Books vs eBooks: which side are you on?
It feels like an everlasting argument – books or eBooks? I know that some people will say that you can’t really enjoy a book if you’re looking at a screen. Others will tell you that eBooks are the only practical way to go. I visited the London Book Fair and the debate was alive and well there.
As a book lover it’s a topic close to my heart so I decided to write about the pros and cons. Do we need to decide between the two or can we have both?
The case for eBooks
eBook fans will tell you that paper books are a thing of the past. They just create clutter in your house. Even if you give them away they might still end up being added to the local rubbish dump.
With an eBook reader you can download any book you want and either keep or delete it when you’ve finished. We’ve all had those moments, on holiday or even a long train journey, when you finish your book and are left without anything to read. I know I’m not alone in trying to decide how much of my luggage allowance to use on books.
You can carry your entire eBook library around with you if you want to. That might be a bit of a struggle with the paper versions if your book collection is anything like mine. I could try it but then I’d have to spend precious reading time getting my back straightened out!
The case for real books
Even though an electronic book might be more convenient, there are pleasures in a paper book that an eBook can’t recreate. For me, nothing can replace the sensation of picking up a paper book. They just smell amazing. I can spend hours sniffing and stroking books. (I’m really hoping that’s not just me!)
Some studies have also shown that you’ll remember something better if you’ve read it on paper. Anne Mangen of Stavanger University in Norway was the lead researcher in a recent survey. She told the Guardian;
“When you read on paper you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right… You have the tactile sense of progress … Perhaps this somehow aids the reader, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader’s sense of unfolding and progress of the text, and hence the story.”
That’s food for thought if you’re studying. Or even if you don’t want to read the same book twice by accident!
You might think that I’m going to reveal myself to be firmly within the paper book camp, but I’m not. I have an eBook reader and tend to use it for light reading of more mediocre, disposable books. It’s easy to use, the books are cheap and I can take it anywhere.
However if I really love a book, I have to have a physical copy. I’m just not ready to give up the sensory feeling of holding the book in my hands, or looking at my gorgeous bookshelves. When I dream of my ideal home I couldn’t give a damn about any room other than the library! I’ve always had a vision of a library with a fireplace where I can snuggle up on a white sofa under my fluffy blanket. Somehow that vision doesn’t work without a paper book in my hands.
So what do you think? Are you an avid eBook reader, a paperback devotee or somewhere in between?
Leave me a comment, I would love to hear your thoughts.