Discussion Post: (The Great Debate) E-Readers vs Physical Books, What Side Are You On?

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I feel like this is an age old debate but I’d like to not only give my two cents on it but hear from you guys as well! I’m going to be sharing my opinions from both sides since I do enjoy both eBooks and physical books, there won’t be any bashing on my part since there are pros and cons to each side.

So let’s just get right into it!

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What are some of the pluses to owning an E-Reader?

For the most part I find that eBooks are cheaper than physical books, like I said…for the most part. This isn’t always true of course but you do find some really great deals on books if you have a Kindle, Nook, or other eReader such as $0.99 or $1.99 books. That’s awesome! Who doesn’t love getting super cheap books?

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E-Readers are easier to carry around than physical books and are more convenient when traveling. E-Readers are pretty small and slim which obviously makes it a little nicer to carry around in your purse or backpack, much nicer than say…a physical copy of “Illuminae” or “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” am I right? Also I know us book lovers LOVE to have more than one book when we travel ya know….in case we finish the one we are currently reading. In which case having an e-reader gives you a lot of options to choose from since you can have loads of books on there and just one little device to carry them around on.

For those of us who book blog it’s also nice to have an e-reader to be able to read digital ARCs on. Digital ARCs are a lot easier to get a hold of than physical ARCs so it’s definitely nice to have a way to read them that isn’t just on your computer screen (unless that floats your boat, in which case, float away my friends!).

No flashlights or page holders necessary with an e-reader(this may or may not be me just being lazy). A small thing to be sure but sometimes it’s just nice to lay in bed with no lamps or flashlights on and still be able to read your book before going to sleep. It’s also really nice when you’re trying to multi-task and not have to worry about finding something to hold your book open while you read and do your hair or whatever else you’re trying to do (yes I have tried doing my hair and reading at the same time and it never ends well).

You can also download books in the blink of an eye on an e-reader and not have to worry about waiting for your books to get shipped to you. Another thing you can do is use your e-reader to download ebooks from your local library which is fast and easier than taking a trip into the library.


What are some of the downsides to owningΒ  E-Readers?

Ebooks aren’t always cheaper than physical copies, as I mentioned briefly above. Honestly, there are times where the eBook is either more expensive than the paperback version or near the same in which case it’s your own choice on which you’d rather spend your money on. I find it a little frustrating when an ebook is $10.99+ because why pay that much when I could just get a physical copy?

Ebooks don’t have pretty covers to line up on your bookshelves because obviously they are not physical books. You can’t touch them or hold them or sniff them….

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E-Readers do need to be charged and it’s kind of a big investment right away. As you all very well know e-readers can be spendy and they’re certainly more than the cost of a few physical books but depending on how much you’ll use it it will be worth it. Also depending on what kind of e-reader you get they don’t really need to be charged that often but they do still need to be charged which can be annoying when you’re using it to have your reading interrupted.

You can’t lend ebooks out to your friends or family. I’m aware that in some cases you are able to do this with certain e-readers but it isn’t with every book and I’m not sure if there’s a way to share at all on Kindles. It’s really disappointing when you really want someone to read a great book you have and are unable to loan it to them.


What are some of the pluses of physical books?

Physical books have gorgeous covers and are fun to collect and put on display in your home on your bookshelves. Also who doesn’t love the touch and feel of paper pages and hardcovers? And the smell…..we all love the smell of physical books old or new. This is probably the biggest plus of owning physical books.

You can lend physical books out to friends and family when you want to force your favorite books on them.

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You never need to worry about a physical book running low on battery power.

Bookmarks! With physical books you get to use all of the adorable and stylish bookmarks you want ( I horde bookmarks like there’s no tomorrow).

If you’re looking to get rid of a few physical books you didn’t enjoy you can always give them to others, donate to the library, or sell them to a used bookstore (and feel good about yourself).

When shopping for physical books you get to go into bookstores and what book lover doesn’t love going into a bookstore for hours on end?


What are some of the downsides to physical books?

