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Paperback v E Book

Updated on June 2, 2015



End of an era

In these electronic times the ebook is apparently marching toward outdating the good old favorite paperback (or hard cover book), or is it?

The media and publishing industry have for a while now predicted the 'death' of the paper back as e books take over.

A recent trip on public transport, followed by a visit to a book store, lead me to ponder this question. Is the e book really as popular as we are made to believe it is?

If you follow the statistics on e books we are told they are over taking the book as we know and love it.

Personally, I don't think the book will ever leave the shelves for good. There will always be a place for a book, just like there is a place for the e reader.

The ability to turn a book over and read the blurb


Print Media Alive

Is it merely the pessimists who are predicting the end of books, or is there something in it you might wonder?

On the tram the other day several people read a paperback, or some other type of book. Sure, there were plenty of people with various types of electronic devices and they could have been reading a book, but I could still observe people with the faithful book. Similarly on the train many a person has a book, magazine or newspaper. The print media is still alive and kicking.

And lets face it, nothing beats standing amongst hundreds and thousands of books either in a book shop or a library. There is something magic in picking up a book, flipping it over to read the back cover before leaving through the pages.

Letters fly by as our eyes scan the pages to see if the book will hook us, before putting it back to pick up another one. The crackling of the pages an enticement to enter the world of the author all by itself, something unique to the book.

Swiping the tablet, or phone, screen with our index finger is not quite the same. Instead of paper rustling the index finger is bound to leave smudgy finger prints all over the screen. Not to mention the fact you have to make sure you do not have food scraps left on the swiping finger, otherwise it will get rather messy. You will either need another screen protector or take something with you, to wipe the screen in case the smudges get too much.

Pages in a book with coffee stains or bits of lunch stuck to them always confirm the book was enjoyed, well loved and read, not so with an electronic device. Lets face it electronic devices are rather temperamental and do not cope well with liquid or food all over it.

And swiping a device, for some, is not as easy as turning the page on a book. Nothing beats flicking to the last page to read the end, a lot harder to do I find in an e book.

Different Types of Books

It should be noted that I believe some books do not go well as an e book, no matter how good it is to carry hundreds of books on your tablet or phone. Amongst those are photo books and those non fiction books with art work. These books are usually hard bound and reasonably large in size, making them impressive all in their own right. An electronic book would simply not be able to do it justice.

We have a large book at home on oceans. It is twice the size of a normal large book and we enjoy it immensely to pour over it whilst sitting on the lounge. If the book was to be an electronic book it would loose all that makes it attractive in the first place.

Not quite the same as a book


Advantages and Disadvantages

Taking a book into the bath, spa, or dare I say it on the toilet is also possible with a paper back, but a bit more risky to do with the e book.

Equally sitting down with a cup of hot coffee, chocolate or tea, is safer to do with a book than an e reader. Imagine spilling liquid into the electronic devise and puff, it goes up in smoke (not literally but you get the picture).

To be fair, the e book does have its place, not to mention it is a lot cheaper, unless you purchase your books in second hand book shops, or even the local charity shops where you can always pick up a bargain for under two dollars.

Carrying several e books with you is something you can do quite easy, with most electronic devices storing at least a few hundred books. And of course the e book that way becomes far more accessible. Imagine you are waiting at the local doctor or dentist and find nothing interesting in the rather outdated magazines on offer. Out comes your e reader and you can instantly visit your favorite novel. A frustrating wait will turn into an enjoyable time out.

Equally traveling with multiple books becomes a lot easier if one has electronic books. Lets face it, if you intend to fly overseas to backpack through Greece, you can hardly take ten of your favorite novels with you, unless they are in electronic format.

This of course would not deter you from visiting the odd book shop here and there to see what is on offer in other countries, states or cities.

At the end of the day it may be save to say both types of books have their place in today’s time and it may come down to a personal choice.

Audio Book

Last but not least there is also the audio book to consider. Again this is a horse for causes case. If you do a bit of driving, listening to an audio book does help pass the time. Although you may want to be careful of what type of books you listen to, as you do not want to become distracted whilst driving.

Self Publishing

Vote for your favorite

Do you prefer the good old fashioned paper back/ hard cover book to the e book?

See results


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    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      I usually do crosswords and word games in the paper over breakfast or coffee and doughnuts. Haven't got any cheapo paperbacks (no shelf space left anyway).

    • tanyathistleton profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Thistleton 

      3 years ago from Victoria

      We are lucky Kimmie to be able to choose. I remain optimistic that both type of books will be available for a while yet. There is always talk of becoming paperless and look at offices, they are still not paperless.

    • tanyathistleton profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Thistleton 

      3 years ago from Victoria

      Danke Alan. Your library sounds fascinating. And of course I agree one keeps food away from those good books, I was more thinking of the paperback one reads over coffee and a croissant. :)

    • Kimmie10 profile image


      3 years ago

      I would say it is a toss up for me, because there are pros and cons for both sides. Luckily, for now, we can have a choice between all the suggestions you just mentioned, but I don't know if in the future, all stories/novels will be electronic...

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      You're right, Tanya, it's horses for courses (as in racecourses). I have a lot of reference books on early mediaeval history (post-Roman to Conquest, and - being a Yorkist despite the name - a couple on Richard III), plus acres of Yorkshire, Norse mythology, sagas, Danish language. You'd have a job fingering through several books at once on e.g., Kindle.

      I also have copies of my own books (five so far in the saga series - see profile). People I know who've bought copies of the books like to have them signed and dated. I throw in a bookmark (sometimes signed, if they can't get to me). I've also signed books at Battle Abbey, where Harold fell 949 years ago, inland from Hastings after giving talks along with several other authors including Helen Hollick and Marc Morris. It's not easy signing an e-book, although on my Amazon Author Page you'll see both paperback books and Kindle versions are available.

      Personally I prefer paperbacks (I've got one of Helen Hollick's, SEA WITCH to review, she did my first book), and hardbacks. I try to keep foodstuffs clear of them though, hoping to keep them for a long while to come as some are o/p and hard to get without trawling through used book stores.

      Bleib g'sund.

    • tanyathistleton profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Thistleton 

      3 years ago from Victoria

      Thank you Edwin. I too have published an ebook and nearly tore my hair out with the formatting. Good luck with your writing.

    • profile image

      Edwin Brown 

      3 years ago from Oregon, USA

      You have covered the subject well. I like the physical book, even though

      I have an e book I wrote, that I sell off my website. I plan to write more

      e books, maybe a Kindle. Anyway, I love reading a good book and then tucking it away again in my library.


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