Writing prompts and challenges

Real Books vs. E-Books

We had a discussion about books and reading with my colleagues at work yesterday. We ended up having a healthy debate over which are better – real books or e-books. I’m not exactly sure which form of books won, but the general rule was that the younger generation (in their twenties and early thirties) was pro e-books and the experienced generation (in their forties and early fifties) was pro real books.

I’m usually rooting for the underdog just because I think the underdog needs a fair defense too, but in this battle I was pretty much indecisive and prefer them both equally. To find out what I actually think, I decided to list the pros and cons of the two formats of the written word.

Books vs ebooks

I gave real books 7/11 thumbs up while e-books ended up having only 4/11 thumbs up. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that I prefer the real books. I do own an e-reader and I love it, but because of the bottom fact on the list I don’t own too many e-books.

I think Finland in general is behind on this trend and there aren’t very cheap e-books for sale. If I can get the paperback edition cheaper, why wouldn’t I buy it.

The list isn’t perfect actually. There are a couple of pros for e-books I think maybe should be on the list. E-readers usually support audio books as well, which is great. I usually use my iPod for that, so this feature doesn’t really matter to me. Another great feature an e-reader has is that with a reader you can do a word search from any book you have on your reader. You can easily find a topic you are looking for in the book without having to leaf through the whole book.

One great feature in a reader that I just this second thought of, is that with a reader you can choose the size of the font that best suits for you. So if you have trouble seeing well, you no longer have to leave the small-print books in the store.

My final calculations show that I’m still indecisive. It seems to be a tie. After adding these three pros to e-books the final results are 7/14 for both.

My personal opinion is that if you read only a few books (1-8) a year, you probably won’t need an e-reader, but if you read a lot (50+) in a year, you might find an e-reader very useful. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter which format you prefer, because the content is pretty much the same in both, right? An e-book won’t tell a different story from a regular book. 🙂 Maybe you’ll save a few trees by reading e-books…

Which format do you prefer? Answer the poll on weekly writing challenge and see what other people think!

With warm hugs and gentle thuds – Keri


4 thoughts on “Real Books vs. E-Books

  1. Libraries are now carrying both forms, which means the instant you want another book just download it instead of waiting for a good day to head down to the library.

    Furthermore are we seeing the end of booksellers and libraries on this technologial front? Just like HMV??

    I, like you, am benchsitting on this one. I get cool stats like how many pages I read in a minute, my hot reading times (ie: overnight or lunch time) etc. I also don’t have to wait for shipping or as noted with the library waiting for a good day for me to physically enter the bookstore/library. ON THE OTHER HAND I constantly forget about my e reader (currently tucked among my physical books) thus it has sat uncharged for about 2 years.

    I have read more on my tablet, computer and smartphone than my ereader and even more physical books than all those combined despite all these technologies I own.

    Maybe the real book won here.


    1. I know it’s possible to get e-books from library as well, but as I mentioned in the post Finland is way behind and the collection of e-books in my library is just 33 books and most of them I don’t even want to read, because they don’t interest me. I would love to borrow e-books from the library if the collection was more versatile.

      I haven’t seen my reader’s charger for a long time, so for now my reader is also sitting on my nightstand unused.

      Right now I think real books are better, but who knows what I think in five years from now. 🙂

      Thanks for your great comment!

  2. I’m on the fence, too. I have both; thousands of books in my house, over 100 on my e-reader (thank you, Gutenberg Project!). I prefer books for lots of reasons, but the convenience of the e-reader is awesome. If they ever find a reasonable price point for e-books and companies consider customers to be actual owners of the titles they buy, the scales may tip in the e-readers’ favor.

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