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Books Or E Books?

Updated on March 7, 2014
 A photo of an Amazon Kindle
A photo of an Amazon Kindle | Source

Do you like e books better than real books?

This is the question that comes up often when avid readers meet. Are e books better than real books? Some people say adamantly, 'Yes!', while others firmly say 'No.' There are some who like both but these people usually back out of the conversation after it turns into an argument. And turn into an argument it must because readers are very serious about their books. Even among the readers of real books there is a division where some refuse to read anything that is not in hard cover and despise those who would dare to read the likes of a cheap looking paper back. The paper back lovers think that those who insist on hard covers are simply 'book snobs' in return.

E books or real books?

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The Advantages Of E Books

Reading E Books does cause you, the reader, to have some advantages:

  • You can have an entire library literally at your fingertips.

Boasting that you have over a thousand books and you can hold them with one hand is awfully convenient and a quite pleasing thought.

  • You can purchase books without ever leaving the house and get those books in the blink of an eye.

With an E- Reader all you have to do is think which book you'd like and with the touch of a screen and a cha-ching of your credit card, it is in your hand (or on your tablet) in a matter of seconds.

  • E books come with their own glowing screen so that you never have to squint or worry about it getting so dark that you cannot read.
  • Some E books are free. What is better than free?!
  • The minute a book is released you can read it.

The convenience of an E Reader is the fact that you can get the most awaited book the minute it is released and finish it that afternoon if you so wish it. You can be the first to have the book that everybody wants to read and you don't have to stand in line to wait for it either.

  • E books are environmentally friendly because the paper is virtual. Yay! Environment!

But the readers of real books, you know the books made out of paper think that these advantages, though true, do not hold any weight against the argument for real books.

Title-page illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom's Cabin -  The First Edition cover
Title-page illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom's Cabin - The First Edition cover | Source

How Real Books Capture Memories

“If you take a book with you on a journey," Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, "an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it... yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”

Cornelia Funke - Inkheart

The Advantages Of Real Books

Readers of Real books have some very strong arguments as to why the real book must live on and those who would push it out of its existence should think twice about it.

  • Real books can get wet and still survive.

Remember that library of a thousand books that you can hold in your hand with one E- Reader? Well, one good dose of water and that E- Reader and all of those lovely books are destroyed and are unreadable. If a real book gets wet, the print can still be read and if it is put out in the sun to dry, it gets fatter but it is still the same book.

  • Real books can fall, be thrown, be kicked, and be used to prop up night stands or a broken table and be dusted off and read again.

If you decide to throw you Kindle or Nook across the room or some random child decides to play football with it that is the end of the Kindle or Nook, but if the same is done with a real book, maybe the binding might suffer but you can still pick it up or read it. Hey, I have read books with footprints on them and they were still in one piece!

  • If the pages fall out of a real book, they can be stuck back together or you can just read the rest of the book without reading the missing gap.

With E- books, if the download does not complete, can you still read part of the book?

Seriously, I do not know - anyone with an E-Reader please let me know about this in the comments section.

  • A real book smells good.

Some books have an old smell and some have a new smell. Some can smell like a country you have visited and others smell like the diner you like to visit often. E books have no smell.

  • A real book can be autographed by the author or can have an inscription written in it by someone special.

  • A real book can become a collectible item that could be worth millions.

When real books are old, their value can increase but E-books are just virtual. If you go to a garage sale and you happen to stumble on an old book written by Charles Dickens and it costs only one dollar. It is possible that that one dollar book you bought in that sale is worth a fortune. If you buy a Dickens E-Book it is just that - a Dickens E-book.

  • Although a real book does not glow, it never ever runs out of power. A real book does not have a battery that can die.

Real books can keep going and going like the Engergizer battery because they are not powered by batteries. If it gets dark, all you have to do to read is turn on a light!

  • Real books hold memories better than E Books.

When reading a real book, all the sights and sounds around you, the food that you eat while you read, the places you visit, gets caught in the book and when you read the real book again, you re-visit your memories as well. A real book becomes more than a real book when you read it again.

