Ebooks versus Print

Ebook or hardcover? I’ve always preferred print, but since COVID, my interest in ebooks has increased. I’ve come to appreciate the advantages of ebooks versus print. Below, I’ll share my thoughts and experiences with both.

Print: the Tradition

I grew up reading in my father’s library of fantasy novels. He kept stacks neatly on his cedar cabinet, and there were evenings when I spent many hours immersing myself. There was nothing better than curling up by lamplight with a fantasy volume and a warm cup of tea. Something about the tactile feel of the book, the weight of its spine—it kept me engrossed. I loved the texture of each page like I was savoring a meal. The flavor of the font in a paragraph, or the curvature of italics; it was all fascinating.

For me, reading books was like honoring a tradition from our ancestors. Ingrained in my genetics, I allowed it to express itself.

Ebooks: the Modern Norm

Alas, print books are fading in popularity with the advent of ebooks. Although there will always be hard copies of stories, they’ll eventually become the new VHS tape; collectibles from an earlier age. It’s a shame, really, as there’s something sublime about a hardcover novel. Still, no one can deny the advantages of ebooks.

I was never into ebooks before 2020. But with quarantine and libraries shutting down, social distancing in play, I needed an escape. Easy access to books.

Enter Kindle.

Since 2020, I’ve read dozens of ebooks. It was easy to stay at home and comb through Kindle’s selection. The reading was streamlined, and I could customize some things. My opinion of them has certainly evolved, but print will always be my preferred medium.

Ebooks Versus Print: What Makes Each Stand Out?

Print

  • Added depth and feel to the book that keeps the reader engrossed
  • Technology independent—take it anywhere
  • Easier on the eyes
  • More intimate than ebooks
  • Can stack them in a shelf as part of a trophy collection

Ebook

  • Buy books instantly, and at a lower price
  • More compact than most print books
  • Customizable
  • “Faster” to read
  • Collection is digital and easy to condense

Ebooks and Print in the Market

Many indie authors and giveaway campaigns often go digital, as it’s economical and convenient in today’s market. Using platforms like Kindle, Bookfunnels, and StoryOrigin, ebooks have exploded in the indie market. Others can use ebooks to “test” the market before they go print, which is a more involved process.

“Fast” Versus “Slow”

Ebooks are “faster”, as you can swipe through pages and chapters with ease. This caters more towards younger readers. Older demographics may prefer the “slower” pace of print. These speeds are relative, of course, as some readers can chew through hardcover novels like a bullet.

Although I’m a young reader, I like to hop between the two mediums. For more detailed studies or denser reads, print works better for me; I also enjoy making notations and various shapes with freehand pencil, another fading passtime. But for fast action, excitement, or skim-overs, ebooks are ideal.

If an author is clever, they can use the “speeds” of different reading mediums to accentuate the flavor of a book. Got a steamy romance and want to pump up your audience? Go ebook. Have a long argument on spirituality you need to explain? Print helps to stretch it out.

The Winner

I’ve found that neither wins out over the other. I don’t enjoy the eye strain of ebooks, nor the break from tradition, the distance a tablet puts between you and the story. Still, ebooks are convenient, affordable, and provide diversity. It depends on the objective of the reader and the reading project.

If anything, having opinions is a plus, aye?


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Aspectä rey’lief, fair reader, and thanks for reading!
—Ed R. White

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