book cleaning every once in a while (just like with every other thing we use, like clothes) necessary?
Partly because of lack of space.
There are books you are less likely to read again or ever read. An example is textbooks. So you donate them to charity shops.
Soon your bookcase becomes full again and you once more have to make room for others.
If space is an issue, you may not buy many books you don’t like particularly well.
- They can age: Have you checked any of your old books you couldn’t throw away? Like dictionaries, thesauruses, atlas books, etc. you bought decades go?
See how they’ve turned yellow?
Do you have the same thrill going through them?
- Elements can destroy them: While your e-reader can also be destroyed by fire, we all know that nothing catches fire faster than books. That comes from their woody nature.
Rodents, like cockroaches, mice and the like adore nibbling the edges of books. If allowed to go too far, they end up munching some text too.
Water and humidity can affect your e-reader too, but there’s nothing a book fears more than water and humidity.
Books kept too long in a humid environment simply crumble away.
- Time lost in going to a bookstore and waiting in line: Time is money. Yet, to purchase a printed book, you must go to the bookstore (unless it was a mail-order company). You need to go from one bookstore to another. You need to search through a multitude of books. You may need to join a queue to pay for the book.
- Time lost in waiting for delivery: If you ordered or purchased a book through the bookstore, you have to wait for delivery. It can take at least a few days to get your book.
- Fixed font sizes: If the font size of a printed book is too small, that gives people a hard time to read the material. One is obliged to strain the eyes in an effort to read. Reading therefore becomes heavy on your eyes, robbing you of reading pleasure.
21 Advantages of Ebooks
As you see EBooks have a lot more to offer than their printed counterparts.
Let’s see them.
- Environmental-friendly: If you care about the nature, the fact that no trees to transform into paper are needed is a major advantage. Obviously, this is a big help to the environment.
- Cost less: EBooks reduce your purchase costs considerably.
An eBook can come up to 90% less than the same book in hardcover format. But generally the price is around 50% to 60% lower. This will be translated into savings or the purchase of more books.
- Accessible everywhere: EBook readers can easily access an eBook anytime and anywhere. It is therefore convenient for people on the go. Hence, students and employees can go through their learning material either at home or while travelling.
Some eReaders come with the option of offline accessibility, allowing people to use it even when there’s no internet connection.
- Available on multiple devices: How do you read this article? Whether you have a computer, a smartphone or a laptop, it makes no difference. You do not necessarily have to buy an eBook reader to enjoy some eBooks, but use whatever you have around.
- Flexibility: A single device is enough to store any number of eBooks you want. So instead of inconveniently carrying many bulky books around, one eBook reader can hold way more eBooks than you can read in your lifetime.
Students benefit the most out of it as they do not have to carry a bag full of books every day. This is known to affect the spinal cord.
- Convenient: Do you have to do some last minute research or time is not on your side? A good eBook store will provide you the required material within minutes only.
With eBooks, what you need is available on the spot.
- Can be read with no extra light: The backlit eBook reader screen is not as shiny as a lamp. Thus reading in bed in the dark doesn’t make you disturb anybody.
- Adjustable font sizes: If the font size of an eBook is too small for you, eBook readers give you the possibility to change them. Since you can increase or decrease the size of the font, reading becomes easier on your eyes. There is therefore less hassle, and more reading pleasure.
- Contain interactive elements: These multimedia links and elements make the reading experience a more engaging one. Some eBooks even come embedded with audio elements, while others incorporate small videos. They make reading a more immersive experience.
Also, you will find links to external sources and websites for more detailed information.
You can also bookmark a certain page or find a word in a quick and effortless way. It also allows you to make annotations.
- Passages and important information can be highlighted and marked: You can save pages and even search for text through your saved pages or bookmarks.
- Always in stock: EBooks never go out of stock. So you can find old books that are no longer available in bookstores.
Just make a Google search for any old book which is not only out of stock but in the public domain. You will find them in free downloadable pdf formats.
- Space-saver: With eBooks one doesn’t have to worry about the storage limit. Instead, store thousands of eBooks on a simple device that is thinner than a book.
So, book storage in your bag, home or office will never be a headache again.
- Easy to update: The contents on eBooks are mostly cloud-based. This makes it possible to update them any time.
Authors and publishers can always load the old eBook on the eBook designer software. Then add the new information, and then users immediately have the latest digital content.
This saves reprinting costs and the time involved in the process.
