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In recent years, printed hardbound and soft cover books have been taking a back seat to online books, thanks to the growing popularity of e-readers. The Daily Mail recently reported that this year online retailer Amazon has been selling 114 online books for every 100 printed books.
But will real books ever really go extinct and put brick and mortar book shops out of business? Or do they still have some advantages over their electronic counterparts?
Everyone has their own opinion on what is better and why, so here we’ll take a quick look at the pros and cons of each one and let you make up your own mind.
Advantages of online books:
Take up less space
If you’re going on a long trip and want to take a few different reading materials along, and e-reader is easier, as it allows you to stock up on a wide variety of different reading materials to keep busy.
Can be taken everywhere
You probably don’t think of taking your favorite novel with you on the train to work or permanently have a book in your bag for moments when you have to wait longer than expected. You can keep your e-reader in your bag at all times so it’s always there, full of new reading material whenever you want.
It’s easy to find affordable e-books from anywhere between $1 to $6, while most quality books will cost you $25 or more.
Easier to find certain information within a book
You don’t have to flip through pages or scan an index list to find a certain phrase or bit of information, instead, you just search for a keyword or phrase and get it within seconds.
If someone accidentally deletes your e-book you’ll have to purchase it again, or if your e-reader or other electronic device is damaged, you could lose your whole collection unless you make backups.
Can only be read on an e-reader or other electronic device
Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from technology and sit back with a book and a glass of wine. With e-books this is simply not possible as you’ll need an electronic device to view them.
E-books make it more difficult to remember what you’ve read
Studies have shown that it is more difficult to recall what you’ve just read when using an electronic device. This can be frustrating for casual novel readers who constantly have to go back and reread things, but even more so for students trying to cram for an exam.
Advantages of printed books
Don’t require batteries
With a real book, you’ll never have that sinking feeling as you realize that you forgot to charge your e-reader before you left for the day. You just pick up your book and delve right in.
They can be borrowed and loaned
It can be a lot of fun to swap books with friends and family, and talk about them later. This is something that you just wouldn’t do as readily with an e-book.
They are less distracting
E-readers and other electronic devices come with a whole host of other gadgets and can be rather distracting if you are trying to concentrate on your book.
Disadvantages of printed books:
Despite all the benefits of real books, one of the main downsides for many readers is that they are more costly, both to make (paper, printing, etc) and to buy.
Can’t be read in the dark
You can read your e-book in a dimly lit or completely dark environment, such as outdoors at night or on a dimly lit train, but to read a real book you need plenty of light if you don’t want to risk straining your eyes.
Aileen Pablo is part of the team behind Open Colleges one of Australia’s leading providers of Distance education courses and trainings. When not working, Aileen blogs about education and career.
She is often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines.
Many thanks to Aileen.
Enjoy your reading!