EBooks vs Physical Books

Lets be honest here, a book is a book and a story is a story.  The format really doesn’t matter in the end.  An E-Book can take you on an adventure just as easily as a paperback or hardcover can, and in some cases cost less overall.

But why choose one over the other?  I am sure other folks have weighed in on this topic before.  I am not the first and certainly will not be the last to discuss this concept.  But I wanted to chime in and give my 3.5 cents on the matter.  Thats right, its totally more then 2 cents.  Its because I care.

So lets list out the pros and then the cons of the two formats, to begin the little discussion here.  There are few differences between the two formats so it will be a short list.

PROS of EBooks:

1 – Cost.  EBooks tend to be cheaper to purchase.  Amazon has thousands at 99 cents and many regular non indie titles run $4.99 or less.
2 – Portability.  EBooks are easier to take with you.  For example, I have an old Samsung Galaxy S3 that I no longer use.  It has 16GB of Space.  It is basically a portable EBook reader now.  And MP3 player
3 – Space.  16gb Of internal storage on my phone holds a LOT

PROS of Physical Editions:

1 – Style.  Nothing says awesome like a nice bookshelf full of books
2 – Feeling.  There is something about holding an actual book, its smell, its feel that just tells you “Its time for an adventure”.

CONS of EBooks:

1 – DRM.  Many EBooks use DRM.  While its highly unlikely it IS possible for a service to revoke your license for a book.  Remember, ANY digital download from a service that has DRM is more a rental then you owning it.
2 – Reader Cost and Usability.  EBook readers are not the cheapest things in the world, and in some cases are even unwieldy. Cell phones help but the screens are tiny

CONS of Physical Editions:

1 – Decay.  Books can and will eventually break down.  Glue wears out, covers get faded.
2 – Cost.  Paperbacks usually range around $8, but brand new hardcovers can easily hit $30.  Buying used can get around this but then you run into issues of decay and breakdown.
3 – SPACE.  Christ bookshelves take up floor space.

They are, in the end, similar.  So why the debate?  Why do people talk about one over the other?

I suppose part of it has to do with how we were raised.  I grew up prior to the digital age.  I am 33 now.  And while I have always been a bit of a techie, I grew up before cell phones could use the internet.  Back when going to the library to borrow books was a great time out.  Kids growing up now however have access to the net almost from the day they are born, with cell phones and tablets at their beck and call.

Technology is moving ahead.  Print is not dead, far from it.  Comics are still preferred in print form (unless designed for the web I prefer print comics when I do read them), and plenty of people young and old prefer to have something they can hold in their hand, a feeling of permanence to go along with it.  Personally I see an argument for both, and truly I would love to start seeing say Print Editions coming with codes for the EBook versions, for folks like me who want both options. That would be the best thing ever.

If you had asked me a year or so ago I would have told you that for everything but Game Rulebooks I would have gone with Ebooks every time.  I have always preferred my tabletop rpg books to be physical, easier to reference.  But now, I can see both sides.  Its nice to always have my little pocket ebook reader with me to read on the go, but when I am home its annoying to use and would prefer to read an actual book, if I can.

Which do you prefer?  Do you have a preference?


7 thoughts on “EBooks vs Physical Books

  1. I will always have a preference for physical books over eBooks, but I will not deny the convenience of the eBook. I have a fairly small living space and I would be buried in books by now if all the digital ones I have were physical books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love physical books, theres’s nothing I love more than having them on the shelf, even staring at them and at the beautiful covers – yeah, I am crazy like that.
    However, I end up reading more ebooks. As you said, they are so much cheaper, and space is the biggest factor. My apartment is tiny, so space is really an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do like both and I do read and buy both. True, I do prefer paper editions but some books are simply inaccessible for me in physical format, so most of the time I do read ebooks. Plus there are the obvious advantages that I can take my ebooks everywhere and I don’t care when the damn light in train goes off again or that it’s too dark to read on the road :P

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love, love, love having the physical book. Unfortunately I haven’t had the space (plus I move a lot) for them and so I’ve given up on keeping physical copies and completely gone digital.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. William Spear

    Until we got a Kindle in the house, I would have said physical over e-book. Now, it’s much more heavily weighted in the favor of e-books, basically for all of the pros that you listed.

    I still enjoy physical books, especially special editions like the Barnes and Noble Classics series that look great on a shelf and feel great in your hands. I also have a bunch of paperbacks that mean a lot to me – Stephen Kings and Michael Crichtons, basically the staples of my teenage years.

    Nothing like a physical edition for an RPG rulebook though – especially because they’re often heavily illustrated, and it feels so good to open up your tome of knowledge to see exactly how the rules for bum rushing work because there’s always that one guy at the table who’s going to use the rules that nobody ever, ever references.

    Liked by 1 person

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