Physical books can be lost. When you own an e-reader and ebooks you’re always backed-upΒ but you know what happens when you lose your physical copy of a book? It’s gone for good and you’ll have to buy another, no one’s got your back on that one.

Physical books are also easily damaged, they’re poor fragile creatures. Spines get cracked, pages can be torn, ink can be smeared, and the worst of all is they can be spilled on! Also if you loan out your books there’s also a good chance they’ll come back to you with any amount of these blasphemous damages.

Books can be kind of spendy with the norm being $9.99 for paperbacks and $18.99 for hardcovers. This really adds up when you’re looking to get a few to add to your collection.

They can be heavy and inconvenient to carry around with you everywhere you go. Also as mentioned it can be a bit of a hassle trying to take more than one book with you when travelling. Physical books also take up quite a bit of space when you don’t have enough room to store them in your home.


My Opinion

I sort of stated my opinion in all of the above comments but…..

With all of these pros and cons in mind I have to say that I like e-readers for their cheap books, they’re a lot nicer to travel with, and if you want to read the next book in a series NOW you can download it right away.

However, I will always prefer physical copies over ebooks because they’re fun to collect and show off, hold and smell, and they’re more aesthetically pleasing.

To be perfectly honest though I love both my Kindle and all of my physical books!

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Come Join The Discussion!Β 

Do you agree/disagree with any of my points?

What are some of the pluses/downsides to owning an e-reader/physical book for you?

What is your favorite part about e-readers or physical books?

Ultimately would you choose ebooks or physical books?

The Sassy

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47 thoughts on “Discussion Post: (The Great Debate) E-Readers vs Physical Books, What Side Are You On?

  1. Great discussion, Heather! I actually love both ebooks and physical books – both have space in my life, I think. I love ebooks because my e-reader (my iPad or my phone, usually) allows me to take notes and highlight passages, whereas I love physical books for the pretty (and they’re easier to lend out, which I have no problem doing). Tbh though physical books take up a lot of space and is a hassle to move around, so I prefer ebooks a teeeeny tiny bit at this (rather uncertain) stage of my life. πŸ˜›

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    • Thanks Reg!
      I love both for the same reasons, I love ebooks for their convenience and physical books for their prettiness. Although you’re definitely right about the space issue, I run out of space to keep physical books a lot more than I should! But I am a bit of a book hoarder so I don’t mind too terribly much! πŸ™‚

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  2. This is a debate that always gets kinda annoying to hear about when someone is very adamant about having one or the other. It’s like: why not both? (I once saw someone on the Barnes & Noble website leave a comment where she basically called anyone who had an e-reader stupid because her physical book collection was worth so much money and blah blah blah). I love having physical copies, yes, but ebooks are great too because I don’t have to really worry about running out of space on my shelves or things like that. It’s also pretty convenient to highlight in them, make notes, and look up words I don’t know on my nook. If I end up really liking a book I’ll most likely get a physical copy later on down the road. And I do love finding ebook deals in my mail every day haha. I have like 4 different sites I subscribe to that send me great deals.

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    • Yes, I agree completely I don’t like when people are very strongly against one or the other because both options are great for different readers and leaving negative comments (like the one you saw) is just plain rude.
      I definitely love ebooks for the space they save because I too am constantly running out of room to put books. Also like you said if I really liked the book I’ll almost always get a physical copy anyways.
      I use Book Bub and Goodreads Deals to send me ebook deals because those are the only ones I knew about! πŸ™‚

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  3. Agree with all of your points. On the same wavelength of having to charge an e-reader, a similar problem is the possibility of it no longer working. This happened to me recently as my kindle keyboard decided to keep freezing, not turn on, and generally not work as well as it used to. I had to get a new kindle and whilst I love it, it ultimately shows a big downside and expense to reading digitally because an e-reader, tablet, smartphone…whatever it is we use is not going to last to the same extent as a well-treated book.

    However one major plus for me in regards to kindles and e-readers is the ability to toggle with the font size, and change the colour of the background page. When my eyesight is particularly bad during the hayfever months these advantages are a godsend.

