Hello, sweet peas!
I have decided to put physical books and ebooks in a ring together and let them battle it out. Not really like I did in this post where I just went completely overboard and nowadays have no idea what I have been thinking.
Anyway, I think it’s time to put physical and ebooks in different corners and just list all the pros and cons that will come to mind. I have to say that nowadays I do prefer ebooks because they are just more convenient for reading during the day when I’m out and about at work. But I’m still trying to make this list as unbiased as possible, I promise!
🦊 An unforgettable piece of reading that takes a spot on your shelf. With the emphasis on “on the shelf”. I think physical copies are the embodiment of the book and the reading itself. What comes to mind when I say book? Mostly a shelf full of books, not even specific ones but books in their pureness of carton and leather and paper and linen and glue and ink.
🦊New/old/favourite book smell. I’d rather stick my nose between the pages of a physical book than sniff my eReader, please and thank you.
🦊 Aestetics. There is that saying that a room without books is like a body without soul. A shelf full of books in a room is pleasing to the eye and good for the soul. It makes a room calmer and more lived in, in my opinion.
🦊 More feel. In general, physical books are great if the sensation of holding one is important to you. I love running my fingers over bookspines and pages, especially when a book has frayed edges. I also like it when books have any kind of special something on the cover that makes the haptic of it all more exciting like rough, sandy patches or smooth, glossy lines. Aaaah. 😍
🦊 Every copy is unique. While a book might be a book might be a book, I still think that every single copy of the same book is unique. It slowly takes some parts of its owner and sometimes serves at a memory keeper, if you are a reader that annotates or not. Some of my books have chocolate stains on the pages with my favourite parts or I used to press flowers between the pages of my favourite books. My brother’s copy of Lord of the Rings are a bit waterdamaged and have bitemarks from the adventures he took it on. So has every hardcopy a little story to tell besides the one that’s printed.
🦊 Takes a lot of shelf space. While it’s great that they are nice and snug on the shelf, it also true that they are taking up a lot of space. Space that’s often not really there to “waste” and that needs to be carfully calculated. Unfortunatly, a regular hardcopy already takes so much space than an ebook which makes a great argument for ebooks and against hardcopies.
🦊 Weight. As a person who never leaves her home without a book in her bag, let me tell you, books are heavy. Maybe you don’t notice it when you start out lugging one with you. Maybe you don’t notice it in the first hour or even the first several hour. But soon the additional weight will dig into your shoulder and hold you back bit by bit.
And it’s not only the weight of it when you carry them around, it’s also the strain on your wrists when you hold them while reading.
🦊 Cost. One of the most convincing arguments against physical books nowadays, I think. Physical books – especially hardcopies – are quite expensive. Around here a hardcopy costs about €20,60. That’s a lot of cash for one book. Especially, when you could buy the ebook for around €10,-. Of course it depends on what book we are talking about and what publisher has released it. But mostly, the ebook version of a book is half the price. Or even less. (I know libraries exists but like in my case where the library in our town is rather rubbish and does rarely ever have any books I want to read, it’s not always an option.)
🦊 Not really portable. I mean, everything is portable if you try hard enough. But even though my bag is rather spacious, I still struggle to take that 800 page whopper I wanted to read with me all the time. It’s a con that I usually try to suffer through but honestly, I prefer easier ways to keep my books with me.
🦊 Don’t take any shelf space. Even though my flat would technically be big enough, I am struggling to accomodate all my physical books. It’s no problem with my ebooks. I have a lot of them but I have yet to run out of space on my eReader and have yet to hear from anyone who ever ran out of space on theirs.
🦊 Portable. Big thing for me as well! I get to work by train and obviously I use these 30 minutes one way to read! With my eReader in my pocket or even just a reading app on my phone that’s pretty much always with me, I always have something to read when I have some waiting time.
🦊 Cheaper. Honestly, that one is big for me. I have already mentioned that physical books can be quite expensive and the library might not always be an option. I have however found other ways of getting my hands on ebooks, like via Scribd or even the Kindledeals each month and it’s infernally better for my wallet than buying all those books in physical form.
🦊 No worries about losing your page. Bookmarks are a big thing. No doubt about it. And you can use anything you want, from an actual bookmark to an old receipt to a pressed leaf to a shoelace, whatever floats your boat. (You can also dogear your physical book if you are one of those.) But how often have I lost my page when I put a book down for a second? It’s panic inducing and frustrating sometimes. That does not happen to you with an ebook, please and thank you.
🦊 Some books only available as ebooks. This could also be a con, not gonna lie. It’s like you have to be in some secret club to read some of the shortstories that come with your current favourite series. As an avid ereader I’m happy to read every tidbit of my favourite stories I can get my hands on. But I also understand that it’s annoying for people who don’t like ebooks.
🦊 EArcs. EArcs are great. If you want to be part of a blogtour, are part of Netgalley or Edelweiss or even have the guts to address the publisher itself – there is nothing greater than an early copy of a book you really want to read. And while you might not live in a country where there are physical Arcs are available for you, a eArc still goes all the way.
🦊 Easy to overlook. I have noticed that this can be a problem. Sometimes I have no idea what books I have in my ebook-library. Have I bought this or did I borrow it somewhere already? I tend to have a way better overview over my physical books than over my ebooks and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
🦊 Bad for social media. Or let’s say Instagram. Of course you can make it work but taking a picture of a paperback or a hardcopy is so much more easy than the whole song and dance you have to go through to present an ebook properly on your bookstagram.
🦊 Runs out of battery. That would obvioulsy never happen to you with a physical book. They don’t need batteries. And is there anything sadder than running out of battery on you eReader (and your phone for good measure) at the end of the day when all you want to do is relax with a good book while you train or bus carries you homeward?
🦊 No selling if you don’t like it. If you have a physical book you don’t like or otherwise decide that you don’t want to keep anymore, there is always the option that you sell them used or donate them. That’s not an option for ebooks you have bought and are no longer interested in.
Look, I said I would try to be unbiased, not unpersonal. Many of these points are very subjective but on the other hand, it gives us much more opportunity to discuss this topic!
What about you? Are you Team Physical Book or Team Ebook? Can you think of my Pros or Cons for each camp? Do you agree with my list?