Thursday, August 20, 2015

Paper or Ebook - Which Is Better?

Book Questions: Why I prefer paper books

I have Kindle and OverDrive loaded on a tablet, and there's no doubt about it, ebooks are cheaper to buy and easier to store. But ebooks also come with a number of issues that paper books do not, which add to the reasons I prefer paper over electronic. But first, the main reasons I prefer paper.

You don't have to be old fashioned to prefer paper. I like the feel and dexterity of paper books, and anyone of any age can enjoy that. I also like the smell of paper books - the smell of the paper, the bindings, and the ink. Compare that with the smell of heated plastic and electronics. And I like the color and graphics of the covers (paperbacks) and jackets (hard cover) - yes, ebooks have "covers" but only on the first page and only when you open the book, not when your device is sitting on the shelf or table or wherever it sits unopened.

In addition, paper books have weight or heft, and flipping through the pages is easy - in fact, flipping back and forth through pages without getting lost is much easier in paper than in electronic versions. If you are doing research, it's much easier to bookmark pages and easily find where you've left the bookmarks than in an electronic version.

I also like browsing my collection of books on my bookshelf and quickly pulling a book off the shelf, unlike trying to find one hidden in an electronic archive. Somehow, the electronic versions also lack substance - they're just a flat, featureless front page.

Now to the problems with ebooks.

Although you can adjust the dimness of ebooks or even reverse the black and white screen, I find ebooks uncomfortable to read, especially at night. That's because the screen is lighted from behind rather than by reflecting from an absorbing surface like paper. It's harsh on the eyes and has been implicated in cases of insomnia.

Also, if you've ever accidentally touched the wrong part of the screen when trying to turn the page, you can get sent to footnotes or far back into the book, unsure where you left off - that never happens with a paper book. When it happens with an ebook, it can also throw off the pagination.

Furthermore, different ebook readers can operate differently, and different authors and publishers use different ereaders, so it can be challenging to use all the different readers. Again, you don't have that problem with paper books.

Then there's battery life - ever have a paper book need recharging just when you got to the most exciting part of the story?

And there's that initial cost of buying the Kindle, Nook, or tablet!

In their defense, ebooks save space, Amazon Prime offers free books monthly for Kindle owners and Barnes and Noble offers free books for the Nook, library downloads are quick and easy and save on late fees, and ebooks save trees from slaughter.

(c) 2015. Alan Eggleston. All Rights Reserved.

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