Monday, October 29, 2012

eBook VS Real Book


It is the age old battle of digital vs. physical, eBook vs. real book, New age vs. Old age.  Today, Alex and I are going to be discussing benefits and drawbacks of both eReaders and physical books.  And while there will be hard core facts about both, this will mostly be our opinions.

First and foremost, you should know that Alex and I both own an eReader (Kindles for both of us.)  When we talk about eReaders, we're mostly going to be referring to those because that's the eReader we have experience with, but at the end of the day, there's not a huge difference between you're basic eReaders.  Storage wise, performance wise, visually, they all really do the same thing for you if you're looking for your basic, black and white, no nonsense eReader.  When choosing an eReader, my suggestion to you is to pick it from the company you trust/use the most.  If you use Amazon a lot, earn a lot of credit there, buy a Kindle.  They're great, great customer service and they back they're products up very well.

However, if you frequent Barnes and Noble a lot, you have a B&N card, you get credit/discounts there, then by all means, go with the Nook.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you Kindle is OH SO BETTER, because it's not and honestly, the prices are pretty comparable. I would actually probably have a Nook if I had been buying myself an eReader, but I received my Kindle as a Christmas present, and I love it, so I didn't bother switching. The only big difference is, the original Nook and standard Kindle have B&W screens that are much better for your eyes, while Kindle Fire, Nook Color and iPad are all back lit and can be very hard on your eyes, not to mention difficult to read in the sun. 

However, I'm here to tell you things about eReaders.  Good things:  

  1. They're very light these days.  You can stick them in any purse or bag or whatever and weigh MUCH less than a book.  
  2. What's more, they hold literally HUNDREDS of books.  You can borrow eBooks from your library and you can usually do it from your eReader.  
  3. Read all the books on your eReader?  Who cares?  Pop online, buy a book, read it.  What's more, there are hundreds of books that are free and thousands more under $10. You can also download eBooks from most libraries for most eReaders. Different libraries use different eBook providers, and the details vary, but most of them are compatible with iPads, Kindles, Nooks, and Droid tablets. 
  4. You can read the eReader on the beach, in the sun and now, with the new Kindles with the lights built right into the eReaders, you can read in the dark with the screen that is easy on your eyes.


  1. Well, if you're not careful about your battery, you can take out the eReader one day and the battery is dead and you have nothing to read on that long train ride.  That will never be a problem with a book.  
  2. If you leave an eReader on a train, you're out $150.  If you lose a book, you're out $7 for a paperback, $20 for a hardback.  
  3. eReaders become outdated technology, eventually.  Every few years we have new Kindles and new Nooks.  The worst with a book is waiting for the paperback to come out so you don't have to spend $20.  
  4. And you don't get that book feel.  I get it.  There's nothing like feeling a book in your hand.  And the smell. Mmm, book smell. I LOVE BOOK SMELL. Did you know they've bottled it?  I did, actually, but I didn't have $100 to spend on it.  If someone wants to buy me eau de book for my wedding, I will not protest.
  5. Also, eReaders are a contributing factor to why our libraries are going out of business. Alex the librarian respectfully disagrees. We provide eBooks too (like I mentioned before) and they're usually a lot cheaper for us to get. They also don't require maintenance (as in rebinding or shelving or things like that... we do have to make sure the databases work, but that's about it). About half the librarians I know have eReaders, and we love them. A lot of libraries actually lend out eReaders, sometimes pre-loaded with content. I could go on, but I think you all get the point.  Ok, well, I'm wrong.  But still, if we eliminate the print book for the eReader, where does that leave libraries?  I'm not saying they're THE reason, I'm just saying, they're probably not helping.  But, clearly, Alex is probably more knowledgeable than I on the subject.

So that brings us to book, the paper, physical, real life thing book.  Pros: 

  1. Books are physical things.  You buy a book and it's yours and you never have to worry about it.  You paid $7 for that physical book and it's substantial, unlike an eBook which... is not.  And we all - well, some of us - remember when Amazon had their little freakout over 1984 and everyone who had downloaded it lost it suddenly one day.
  2. There's just something about holding a book in your hand: the feel, the smell, the ability to turn the pages.  And we don't recommend spraying your eReaders with this stuff.
  3. Buying books also gives you a library of your own (not to mention supports libraries themselves.)  There's just something about being able to walk into a room and seeing books line the shelves, books that have been your friends.


  1.  Books are heavy.  Whether you're toting a book from place to place or you're moving them from one house to another, they weigh a lot.  How many times have you gotten rid of books just because you didn't want to have to pack them up?  This is actually one of the reasons I'm such a big fan of the shift to eBooks for textbooks. No student wants to carry around half a ton of textbooks every day.
  2. Books also go through wear and tear.  You read a book a lot and it starts to fall apart, show its age until, finally, it has to be replaced.  One day, you will have to shell out another $7.  Same thing if it gets lost, stolen or borrow forever by a friend.  You're now buying that book you already bought (I have a book I've bought no less than three times because I've lost it through lending and moving.)  
  3. When you travel, you have to bring multiple books.  I know that I can blow through a book pretty quickly, so I have to bring no less than three books with me.  That's three books taking up precious suitcase space.

I actually like both.  Will an eBook ever replace the real thing for me?  No, never in a million years.  I still frequent my library, have books of my own and, when I'm at home, always have a physical book in my hand.  However, my eReader is great for work.  It's great for when I'm traveling or, if I'm early for something, I can just pull it out of my purse and read a book. And if you have one of the newer eReaders like the Kindle Fire (I have the older version with a keyboard at the bottom) you can do other things, like play Angry Birds or check your email, since they're really just tablets with the capacity for storing a bunch of books.  Alex, this is a book blog.  We're supposed to be encouraging reading. If I'm caught somewhere unexpectedly, I have a book on me and I don't need to add tons of weight to my purse to have a book.


  1. I love real books, for the smell and the ability to turn the page. But, I also enjoy my Kindle Fire. I have only read one book so far, because I agree that it can hurt my eyes if I read it for too long. I also find myself losing attention with the Kindle more so than with a real book. I have been reading The Arabian Nights on the Kindle, which is great because its easy to put down and not read for several weeks and then pick it right back up. The biggest issue for me with the Kindle is the eyesight stuff. I already have bad eye sight and staring at the screen for too long hurts. My optometrist told me that long term, all of us are doing more damage to our eyes the longer we look at screens, so I suppose in that way, books are better. Also, people with visual impairments cannot read braille on an E-Reader to my knowledge. So that's another negative for them. I love my Kindle Fire, but I definitely use it as more of a tablet than to read. I'm still primarily a book person.

    1. The Fire is not nearly as good for reading. The original Kindle are MUCH better on your eyes because they mimic real ink, so it's like reading a book. Also, in term of the visually impaired, the Kindle can read the book to you. So, no there is no braille, but there is an audio book.

      My suggestion to you, if you're really looking seriously into something that would be better for your eyes, invest in one of the Black and White kindles. They're much better for your eyes. You can also adjust the size of the text.