Physical Books vs. Ebooks: Why You Should Still Read Both – MakeUseOf

There’s pressure to choose just one format, but if you enjoy reading, there’s no reason not to read a combination of the two.
Usually, the discussion around physical books and ebooks is based on which one is better than the other. And therefore, which one you should commit to going forward. However, there are numerous benefits to using both formats to get the most out of your reading experience.
So, here’s the case for physical books, the case for ebooks, and the reasons why you should be using both.
Physical books are well… physical. No prizes for guessing that but what this means is that they have the ability to give you a more immersive experience through the use of engaging multiple senses.
You’re feeling the pages as you turn them, and hearing the crinkle as they move. You’re not only seeing the words on the page but you’re also seeing how the book is presented in general. If there’s any interesting covers or illustrations as well as any font and style choices. If the book you’re reading is new then you’re smelling that oh-so-satisfying “new book” smell.
These things, however big or small, all add up and activate different parts of your brain, keeping you that much more engaged in your reading experience.
A wonderful benefit to physical books is just how much variety there can be in how they’re presented.
From paperbacks to hardcovers, leatherbound and clothbound books, unique illustrations to picturesque children’s editions, the list is expansive. Whether reading by yourself or to someone else, holding the right book in your hands creates an incredibly memorable experience, as such being huddled around a fireplace reading a story to your children as they’re drawn to the accompanying illustrations.
Finding a beautifully bound book can create an extremely powerful first impression, especially when buying a book you’re excited about; that feeling of having a finely—crafted edition of your favourite book adds that extra layer of meaning and connection.
Technology is already greatly integrated into our lives, for better or worse, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Despite a world of benefits, innovations, and constantly improving products, sometimes it can all get too much.
In this sense, physical books provide a wonderful disconnect from the digital world, keeping you in the moment, free of distractions. Whether at work or leisure, if you find yourself with screen fatigue, constantly distracted by your phone, tablet, or computer, picking up and reading a physical book can be wonderfully refreshing.
Despite their positives, there are challenges that come with using physical books. Namely, their two biggest problems are capacity and wear-and-tear.
If you’re travelling and have limited space, taking a selection of books with you may be impractical and you’d have to take into account factors such as size, shape, and value.
Despite their sentimental quality, physical books that have been damaged or worn down too much will compromise your reading experience. Ripped pages or pages falling out, loose binding, and fading text are just a few problems that physical books present.
An incredible benefit to reading ebooks is just how available they are. For example, the largest ebook store right now, Amazon’s Kindle Store, gives you access to millions of ebooks which you can read instantly after purchasing. No travelling to a book store or waiting for a delivery to arrive.
In addition to the Kindle Store, there are plenty of other ebook stores worth using, meaning that searching for a new, exciting book has never been so easy and accessible.
This makes the process of searching for a book you want, purchasing it, and getting to reading it the quickest it’s ever been, giving you more time to do what you love to do… read.
Ereaders are designed to be read anytime, anywhere. They’re incredibly portable, perfect for taking on your travels and for both short and long commutes. Their storage allows you to take thousands of books with you wherever you go.
Devices such as the Amazon Kindle come with an anti-glare front light with adjusting brightness, which means that you can read in both direct sunlight and complete darkness with the screen always being easy on your eyes.
Related: Why You Should Buy a Kindle (Even If You Love Real Books)
Sticking with the Kindle, there are a range of accessibility options, including adjustable font type, size, and boldness, page margins, and line spacing. As well as the overall orientation. This is especially useful if you have reading preferences or any reading disabilities, such as dyslexia.
The upfront cost of getting an ereader can seem a bit daunting. However, the reduced price of ebooks compared to new paperbacks and hardcovers and the numerous sales and discounts make this a worthwhile investment as time goes on. If you’re eager to try out lots of new books, purchasing them as ebooks will be more cost-effective.
Related: The Best Free Ebook Download Sites
There are a range of amazing features that come with using ebooks but there are also a few downsides.
It can sometimes be tricky to adjust to ereaders. Simply put, it’s a different format of reading. If you’re used to reading lots of physical books, it might feel strange for the text to disappear and reappear as opposed to turning the page or not feeling the weight of a book in your hand.
For some, this can show a lack of character and tone that physical books can bring, leaving ebooks feeling a little “sterile”. For others, this isn’t a problem and, after a few minutes, you could find yourself perfectly adjusted to reading ebooks.
Having your entire library in your hand can be surreal in both a good way and a bad way. You could love the convenience and efficiency of this or find it seriously overwhelming.
Physical books and ebooks both have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. But instead of picking one over the other, they should be seen as complementary to each other. One’s weaknesses are often the other’s strengths and vice versa.
Using both can enrich your time spent reading and contribute to giving you the best, most engaging reading experience.
Which book should you read next? These websites find the best book for you and recommend titles by experts and famous people.
Soham is a musician, writer and gamer. He loves all things creative and productive, especially when it comes to music creation and video games. Horror is his genre of choice and oftentimes, you’ll hear him talking about his favourite books, games and wonderings.
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