    Secondly if I want to finish a series I’m not finding the best, or is good but rather chunky and long, I would rather download them onto my kindle than purchase physical copies. Yesterday I decided to do this with all my Patricia Cornwell books, and it created a lot of space on one of my actual bookshelves for books I know I do truly want to read soon. If and when I get round to Game of Thrones I’ll download them instead because the box set would easily take up space that I physically don’t have.

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    • Definitely a great point! E-readers don’t last as long as books, or at least not as long as we think. I had a very similar problem as you where my first e-reader a Nook Color I had for a few years and it just quit working, no idea why. So I went and bought the new Kindle Paperwhite and then the Nook decided to work again which was frustrating! At least they’re different enough to use for different things so it wasn’t a complete waste, because I love my Kindle more.
      I agree with your series comment as well, I actually read almost all of the A Song of Ice and Fire series on my e-reader because they’re long, chunky and it’s easier to read on an e-reader since I can make the font a bit bigger! Big books like that are definitely better as ebooks in my opinion, makes them a little less intimidating.
      So I definitely suggest doing that with Game of Thrones, like you said! πŸ™‚

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  4. Your meme’s are killing me πŸ˜€ I prefer physical but read faster on my kindle. I have tons of shelves in my house that I love to fill with the physical books. I try to do review books on my kindle because then if I LOVE the book I will buy it for my shelves. If I disliked the book it wouldn’t be taking up space on my shelves! What a great topic πŸ™‚

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    • Well thank you, I love using gifs!
      I favor physical books just a teeny bit more because I love the way they look but I agree that I read faster on my Kindle as well! I mostly get review books in ebook format which, like you said, is definitely nicer if you don’t enjoy the book that way it isn’t taking up space. Thanks Debby πŸ™‚

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  5. My heart will always side with physical books. I am still a huge sucker for the gorgeous covers, smell and feel of flipping through an actual book. I love collecting them! I will never stop.

    That said, ebooks have become a welcomed addition in my reading life as well for many of the above mentioned reasons. I also tend to struggle with my vision with having spells and the customizable text has saved me on several occasions.

    I am guilty of often owning a physical and digital copy of my favorites πŸ˜‰

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    • Yes, me too! That’s part of why I favor physical books a little more is that they’re pretty and I love the smell and feel of them as well. I also like to hoard *cough* I mean collect them too!
      I read some of the A Song of Ice and Fire books on my e-reader and being able to change the font size was a lifesaver so it’s definitely a big plus!
      I think I will eventually have physical copies of books I read and loved on my e-readers but at the moment I’d rather spend my money on books I haven’t read yet. I can see that happening maybe sooner rather than later though since there are a few I really want to add to my collection! πŸ™‚

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  6. I actually just read my first ebook a few months ago, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My only reason to not like them, is I have very sensitive eyes so reading anything with a screen for a long time makes me cry. When I read the ebooks that I did I was only read a chapter a day to keep my eyes in check. I wish I didn’t have this problem or else I’d be so down to owning a Kindle or something like that.
    The only reason I did read the ebooks was my library didn’t have the physical copy so I downloaded an app my library has to read them on my laptop.

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    • I’ve heard of people having issues with e-readers for the same reason before and it really stinks but I’m glad you didn’t find the experience too bad so hopefully you can read a few ebooks in the future again!
      Being able to download and borrow ebooks from the library is something I absolutely love to do since, like you said, they don’t always have the physical copy.
      I’m not sure if you’ve looked into it before but I find the Kindle Paperwhite’s (or any other e-readers similar to it, not sure personally) screen to not be so….glaring, if that makes sense. It definitely isn’t as harsh as staring at a computer or phone screen so maybe that would be a little easier on your eyes! πŸ™‚

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      • I’ve never heard of the Kindle Paperwhite. I would have to look into that, but I do understand what you’re saying, it’s softer on your eyes, which would be what I need, I will literally start crying if I look at a bright screen for long. I’m thankful I don’t have to look at a screen all day for work.
        I agree downloading ebooks from the library is SO convenient, like I don’t even have to leave my house! πŸ˜€

