Ever since these ways of reading have been available, the debate has raged on regarding which way is the best. The main discussion surrounds whether e-books have overtaken their traditional counterparts as the preferred reading style.
E-books might seem like a relatively modern invention, but they actually have origins dating back to the 1930s when some writers enabled their work to appear on screens. However, the invention of the e-book as we know it today is really down to the author and inventor, Michael S. Hart, in 1971.
After adapting the Declaration of Independence into an electronic format, technology companies came up with the PDF and the e-book began to take off. By the late 90s libraries around the world began to offer e-book services and today companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Google and many more all provide their own versions.
Here at Champions Publishing, we are regular readers of all kinds of different texts and have created a list of pros and cons when it comes to e-books vs books.
Page flipping – One of the highlights of reading any books is returning time and time again to your favourite section. Flipping quickly forward or back through the book to find a particular aspect you would like to re-read is easy in a print book. E-books may come with a book mark function, but this random flicking through pages is much more difficult.
Nostalgia – For many of us, e-books were not as commonplace growing up as they are today. Most of our reading memories come from print books and there is something special about holding a book in your hands as you get lost in its story.
Help you retain information – studies have shown that the way we consume words on page is different to on screen. Think about how you read online articles or blogs, we generally prefer short, punchy sentences and skip over large sections of text. This is also true of e-books, whereas when it comes to reading print, we take a slower, more measured approach, absorbing much more.
The environment – in an age when we are much more environmentally focused, it is no surprised that perhaps the biggest con is the effect print books have on the planet. The average novel has between 200–400 pages, and when you consider that around one million books are sold in the USA each year alone, that’s a lot of paper and trees that are going to need to be used…
Takes up lots of space – whether you are going on holiday, a business trip or any kind of overnight stay, you may want to take your current read along with you. However, often you will want to take more than one to give yourself some choice. With limited room in your luggage, as well as books not being the lightest of objects, this can be problematic.
Speed – one of the biggest pluses of owning an e-book is that you are able to access the latest publications at just a flick of a button. That eagerly anticipated novel you’ve been waiting to be realised? Get it straight away without having to visit a book shop, library or have it delivered to you.
Make annotations or notes – If you come across something interesting or a piece of text you want to come back to later an e-book allows you to highlight it on screen without having to ruin the pages like you would with a printed book. If you are reading an informative piece, most e-books provide clickable references which take you to other articles if you want to learn more.
Better for less able readers – Not everyone is a strong reader but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy reading. Whether this includes dyslexic people, those with poor eyesight or those who simply find it difficult, e-books can be great. Able to adapt font, screen lighting and text size, they can be much more inclusive.
Not good for your sleep – it’s no secret that excessive screen time before settling down for the night, is not a great idea. Even though it can affect sleeping pattern, many of us still do it and e-books could be part of the problem. Reading an e-book directly before bed can be just as bad for us as browsing social media, messaging our friends or simply being on our mobiles.
Technology can break – Even the best technology in the world can have issues. Whether it is batteries dying midway through a chapter or breaking the screen after dropping it. Perhaps the worst thing is losing your progress. Imagine having several half-read books and then your e-book device fails you? All that reading time could be lost. You wouldn’t get that issue with a print book.
Here at Champions Publishing, we believe that there is no reason why print books and e-books can’t work hand in hand. There is a market and demographic for both to succeed, and with the UK publishing industry coming off the back of a record year, the e-book technology has certainly not had a detrimental affect to its counterpart.
What do you prefer? Are you a traditional reader or do you not go anywhere without your Kindle?
Vote in our poll!