Reading has been a part of everyone’s lives whether they like it or not. And some, really do like reading. From novels, to short stories, to comics, and magazines, newspapers and even reference books. Some would have their own library of books of novels and short stories. Others would always have newspapers on their breakfast tables every morning, an others have their monthly subscription of their favourite magazines. Others would bring a book (or a number of books that they can carry) anywhere they go. Be it the mall, the park, a hotel while on vacation, on a plane or boat, anywhere they could read. Of course, what books to bring might be a problem as you only have a limited capacity in your bag (or a limited capacity of the weight you can carry). And it will be a bit troublesome if you have to leave certain books you want to read (especially those who reads a lot). What would you say then if you suddenly find out you can bring your whole library with you with only a few kilos to carry?

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Image not mine

In this new age of technology, readers can now bring their whole library of books with just a few weight to add to their baggage or person. And this is in the form of Electronic Books or eBooks. eBooks can be stored in eBook readers; 7 inch black and white tablets where you can have your own library of eBooks and read it all in a touch of a screen (geddit? :P) or button. And not only on eBook readers can you read books, but also on cellphones or smart phones. But which of the two, print or digital, will we see more of?

The Pros and Cons

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Pros of an eBook (and an eBook reader):

  • can bring a lot of due to small storage space (in a device) needed
  • will lessen the use of paper, therefore lessen the cutting of trees
  • can buy anytime, anywhere over the internet
  • easier to publish (you can publish on your own blog or site, or on eBooks site)
  • can have an electronic book mark so you never lose you place
  • can find books you can’t find anymore in the market
  • very portable due to small sizes available
  • tablet types do not take up much space due to being thin
  • may use different types of device (cellphone or smart phone, eBook reader, other tablets) to read
  • flexible in a sense of changing the font size and style as per preference
  • selected eBooks may have lower prices than printed versions
  • eBook versions of dictionaries can be easily updated over the net
  • other eBook programs or applications offer to look up a certain word in the dictionary
  • can be easily printed to obtain the hard copy of the book if you wish
  • some schools are now using tablets where they store digital versions of the school books
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Cons of an eBook (and an eBook reader):

  • can  easily be pirated just by copying or transferring the file
  • the light of the screen may cause eye strain
  • has too many file formats that causes the eBooks to be unreadable by some eBook readers due to incompatible file formats
  • eBook readers (as well as tablets and phones) can only last up to a number of hours. Travelling with out any way of plugging your device is a bit troublesome
  • there are also printed books unavailable as eBooks
  • there are eBooks that cannot be obtained as printed books as much as you want to
  • eBooks also do not have a definite page. So it will be hard to keep track of any notes you might need (espescially if you’re using an eBook to do research)
  • any damage done to the eBook reader may not be easily repaired
  • lags at some point while reading
  • most schools do not allow cellphones or tablets, especially the years below college. So it will be a bit trouble some if you have the book only as an electronic one
  • schools who does allow or even distribute tablets for the use of students only gets the students distracted due to the students installing games (for those schools that do not limit or prevent the students doing so)
  • has more distractions (as you might be tempted doing something else with an eBook reader, especially the colour eBook readers ones)

In a book I read when I was a kid, the alien (yes, it’s sci-fi) laughs at the humans because they are too amazed by computers which, by comparison to books, are slower in loading a page than turning one by hand.

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Pros of a printed book

  • can be easily obtained (as there are a lot of bookstores)
  • some can be bought at a lower price in bargains
  • most reference books are only available as printed books
  • most pocket books (short, romance novels, short stories, etc.) are only available as printed books
  • easier to turn pages (due to electronic pages lagging when turning a page)
  • the feel of the book in your hands
  • easier to go back to pages already passed
  • printed books with diagrams looks better than on electronic ones
  • harder to pirate (or distribute illegally)
  • some books, especially text books, are easier to find as printed ones

And one thing a printed book has that the electronic books doesn’t is the “New Book Smell” It doesn’t really count as a pro for the printed books. But as an avid reader, I always smell the books I buy and it kinds of makes me proud I’ve bought it. Especially if it’s a great book to read.

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Cons of a printed book

  • takes a lot of raw materials to produce
  • some may be bulky and harder to carry
  • cannot adjust text size for easier reading
  • needs a source of light in order to read
  • costs a lot to produce (raw materials to make paper and ink, as well as machines to print the books)
  • hard to distribute (as it takes a lot of time and money to distribute books to different stores around the world)

To me, wherever it is I’m reading from, whether from a printed book or from an eBook reader, as long as I’m reading a good story, it’s ok. For me, there are books that are supposed to be read as printed books only, and there are books that are supposed to be read as eBooks only. And there are times when I have a copy of both printed and eBook. It’s hard to shift from one to the other though. It really depends on how much and when you read. If you don’t have much time and read bit by bit, an eBook would work great. But if you read a lot, a printed book would be great.

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Image not mine