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Never-Ending Debate: Physical vs. Ebooks

Hi everyone!!

A little while ago I was listing for myself the pros and cons of ebooks versus physical books. I prefer the feeling of holding a physical book, smelling the pages (yes, really), sticking actual sticky notes inside, and displaying it on my shelf to holding a Kindle or iPad (even with hundreds of books on it) all the way, but – strangely enough – I could think of more pros for ebooks. And what do you do in such a situation? That’s right, you ask your fellow book-loving-friends! And that’s what I did. Two tweets and lots and lots of replies from all you wonderful people out there later and we had the content for this post! So let’s see which format wins this challenge and what you (and little old me) came up with!!

Pros of Physical Books

Here are the results (edited, shortened and linked when similar for easier understanding and clearer results):

  1. They smell nice
  2. They look pretty on your shelves
  3. They’re easy to share with a friend
  4. Holding a paper book is way different than holding a Kindle (true booklovers will get this!)
  5. You also get to flip physical pages (it’s a special feeling! You know it!)
  6. They’re beach-friendly: Sand won’t scratch the pages or get in the charging port of your physical book
  7. They probably won’t be stolen either!
  8. They do not require a battery to function and are available at all times (given you have them with you)
  9. They feel more comfortable holding (not the same as that special “book” feeling as mentioned above)
  10. They feel more real (make it seem more “real” and like you actually own them)
  11. They don’t die in the middle of a reading session and you don’t need to think of a charger
  12. You can show your friends your bookshelves or home libraries, which is way more impressive than a scroll on a phone or tablet
  13. You can see more easily what you own already – saves you from buying the same book twice (although I do have to say I bought a paperback version of a hardcopy I had once lol)
  14. They are easier on the eyes for people who get migraines easily (no artificial light etc.)
  15. Flipping through the pages is easier and feels nicer
  16. They’re more aesthetically pleasing in pictures for blogs or Instagram
  17. You get a sense of fulfilment when you look at your full shelves – a full ebook library never gives that
  18. You can cuddle with them
  19. You can underline, highlight, put sticky notes inside a physical copy and find the passage in an instant
  20. You can donate them to a library or charity
  21. Cats like to sit on them
  22. They are tactile – the pages, the textures, embossed covers etc.
  23. The designs can vary: deckled pages, sprayed edges, French flaps, cover, size, and much more
  24. They don’t bother your eyes
  25. They are easy to read outside – no glare, no reflection
  26. You can easily flip through them and let your eye fall on a random passage you’ve loved and reread to remember why you liked the book
  27. For books you haven’t read, you can easily flip through the pages to see if it is a book you might want to read or not
  28. When civilization falls and the power goes out forever, you can still read paper books
  29. They are great conversation pieces
  30. They hold down heavy objects
  31. They remind you of their presence because you constantly see them
  32. The stories are more easily remembered when you see them
  33. If you didn’t like it you can just pass it on
  34. You can see the initials and dates on the inside cover written by family and friends that are no longer with you as to see when they read the book
  35. They are less expensive to replace should you drop them in water
  36. It’s easier to find ayour lost page
  37. You can get them signed by authors
  38.  They survive steam from a long hot bath

Pros of Ebooks

Here are the results (edited, shortened and linked when similar for easier understanding and clearer results):

  1. They are easier to carry for when you are travelling
  2. Ebooks take up less space
  3. You can read them anywhere
  4. They keep you from looking like a hoarder
  5. They are far cheaper
  6. No need to pay for delivery either
  7. They are much more accessible
  8. You can read until late at night without disturbing anybody by turning the lights on
  9. The font size can be changed: easier on the eyes
  10. You don’t need a bookmark
  11. They’re instantly available – anywhere in the world
  12. Lighter than books – easier to hold (we got this for physical books too, but not that they are lighter)
  13. You have instantly more than one book in your hand
  14. There’s no need to create storage space (other than maybe on the decive? Or are they not that big?)
  15. You can easily delete them when you no longer need or want them (while you need to sell printed books or discard them with newspapers etc.)
  16. You can read them faster (might not be true for everybody though)
  17. They are easier to read in the dark
  18. You can fall asleep reading and not lose your page or knock yourself out when a heavy hardback falls on your nose (although I’m sure it would hurt too lol)
  19. They are better environmentally? (we weren’t entirely sure about this one but it does sound good to save paper lol)
  20. They are instantly downloadable
  21. You won’t ever get a damaged book
  22. Most of the time you won’t get lured in to buy “pretty” hardcovers or books whose covers are good but stories suck
  23. There’s no constant bad reminder in your periphery when you buy a book you didn’t like
  24. They are available sooner than physical copies most of the time
  25. They are great for reading in bed – you won’t get back / arm pain
  26. There’s a dark mode
  27. You can annotate them without feeling guilty
  28. It’s easier to search for quotes or key words
  29. You can eat while reading – you can wipe the surface
  30. Some devices offer text-to-speech options

The results and what they tell us…

38 to 30! Physical books win. Is this surprising? Hmm. Many people say they prefer physical books all the way, but are also happy that ebooks exist. It should be highlighted that not every point might be true for everybody (some people seem to get headaches from ebooks, while others love that you can change the font size of ebooks, which helps them with headaches). Moreover, other times the same point might be true for both book formats (they are faster / easier to read), or other times it just depends on the person and their personal preference. I can definitely say that after reading all these different answers, I can see both sides. Yes, I prefer a physical book, but I do see the many, many advantages of ebooks and love that they exist.


Without all your wonderful replies (some were really imaginative!) writing this post wouldn’t have been possible. So thank you!

Happy reading (whichever format you prefer!)




35 thoughts on “Never-Ending Debate: Physical vs. Ebooks

  1. One reason that I prefer physical books is that I have epilepsy and sometimes the letters on screens look like they’re moving. I can keep reading physical print long after a screen has become too much for my health for one day.

  2. I don’t think books are superior to ebooks or vise versa. I don’t think one makes a person a true book worm. As long as they are reading, that’s all that matters. I’m team both. But ebooks are cheaper for me to get to now. I feel fullfilled knowing I have 800+ books on my desk at work without actually having all that many…. same with while I’m traveling, etc. Oh, and you can enjoy ebooks in the bath now with waterproof e-readers. 😀

    Night time mode is my favorite thing next to the built in library app. My Kobo has all that. 😀

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