E-reader vs. Physical Book

Ah, yes. The debate of all debates for our generation. I’m telling ya, people are harsh when it comes to their opinion on this topic, going from one extreme to the next! To say you prefer e-readers is almost like you’re admitting you’re a slave to technology, and that you want to hold a book burning in your backyard. On the other hand, saying you like the feel of holding a physical book in your hand can get you an eye-roll for being so last season and behind the times. So where do I stand on this whole debate? Honestly, as long as you’re reading, I don’t really give a flying rat’s behind how you get it done. Why does it necessarily have to be a debate? Just read!

e-reader

In all actuality…

I have a very intimate and probably unhealthy relationship with my Kindle. I literally bring it with me everywhere. Yes, I do think it’s convenient, and somewhat mind-boggling, that I can carry around thousands of books with me wherever I go, but that doesn’t mean I’ll refuse to ever read a physical book again. It’s kind of funny though, I’ve gotten so use to my e-reader, that when I went to BookExpo America and received so many free paperbacks, I kind of forgot how to read an actual physical book. Should I hold it with one hand or two? Do I need to stop reading every few minutes and do hand exercises to get used to how freakin’ heavy they are? Will putting this hardcover book in my purse cause my shoulder to bruise from the extra weight?

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I’ll admit that my main preference for my Kindle is related to convenience, especially when I travel. When I came back from BEA, I literally brought a suitcase full of books back with me, and it kind of sucked that I had to buy another bag just to bring my clothes home with me. I also like that the words on the screen look just like they would on a page. A debate I do feel very strongly about is when it comes to something like an iPad vs. the Kindle. No competition. The iPad is heavier, it doesn’t fit in my purse as nicely, and after a while I have to stop and blink my eyes a few times for moisture.

I don’t have anything against people who prefer physical books, but I do feel that they need to improve their arguments for why actual books are so much better. One of the most common things I hear is that nothing beats the smell of a real book. That’s your main argument? It smells nice? Since when did people become so obsessed with the scent of their books? Sure, it can be pleasant when you first open it, but with the way people insist on this being one of the main benefits of a physical book you’d think they’re sticking their nose right in the crease for a big whiff every time they turn the page. And then there’s the whole argument about how nothing can replace the feel of a book in your hand. Um, are you on acid or something? Why does it feel so good? Do you just sit in a dark corner and stroke your books for hours on end, because that’s sort of the picture you’re painting here. Are paper cuts your equivalent of a decent spanking? The BDSM of the book world perhaps, the perfect combination of pain with pleasure?

sniff

And you? Where do you stand in this epic debate? Whether you prefer your e-reader, or your bookshelf full of physical books, just never stop reading!

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55 thoughts on “E-reader vs. Physical Book

  1. I like both. Like you, I carry my kindle everywhere I go. I’m that girl on line at the bank reading it.And I’m thankful for the kindle when I read any Outlander books. Can you imagine holding that sucker up in bed?? But sometimes, it’s nice to hold the book. And I do love the way the hardcover spines look on my shelves. I agree: as long as we’re reading it doesn’t matter. 🙂

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  2. I held off on getting a Kindle until 3 months ago… I know. Crazy, loyal paperback girl right here. I can’t believe how madly in love I’ve fallen for my Ereader though. *sigh* Shocked me!

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  3. I love both the Kindle and physical books. Mainly, I have a bunch of physical books, why buy them again on Kindle? If I lose them, sure I’ll get them on Kindle but, while I have them, why waste money on the same books? And the convenience of the Kindle is so amazing, like you said, being able to carry around thousands of books. Although, if there’s something about a paperback or hardback that I really love and I can’t get it on Kindle, I’ll purchase a physical copy.

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      • I’ll sometimes buy the eBook if the physical book I own is falling apart, the print is too small, or it’s just too big. For instance, as you mentioned, the Outlander books are large and don’t hold up well with repeated reading. That, and I find the print has shrunk. LOL, It can’t possibly be because my eyesight isn’t perfect! I also own the unabridged LOTR, and if I decide to read it again I’ll definitely get the ebook. My physical copy is just too awkward to hold, and the paperback spine is weak.

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  4. I really enjoy both, but I lean way more towards my Nexus. I’ve found that I really enjoy looking things up that I’m reading about to get a better feel for the story. Unless I put down the actual paper book and go to the computer, chances are, I won’t look it up if I’m not reading on my device. It is also way easier to walk and read (which I do all the time) with a device than an actual book. I spent some time re-reading a series that I had in book form and by the end of the week, my wrist was jacked up beyond belief from walking and trying to hold the book open at the same time, especially because most of those were large hardback books.