- Shareable Content: The digital nature of the eBook and its social feature make it possible to instantly share the eBook contents with multiple users. All you can do with a printed book in this wise is to share it with one person at a time.
Students and employees can use this feature to collaborate with their peers.
The social feature especially make it possible to like the content.
- Augmented Reality Experience: Texts and images can now be embedded in an eBook with an augmented three-dimensional visual. This pops up on your screen. All you have to do is point the device at the image or text. And an enhanced version of the image will be displayed on your screen.
Being able to view a computer-generated 3D model of the image, makes reading and learning a much more immersive experience for readers.
- Read Aloud Feature: EBooks now come with text to speech or read aloud features. This allows people to listen to the material if they are too busy to read it. This can be while driving, or while doing some chores.
Imagine how this feature helps children and adults with a learning disability or with visual impairment. It is also useful for the user to know how a particular word is pronounced.
- Easy on the Eyes: EReaders now come with features enabling you to adjust the brightness of the screen. This can be done according to the time of the day and your preferences.
Many eReaders even have read in the dark feature, with lights that won’t strain your eyes. They wouldn’t also disturb others around you.
- Environment and cost-friendly: No paper at all is needed to manufacture an eBook. This saves paper and printing cost for the publishers.
Some 2.2 million books are published each year. This calls for the use of about 3 million trees. Digital eBook save all those trees from being chopped down.
EBooks also eliminate the carbon footprint. This is because they do away with transporting the raw materials, production process in the mill, and the final shipping with printed books.
- Affordable: Contrary to other new technology and new device which make costs to rise, EBooks however cost much less than printed books.
Features of printed books eBooks eliminate are some pre-production costs and paperback covers. Others are paper printing, packaging cost, and shipping. So they are cheap to produce, thus helping publishers make savings which is good for the economy.
- Cost effective for consumers: eBooks are also cost-effective for the user too. This saves you money for other useful expenses like investments or savings for a better future.
- Convenience of browsing online: To buy an eBook, you don’t have to go to the point of sale nor go through any aisles. You don’t also have to run your sight over any rows of books on shelves, and flip through them. You simply judge the book from the comfort of your home.
5 Disadvantages of EBooks
Nothing on this earth is perfect, and so are eBooks with all the numerous benefits listed above.
Some of its drawbacks are:
- Piracy: This is the most common one disadvantage of an eBook. It does affect the reader directly, but has an impact on authors and publishers.
People can easily share an eBook with others who have not purchased it. This translates into loss of sales and earning potential for the owners.
Sure, piracy and the sharing of traditional books affect authors and publishers too. However, the piracy process is costly and time consuming. So it is not really worth it. Sharing can also be done with one person at a time.
Now, how does piracy affect readers too?
A dissatisfied author or a publishing company may stop releasing their books in eBook formats.
And you know what going back to the printed version means.
- Feeling of touching a book is lost: Lots of people still enjoy the feeling of holding a classic book. For them, a digital device just cannot compare to the feeling of reading a printed book.
Besides, the experience of touching a book and flipping pages with your fingers cannot be achieved with an eBook gadget.
Need a test?
Download these free eBooks to read them as pdf flipbooks.
- Glare on the eyes: From what we said above, this is a contestable aspect of eBooks though.
But the matter is, with an eBook you are still staring at an LCD screen for hours. They come with a glare that makes reading a little inconvenient.
If the lighting is not good enough, the glare will make you feel tired.
If you read an eBook at night with the lights off, there shouldn’t be any problems. Troubles begin when you try to do it in direct sunlight somewhere on the beach or in a glade. Remember?
- Running out of battery: You may run out of battery while on a long train trip. EBook reading (be it a smartphone or an actual e-reader) can just not go on for ages.
So if you intend to read on a trip or on the beach, you have to make sure you have enough battery to support it.
But the good news is that these gadgets now have better batteries. Besides, e-readers do not consume too much power.
If all you do is reading, you can probably do so for a few days without any hassle at all.
- Shareable Content: Is this not a contradiction of what we said on piracy above? No, it is a boon which has also become a bane of eBooks.
Imagine a business which makes eBook content to be shared. What does it want more than for a lot of people to share them with their friends?
Final thoughts on advantages and disadvantages of eBooks and Printed books
In view of the huge advantages of the eBook over the printed ones and the equal number of disadvantages, obviously your choice is for eBooks.
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Obviously this post has evoked things in you. Why then don’t you join in the discussion by leaving your comments below? Thank you.
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