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Paper Books vs Electronic Books

Updated on May 9, 2012

Many people have announced that traditional paper books are dying off and that it will only be a matter of time before we will all be reading e-books. At first I embraced this announcement as I am an iPad 2 owner, and have downloaded loads of free books for iBook and other book applications. I am a fan of the classics so most of those are available for free. I've read a few books and have found that I didn't enjoy the e-book experience as much as I thought I would.

One thing that bothers me is not really knowing how far I am into a book. Sure, I know what page I'm on of however many pages, but it's not like reading a traditional book where you can actually see where you are at.

Another thing that has bothered me is that my eyes get strained and tired by reading off my iPad. I've read up a lot on this and have seen a variety of opinions as to whether reading books on an LCD hurt your eyes more than traditional books or e-ink. I must note that I've never read e-ink except for a few minutes at the store, so cannot really compare it to reading off of paper or an LCD screen. One thing I do know if that reading a book on an LCD screen is a lot more straining on my eyes than paper books. I've downloaded lots of books that I've wanted to read for a long time, but find myself turning to traditional books more and more.

I don't know if reading will turn to electronic devices in a big way in the future and make traditional books totally obsolete, but I doubt it. There is still something nice about going into a nice library or bookstore than you can't get by downloading a file. I have a feeling that traditional books will be around for a long time.

Another thing is that a book is a book, unlike electronic reading devices that can be thrown aside for the latest and newest version that will inevitable come along every year claiming to be a better reading experience. Also, buying many e-books is not much cheaper than buying a hard copy, especially for new releases.

Reading is a very personal thing, and everyone does it differently, so there is no point in claiming that e-books will totally displace traditional ones, nor do I think should they. Even though I can adjust the backlight and the size of the letters in iBooks, I still find it straining for my eyes. Also, despite the iPad 2 being lightweight, it still gets tiring holding up for longer periods of time.

I have been somewhat guilty of jumping on the e-reader bandwagon and have realized that I don't enjoy it as much as reading traditional paper books. It's not bad to have these books downloaded on iBook though, just for some shorter reading now and again when taking a paper book with me wouldn't be feasible. Using it on a plane or at a cafe is handy when there is nothing else to read. However, as a main source of reading material I still prefer a normal book.

It's great that you can download 2,000 or however many books to your device, but how many will you actually read?


Which do you prefer?

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    • frantisek78 profile image

      frantisek78 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot for reading and commenting!

    • michememe profile image

      Miche Wro 5 years ago

      frantisek78 I share your the same opinion as you. I do enjoy downloading books and reading them, I also use the Ipad or my phone to read books. However, there is something about a book in my hand, turning pages, and feeling the paper on my fingers. With electronics you have to be mindful of battery life vs. with a good book in hand this is not a worry at all. Great hub, glad you wrote this.

    • frantisek78 profile image

      frantisek78 5 years ago

      Czesc Dina! Thanks for reading and commenting. I like your comparison to newspapers and tv news. You are right, paper books will never disappear. Sometimes people jump all over new technologies like e-books and think that it will replace everything older. However, people eventually get sick of new things once the novelty wears off. Pozdrawiam!

    • Dina Blaszczak profile image

      Dina Blaszczak 5 years ago from Poland

      Hi, came across your hub and wanted to say that I'm feeling the same about real paper books, I love them and eBooks will never feel as good to me! I also think that paper books will stay with us and won't disappear completely despite the creation of ebooks. It can be compared to newspapers and news on the television, those have been going together for years now and neither of the two seem to be losing.