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      • Glad to be of some sort of assistance. I love recommending books and ways to read because I’m a book lover, haha! And yes I love library ebooks it is so much easier to not leave the house at all haha! πŸ™‚

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  7. I love this 😊 I really love my Kindle because as you’ve mentioned it’s real handy to take with me wherever I go. Also if you take physical books with you there’s a slight chance that they might get damaged somehow! But I also love seeing beautiful books on my shelves. I think it’s a tie for me, certain times I prefer physical books and other times I prefer e-books 😊

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    • Thanks Michelle! I know when I carry one of my physical books around I hate the small wear and tear from it just being carried around in a bag with other things. Kindles are definitely more convenient for that but like you said I do love having a collection of pretty books to look at! I definitely have a love and hate relationship with both! πŸ™‚

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  8. Nice post! You make some really good points about e-readers vs physical books. I personally don’t have a preference. Like you said, they both have pros and cons. I also don’t understand why ebooks are sometimes the same price/more expensive than their physical counterparts.

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  9. I’m the same as you, I love both my Kindle and Physical Copies. Kindles are so much more lighter to carry to uni when your commuting in with a bag of books anyway (English Literature Degree so you can imagine) and books are cheaper on their sometimes but I do end up buying the physical book as well if I love the book so I can have it in my collection.
    The plus side to E-books too is many times websites have freebies of books so you can get tons of great books for free, like on Kindle or Amazon or itunes EVERYWHERE haha!

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  10. I would be lost without my Kindle. I love physical books a lot, but I prefer reading ebooks. I think it’s just because it’s so much more convenient. Living in the middle of nowhere it’s so much easier to just download an ebook than have to wait 2 weeks for a physical copy to arrive (I’m so impatient). It’s also so much easier to annotate ebooks and I love reading in the dark. I do have a serious book buying addiction though so obviously that doesn’t stop me from purchasing physical books, haha. Great post, Heather! You bought up excellent points πŸ˜€

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    • I’m SUPER impatient and hate waiting for books to arrive as well and it’s definitely a lot more convenient to take 2 seconds to download a book on a Kindle. I also agree that using a Kindle to highlight my favorite quotes is a lot easier as well, even though I’ll still use sticky notes in a physical book but I’m less inclined too because I’m lazy, haha!
      I have a major book buying obsession too, something about staring at my hoard of books brings me joy…..
      Thanks Lauren! πŸ™‚

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  11. I totally agree with all your points! I easily prefer physical copies over e-books, but I do have an e-reader that I use for vacation and night time reading and basically all the other pros you said. haha. I do own way more physical copies than e-book copies, though. Really enjoyed reading your post. πŸ˜€

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    • Thanks Ashley! Glad you agree with all of my points, they both definitely have their pros and cons! I also have way more physical copies than ebooks and even if I have an ebook copy I still like to have a physical copy of it if I loved it! πŸ™‚

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  16. I love this. So many people are either on one side or the other when I see these discussions and I feel like the odd man out because I use and enjoy both the e-readers (I have a Nook) and physical book. The e-readers are fantastic for traveling so you can take many books at once or late night reading but often I just need that risk-a-papercut feel of a hard copy.
    http://literaryweaponry.com

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    • Thank you I’m glad you like this discussion!
      I definitely agree with you I always find that these types of discussions are always people firmly on one side or the other. I think most of us really do utilize both though!
      πŸ™‚

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  18. when e-readers first came out, i felt really resistant to them and i’m not really sure why. They have lots of good points, as described above and they have their downsides too. I personally don’t own an e-reader, but recently i have been giving thought to getting one (or asking for one as a gift) but i’m still on the fence. I like my physical books. I like seeing them lined up on my shelves. And i like being able to take them to a used bookstore if i decide i’m not going to read them again. I’m sure one day I will get some kind of e-reader as that is the way of the future, but not just yet.

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    • I was the same way when e-readers were still new but I liked the pros more than I hated the cons and finally got one. One of the biggest pluses for physical books for me is seeing stacks, piles, and shelves of books! I love looking at books on shelves. 😁

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