Do you think that real books will live on?

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The End Of Real Books?

As technology progresses, there is no doubt in the mind of many, that the real book will cease to exist soon and the world will soon become a paperless world. For some, this is a dream come true while for others, it is a nightmare that they would rather not live to see. Paper and ink, it seems, manages to hold far more of the essence of man, after all.

The question, 'Are E books better than real books?' cannot decidedly be answered. It all lies in the opinion of the reader. It is clear that once all readers have a choice, they will be happy to choose the form in which to read their beloved books. Perhaps it is the fact that someday that preference may be taken away from them, causes some to look at the E book and E Reader with hostility.



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    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      4 years ago from The World (for now)

      I smell books too, kiddiecreations, and I do not think it is weird at all. I love real books because they are physically there and therefore easier to remember. I am someone who likes to re-read and if a book is an e-book I might forget the name, the author and it might go into oblivion. When it is a real book it stares me in the face and asks, 'Do you remember me?' and I pick it up and read it again!

      Thanks for reading :)

    • kiddiecreations profile image

      Nicole K 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for your article. I like the convenience of e-books sometimes, but I would still rather have a real book. With real books, you can dog-ear the pages, write in them (underline, highlight, etc) and you get to use a bookmark, and smell the pages, etc (I'm weird and I like to smell the pages of old books). Real books are better in my opinion for that reason. Plus, vintage books are just cool and fun. E-books are usually less expensive than a physical copy though, so that is a good advantage. Anyway, great article :)

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      I understand what you mean about Ebooks, Kevin, but I have yet to give them a try. I am quite stubborn but I am sure I'll get around to it some time in the future.

    • Kevina Oyatedor profile image

      kevina oyatedor 

      5 years ago

      I love the advantage of ebooks because you can get as much and it can be in one place and can read them all. I love real books as well because of the smell and no matter what happens to it, you can read it again. Great hub.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Thank you sunilkunnoth2012,

      I hope that you enjoy your e-reader. I have to say I am reluctant to purchase one.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      5 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Very useful and informative. Obviously for that reason I have given a link to this hub on one of my recent hubs titled "How to buy book online at discounted price". Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am planning of buying an E-reader soon and wish to expand my reading habit. Once again thank you for writing a wonderful hub.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi teaches,

      I really understand that are those who love having both options and there are those who cannot do without their E-Readers. I think that both should continue to live together as well but I do personally prefer real books :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I love sitting down to read a hard cover book. Just being able to see the words in hand is a bit of therapy for me. I also love reading ebook versions. I only hope that both options will be available to readers as time goes on. Great comparisons.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      I do think that you are right, FullOfLoveSites. I too, use the convenience of online books to get information when I need it but when I love a book it has to become a real book with paper in my hands sooner or later.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      Mmmmm... maybe both. It depends. If a book is a must-have and eventually must-keep favorite that I'm sure I'm going to read again untiringly, then a real book should be it. Or if a title is now out of print. On the other hand, I also enjoy reading online and e-book as it's convenient, and allows me to collect my favorite titles in just one click instead of carrying tons of books. Voted up and useful. :)

    • aminahchahine profile image

      Aminah Chahine 

      5 years ago from cameroon

      I think that going for an e-book is a better option as it gives us an opportunity to get the entire collection on fingertips. E-books come with their own benefits and they are incomparable. I enjoy reading online stuff as I can access the same from anywhere, anytime.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      I hope so too, europewalker.

      My collection started as a child and has grown significantly since then. My books are actually like friends and I 'visit' them every so often. I love entering a book store and finding the book I want to read next. I love cracking open the book and trying hard not to crease the back as I read the first chapter. I love it all.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi iguidenetwork,

      Yup. There are pluses when it comes to both of them.I never thought of it but books do make a person look smarter especially if they are thick and have a classical title :)

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello AMFrendenburg,

      Somehow it is easier to study with books. I wonder if that holds true for everyone or just you and me?