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  5. I tend to prefer the physical copy, the same reason why I don’t buy MP3 downloads. I prefer having an actual physical copy in my hands. Plus if I come to a time when I feel I don’t want it anymore, it’s so easy to just delete a file off of a screen but a book in your hand, you think about it hard before you keep it or give it away. But I do like my kindle – I always bring it when I go on holiday but if I enjoyed a kindle book, I’ll usually endeavor to buy the physical copy. It’s like I’ve listened to a song on YouTube and I now want to buy the album. 😛

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  6. I am deeply devoted to my kindle! I only buy purses that I know my kindle will fit in comfortably in. I take with me everywhere!! Sometimes I buy physical books if I stumble into a used bookstore and find some good deals and because subconsciously I still hold out hope that one day I will have a library in my house of all my favorite books haha

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    • OMG I totally the same! The Kindle has to fit in the purse. Otherwise it’s a no go. And I think most of us have that dream of our own library. Although the last few years I’ve sort of had to admit to myself that my Kindle will probably be the only thing on there.

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  7. Kindle, because I don’t have enough space at my place to hold all my books, and I like carrying my library around with me. I use the Kindle app on iPhone so I can read some when I’m waiting in the lobby at the doctor’s office, etc. I also buy print copies of the Kindle version if I think the book is a real keeper. I also like the features, highlighting, notes, search, location, knowing my reading time, etc.

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  8. It’s funny. I also wrote an article about those two. And just like you, I have a (Kobo) e-reader. I love that piece of electronic. Bút people don’t understand that when you own an e-reader, you’re also able to read just the physical books. I do read on my e-reader, but I also have lots of books. Both mean the world to me. Why should we choose when we can have both?

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  9. I probably couldn’t survive without either. I have an iPad mini with Kindle and nook on it with hundreds, if not thousands, of books on it. Handy-Dandy is an understatement.

    Why I love my e-reader: Convenience, cost effective (FREE doesn’t always come with physical books), ability to see how long time-wise I have left, discovering new authors that are only exclusive to e-readers or Amazon, but the biggest reason is my husband has no idea how many books I actually own, therefore, cannot put a halt to my book hoarding.

    Why I love physical books: My husband can see how many books I have spilling over in all corners of our house, which means I can see it and a swell of pride follows, I can have a visual of how much I have read and how much I have left to go, based on thickness, the bending back of the spine with a new book (kind of a love/hate relationship with this though), gives my eyes a break from the screen of my e-reader.

    I could never choose between the two. I revel in both of their existences.

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  10. I am all about convenience! I love the smell of books!! It’s was a tie! Now it is between my nook and kindle. (And I love my nook better….gasp….I wish someone would let me design an ereader…a battle for another day). I have pretty bad insomnia and I can read in the middle of the night without turning on a light. Now how is that for convenience!

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  11. I’m an e-reader addict. Specifically my Kindle, I had a hard time converting for awhile because I loved having a physical book shelf. My dream had always been to have my own mini library with leather chairs, a fire place and other cool men’s-club vibes but the reality is I’m not going to. I also think it’s hard to justify buying real books lately when buying them on kindle is so cheap! Or better yet, renting them through your library and getting them on your kindle.
    In addition though, I am a steadfast believer in having my Harry Potter books and Green Rider series on my bookshelves if only because they are a great reminder of my childhood and I can’t not have the memories of reading my first big books. 😊

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  12. I’m a physical book person. Main reasons: I like physical books and the feel of them, I stare at a computer screen all day at work and the strain on my already bad eyes gets worse when reading off a tablet, etc., for too long, and, writers can’t sign an e-book. That being said I don’t care if someone prefers an e-reader over physical or vice versa, more power to them. As long as someone is reading what they like, that’s all that matters. Physical books can burn or get water damage, e-readers need to be charged or you can drop and break it; e-readers can store many books, physical books can be displayed and be decor. Both have good and bad features and only opinion makes one better than the other.

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  13. Great post. It took me a while to really get in to reading on my kindle. But, there are a lot of books that you can only get an ereader copy of. Great books by Independent authors are often first published in ereader format, then later on paperback, and I can’t wait for that. Also, I love that I can get the next book in the series, or a book by an author I hear of in just seconds.

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  14. I love this post! 😀 I’m a big ereader fan as well, so I completely agree with everything that you said. It gets me so frustrated when people look at my ereader and ask me why I bought it when I could’ve bought a tablet instead…I’ll then try to explain to them that ereaders are better for your eyes, but they usually still end up looking at me like I’m a weirdo for picking an ereader over an iPad ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog, and for following it 🙂 I don’t really do the whole “I’ll follow you if you follow me” thing, but I really did like several of your posts, so I’m following you based on the stuff that you actually wrote, and not just because I want to return the favour. I just felt like I needed to say that, because I really enjoyed creeping your blog 😀 Keep up the good work! 🙂

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    • Thanks for following Stephanie. I just started it, so I’m having fun with settings and stuff. iPads cost a lot more, too, and I can spend the extra cash on books.

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  15. This is always a good debate for me and my BFF in my school. She reads in her iPad. I read in my iBooks or physical books. But, for me, its always been more of the books which I can stack. And @romance4thebeach, you really underrated the smell of those books. I’m not talking about new books. I’m talking about the vintage or old books which has a crunchy smell. And to those people travelling, e-books are efficient but for students and children like me, these books are like treasures and we cherish them throughout our lives. Because certain books have memories within them. For instance, I read “Message in A Bottle” by Nicholas Sparks when I was in sixth grade, with my before mentioned BFF. We used to hide the book in our textbooks, and used to cry after reading the book. Now, I’m in eighth grade and reading that book again from her. I cherish those memories when she and I used to sneak out between school hours to read it. Also, physical books remind you of your reading limit. So, you keep the book under your pillow realizing that you’ll only be able to read it only the next day. That saves the longing and love of yours to the book. In e-reading, you read it until you finish it and the longing is not there. Just my opinion: PHYSICAL BOOK!!!

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  16. Great post! I’ve been reading ebooks almost exclusively since I got my first Nook back in 2010. The only physical books I buy nowadays are cookbooks. I like to display them in the kitchen and I don’t like using my iPad in the kitchen, risking damage with water, fire, or sticky hands. As you mentioned, I just love being able to carry my entire collection around with me on my Kindle, literally thousands of books, anywhere I go versus one paperback/hardcover. I still love physical books though. If something I just NEED to read isn’t on kindle, I’m not opposed to getting my paperback on. The ONLY valid argument for reading physical books would be to preserve your eyesight, not the feel or smell.

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  17. I am a book sniffer xD
    But as you have said, that doesn’t mean sniffing each page, I just like to sniff the book when I first open it.
    Also, some books stink awfully of horrible glue.
    Anyway, I’m also a huge fan of ereaders. I was sceptic at first, mostly out of concern for the actual reading experience, meaning, how wil it feel to my eyes to read the words from the screen. Then my parents got me a Sony Ereader and all my worries were gone, I got hooked immediately.
    Now I’m reading mostly on my ereader, but I still treat myself with a nice hardcover edition of a book I really fell in love with from time to time. I stopped being such a hoarder (well, kinda, my ereader is quite crowded xD) and I can actually breathe in my room now that I purged my library, giving away many paperbacks and keeping only the stuff I really really feel connected to 🙂
    So yay books, and yay ereaders! 😀

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  18. One other great thing about my kindle. There are a lot of authors who offer their books for free. I think I have over 500 I’ve gotten for free and have found some favorite authors that way.

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  19. Yeah, my Kindle and I spend a lot of time together too. I only bought it becuase as a writer who was about to start selling ebooks, I thought I should understand the product I was about to sell. I’m hooked. Yet if I read I book I really love as an Ebook, one that I want to read again, I’m apt to try to get a hard copy for my library.

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  20. I’m a book junky, but now I appear to be an eReader junky as well. My first one years ago was a Kindle, but it had no light and I found it difficult to read in low lightt settings. Then I bought a Nook Tablet. It was great, but when I bought an iPad owning a Nook seemed redundant. I’ve sinse given both of those eReaders away. For a while I was reading on my iPad, but I liked the anti-glare screen of the Kindle, so I ended up buying a Paperwhite. That’s become my favorite eReader, but now that I own books on all three platforms (Kindle, Nook, and iBooks) I end up reading with my iPad the most. At least I now own an iPad mini. Makes reading loads more comfortable than the regular iPad. Still…. there’s nothing better than a physical book.

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