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Print Books v's eReaders, Which do you Prefer?

Updated on June 5, 2016

Opening a Box of Ordered Books


For many of us a book is an essential part of our daily life. Books can transport us to other cultures and experiences, provide information, ideas and knowledge. The popularity of book clubs is a testament to this.

For me there is nothing like the smell and feel of a new book. Searching the shelves at the bookstore or opening a box from online shopping, print books will always be my preference but for others electronic books are the go to. Which do you prefer?

What is an eBook?

An eBook can be defined as an electronic version of a printed book that can be viewed on a computer, tablet or cell phone. They can be purchased online and instantly downloaded to an app or specific device. As eBooks have evolved there are now books that exist in only electronic format, particularly for authors who self publish and other materials such as newspapers, catalogues and magazines.

Print v's eReaders

The advent of the electronic book had the potential to revolutionize the way readers engage with books. The Amazon Kindle for example, launched in early 2007, had the makings to replace books entirely. The ability to download the app means consumers have access to eBooks even if they do not have a kindle, they can use the app on many other tablets and phones.

There is no doubt that there are many advantages to the use of eBooks, instant access after downloading, ability to store numerous books on one tablet, newspapers and other publications in electronic format to name a few. For many of us however the experience of reading a print book cannot be beaten. Why do readers prefer one type of book? is there a place for both?

Kindle eReader
Kindle eReader | Source

Pros and Cons of eReaders

holds hundreds on books on one device - students could access numerous texts instead of carring several heavy books
need recharging after use
instant access when buying online
easily damaged if dropped or got wet
easy for partially sighted readers to enlage text
challeging to read in direct sunlight
convienient for storage - one device insread of shelves of books
need internet access
cheaper to manufacture than print books
can't loan books to friends

Pros and Cons of Print Books

can be read in direct sunlight
can be loaned/shared with others
easily damaged with liquid/food
hands on - smell and feel the book
text size cannot be changed
easy to share, childresn picture books can have texure and pictures, children love to turn pages
have to travel to book store/library or wait for order to arrive

Books Need to be Stored


What does Research Say?

An article published on guardian website by Alison Flood August 19th 2014, quotes a study into the impact of digitization on the reading experience. The study gave 50 readers the same short story to read, half of them got paperback copies, the other half Kindles. The readers were quizzed on aspects of the story including objects, characters and setting. The results found that the recall of the readers using the electronic version was significantly worse when events occurred in the story.

Anne Mangen of Norway's Stavanger University states that "the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print book does."

She goes no to explain that when you read a paper book "you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing and shrinking on the right. You have the tactile sense of progress, in addition to the visual".

The article also go on to state that students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read texts digitally.

How Popular are eReaders?

A report in the Bookseller magazine found that the sale of eBooks fell for the UK's biggest publishers in 2015 by 2.4%. The Publishers Association Chief Executive Stephen Lotinga commented that

'eBooks are coexisting with print books, as opposed to taking over . . . . .digital sales of fiction and non fiction appear to be slowing as readers increasingly want to consume books in a variety of ways.'

British book sellers Waterstones have even gone as far as to say they will stop selling Kindles in most of its stores because they were making virtually no sales.

What do Parents Think?

A study by the reading charity Book Trust in association with Open University surveyed 1,500 parents of Uk children aged below 8 to find out what they think about digital media and eReaders. Concerns were raised about the increase in screen time and the impact on children's interest in print books. Other concerns were the effect on attention span and the possibility of exposing children to inappropriate content online. Some of the reasons parents preferred print books were that children like to turn pages (52%), enjoy owning a print book (43%) and they enjoyment of visiting a library(41%).

What do You Think?

There is no dispute that eReaders have their place. The convenience of many books in one place, the ability to instantly download a book and read it straight away. Apps make books accessible on a variety of devices, the Kindle App for example provides the ability to read you books on a computer, laptop or tablet as well as a Kindle. It is possible that consumers are using apps on devices rather than purchasing a specific eReader. For me the print book will always be the go to way to read, what about you?

Electronic v's Print

Which do you Prefer?

See results

Review of the 10 Best eReaders


Submit a Comment

  • Ruthbro profile image

    Ruthbro 19 months ago from USA

    thanks for your comment, I too find curling up with a good book comforting.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 19 months ago

    I do enjoy the technology of easy reading these days but I truly love sitting down to read a hard copy book. There is just something about sitting to read, turning pages, while sipping my tea that I find comforting.

  • alancaster149 profile image

    Alan R Lancaster 19 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

    I've published five of my six books so far in an historical fiction series on Kindle after they've appeared in print (paperback). This point is important insofar as the books were available in paperback at the Battle Abbey venue (re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings). Not only that but as an author, with five others, I delivered a sort of presentation on the background of the books, signed and dated copies for visitors when they bought them. You can't do that with e-books. They don't have the immediacy of a physical book. I also provide a bookmark with each copy, and signed bookmarks for those who have no direct access to me are available through my own web-site.

    That said, as you pointed out, the Kindle - and other - versions can be stored together on a reader. Being aware that some people have bought my books in electronic form I've had them published on Amazon in the US and UK. They're also available on other book sites through Book-Butler, so the market is well served in that respect.

    I enjoy writing the books - as I enjoy writing here on Hub-pages - and if someone wants to read any of the series in whichever format, why should I dictate to them? As far as the psychology is concerned, I think people are adaptable. They are pragmatists, not bound to a particular way of reading by any 'ethic'. For myself I prefer physical books, I've got hundreds of them and the wife's got more. We have more books between us (we've still got the books we bought for our young 'uns) , I think, than the local library.

    Put me down as a dedicated 'page-turner'.