Investigated – Print Books or E-Books

Posted April 22, 2013 by Emz Chang in Investigated / 0 Comments

Discussed Stamp

Hi!
I totally forgot today was Earth Day and I wanted to do a post for it.
And I also wanted to do a post about the differences between print and e-books.
So, here it is.

Image courtesy of Kittisak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We all want to save the Earth. When the term “Earth Day” comes up, many people think about “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Those people also tend to “recycle” a lot of paper. Paper, just happens to be the main component of a printed book. I will say this, e-books do save paper. A lot of paper. But besides saving paper, what other benefits do e-books have?

E-books and Sharing
Sharing e-books is interesting. I wouldn’t say it is easier to share a book with your friend if it is an e-book, because it’s not. 

In order to share an e-book with someone, they must have some sort of device in order to actually read the book, other wise there would be no point in sharing. In order to read an e-book, you need an e-reader, a laptop, an iPod, basically anything with a digital screen big enough to read off of. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has a computer. I swear, I know kids who have to go the library in order to use a computer because they don’t have one at home. To add on to that problem, not only do you a device to read an e-book, you need a device with power. You can’t read a book on your Nook if your Nook doesn’t have any battery left after you have been reading for 8 hours straight. The worse part is that is is possible for your device to die while you are getting to the good part of the book and there is nothing you can do about it, unless you have a charger on hand. If you don’t or you’re on a car (with no car charger), then you are out of luck. With print books, all you need is a book and a light.

After you have the device problem figured out, there’s the format problem. E-books come in different formats. Most e-readers read e-books in the formats of EPUB. Sometimes, they can read PDF files too. (That’s more ideal if you’re reading off your computer.) But then, there’s the Kindle, that only reads MOBI files. I also need to point out, that while the Kindle only reads MOBI files, MOBI files are only read by Kindles. In order to share e-books across different e-readers, your friend must have an e-reader that supports the same format as the format the book to be shared is in. You cannot share an e-book that is in the format of an EPUB from your Nook, with your friend who has a Kindle. Your friend wouldn’t be able to read the book. Of course, both the Nook and the Kindle have apps you can download to read their books on other devices. (I’m not sure if other e-readers have this too.) 

Pretend you have the first two issues sorted out. Now, you can share a book a lot easier than you can share a print book. Why? Well, you can share a book with a friend who lives halfway across the world in a matter of seconds (minutes maybe, if your internet connection is really bad.) If you were to share that same book, except the printed version instead, you would have to mail it to your friend. Not only does mailing books take time, it also costs quite an amount of money, especially if you want the book back after your friend finished reading it. 

Besides saving you some money to put into the bank (they also tend to be cheaper than print books), e-books can also expose you to new books you haven’t heard about before. Most indie and self published books are e-books. Often, there is no print version of the book, unless the book becomes popular. With e-books and e-readers, you can read books you would never have read otherwise.

That seems like a few good reasons why e-books are better than printed ones… so why would you choose print over e-books?

Traditions and Print Books
People have been reading off of print books for a long time now. E-books are just becoming popular.

Printed books hold a lot of memories. Memories that e-books cannot keep. Print books consist of dog eared pages, dried tear drops, and perhaps food, if you were eating and reading at the same time. Can e-books have that? NO. They never can. Well, at least they can’t now. E-books have virtual bookmarks. All you tears and food stains get wiped away when you clean the e-reader. That’s not all e-books are missing.

Whenever I read an e-book, I always think of how I would feel if I was reading a physical copy. Turing the pages, and breathing in the smell of paper, the smell that all printed books have. I miss running my fingers around the edge of the pages, and the feeling that comes with it. I miss flipping through the pages and rereading the last chapter. Heck, I even miss the feel of holding the book in my hands. There is no way to replace that feeling. You cannot say that holding an e-reader and reading off that is the same as holding a print book and reading that. Not to mention, it always takes me longer to read an e-book. Every time I read one, I find that I have to take a break after some time. While, I can read a whole printed book in one sitting, if time allowed it, I never can finish an e-book quite that easily. Reading off a digital screen takes a toll on my eyes. It’s the same feeling you get when you stare at a computer screen for too long. It’s not a pleasant feeling.

Conclusion
To me, I will always be a fan of print books. They have a very special place in my heart. I wouldn’t be able to live without them. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for e-books. Don’t get me wrong, I think e-books are great. I just try to limit the number of them that I read. Not only do they take longer to read, reading a lot of them gives me the sense that I’m betraying printed books. The very same books that helped me get through some tough times. Plus, I already spend enough time staring at a digital screen as is. Between my Computer Graphics class at school, doing homework online, and blogging, I am staring at the screen for quite a while. I do not need to read e-books to add to that amount of time. For me, it will always be printed books for the win!

What about you? What kind of books do you prefer -printed or e-books?


Emz Chang

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