E-readers vs. Physical Books

By Aminah Madihah

Fellow bookworms, which one do you prefer?

Since the invention of e-readers such as Kindle, Boox, Kobo and various tablets, there’s been an ongoing debate about whether reading from a physical book or screen is better among bookworms. This isn’t just about a simple choice; it’s a reflection of how we balance tradition and innovation in our everyday lives. Whether you love the familiar feel and smell of paper or enjoy the sleek convenience of a digital library, each option has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Let’s first explore the pros and cons of reading from screens:

Pros of Reading from Screens

  • Easy to bring anywhere and accessible: E-readers can store thousands of books, allowing readers to carry an extensive library wherever they go without having to carry the whole thing. Want to read a new book? E-books can be purchased and downloaded instantly without a trip to the store or a wait for delivery.
  • Customisable reading experience: E-readers offer features like adjustable font size, backlighting, and even text-to-speech, enhancing readability and accommodating various preferences and needs. Also, digital books can include hyperlinks, annotations, and multimedia content, enriching the reading experience and providing additional context.
  • Great for the environment: Without the need for paper, ink, and physical transportation, e-books potentially reduce the environmental footprint associated with traditional book production and distribution.

    Cons of Reading from Screens
  • