Any book lover knows the excitement of getting stuck into a new book, but the debate over physical books versus ebooks shows no signs of slowing down. Physical books are still outselling ebooks, but only just, and there is a clear weight of feeling on both sides of the debate.
We’ve gathered together here some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
Is there anything nicer than cracking open a brand new book and inhaling that new book smell? Well, yes, actually, and that is: cracking open an old book and getting a whiff of that old book smell! That smell of book-binding can spark an emotional response in avid readers, which is hard to replicate with an ebook reader.
Book smell is nice and all, but have you ever tried to lug an entire bookshelf with you on holiday? Or even attempted to shoehorn an increasingly dog-eared copy of The Stand by Stephen King into your work bag next to your lunchbox? Ebook readers allow the incredible flexibility of bringing as many books as you could want with you at all times.
Carrying a pile of books in digital form is great - but what happens when your ebook reader runs out of juice? Battery life and e-ink displays may be decent these days, but no one has ever heard of a book running out of battery!
Of course, if your ebook reader does run out of battery, you will often find smartphone and tablet apps that will sync your progress, notes and highlighted sections across all platforms. Reader runs out of battery? No problem, keep reading on your phone!
Speaking of notes - an old book can be a living history of the readers who have come before. From scrawled graffiti in old school textbooks to insightful scribblings in the margins of the classics, books can allow us to reach back across time and feel a kinship with the past. It’s a romantic notion perhaps, but humans have been doing it forever - even medieval monks would write notes in the margins of manuscripts.
As Ray Bradbury wrote about in Fahrenheit-451 - paper burns. The great library of Alexandria was burned by Julius Caesar after all, and many great works were lost. Just think - the entirety of that great library could have been saved if they had only had a Kindle.
Ultimately there are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and it comes down to personal choice. The important thing is to read,and to keep reading, and whichever method works for you (we haven’t even touched on audiobooks, for example) is the best one.