      I like to refer to real books as well. I read new books online when I know I will not read them again. If I know I want to read it again, they must be real!

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi Faith,

      You had me smiling when I read your comment because while writing the advantages I thought to myself, 'These E Readers are really not half bad.' Then I got to the books and I felt the way you feel when bread is baking in the oven and there is a drizzle outside. Absolutely comfortable. There is a comfort and warmth in books that E books cannot compete with and as for my Bible - I love the dog ears the highlights the scotch tape - everything about it is precious to me :)

      Keep well and God bless :)

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi phdast7,

      I am not Laurie ( she is Rayne123) but thank you for reading and sharing.

      I agree with you - I think that there is room for both but who knows what will happen in the future?

      Thanks again,

      North Wind

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi Laurie,

      Amazon has lots of free e-books available to download. All you have to do is type in free books for the kindle and they are there.

      I do access the Bible online as well and it is very convenient to do so but I still love my real Bible better! I suppose I am old- fashioned :)

      I think that every writer would love to see his or her words in print.

      Thanks for reading!

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello LifeCouldBeSimple,

      I tested your link but I do not see the hub. I am not certain but I do not think that we are really supposed to link to our own hubs on other hubs. I checked your profile page and it says zero hubs so perhaps you yourself unpublished it?

      Thank you for your opinion.

    • europewalker profile image


      5 years ago

      I vote for real books. I have been a fan of books ever since I was a child. I have a collection of all my favorites and look forward to buying more. While E-books may be convenient, I hope that real books will always be around.

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      5 years ago from Austin, TX

      Just voted in this poll. For convenience we have e-books as we don't have to literally turn the page, and we can all save our favorite reads in just one gadget. But there's also an advantage and charm of reading real books, plus it really makes you look (and feel) really smart. Voted up. :)

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      5 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      I enjoy e-books, but I find that if I have to refer back to a book, like for a recipe or because I'm seriously studying a subject, it's a lot easier to do it with a hard copy than with an e-book. Fiction is fun with e-books!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Very interesting hub subject covered here. I am a bit old-fashioned and love my real books, but after reading your reasons for E-book, I thought, hmmm, well, those are good reasons, but then I read the real book section, and I am still for them. However, I am not against E-books at all, and I can see how convenient they would be for sure. I do not have a Kindle E Reader, so maybe if I did, I would just love it.

      Oh, now, when it comes to the Holy Bible, I have to have the real deal in my hands.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great hub Laurie. I understand the convenience of e-books, but I think real books have so many advantages. I think we will always have both. And many people utilize both formats and will continue to do so. Sharing.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi there

      You know that is a very different hub and a good question to think about.

      However, at one time I was not a fan of reading too much at all. I now love to read a lot more than back in the day. I love non fiction books.

      I have to say that I would prefer the "real" book, but I like to read one with pictures and double spaced. I dont like anything that I read, crowed in with words. It seems to bore me.

      I also like e books, have not read one though, for the reason I have never ordered one. If you can lead me to the links to some free ones that would be greatly appreciated.

      Anyway with ebooks, it seems so impersonal for some reason. Just like sending someone an ecard. A real old school card is more personal. It says so much more.

      The advantage of ecards is being able to add/decorate/text it the way you want. I like that since I like to write quotes.

      I use to think that everything was becoming technology wise, however not so sure it is a good thing anymore. Or should I say it is not a good thing anymore. I think that it is way too open and the privacy seems to be gone as opposed as the days of the baby boomers.

      I do really believe that the world is going to go back to the day of peace and serenity and it is coming in the second coming of Jesus, however that is another blog.

      I read the bible on line as the access is at your fingertips however the real bible that I have has beautiful pictures and nothing can beat that.

      I have poems I want to publish and would definitely love to see them in book form as opposed to access to them on line.

      Well thanks for the great hub

      Have a good day


    • LifeCouldBeSimple profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      Ebooks because they make life simpler


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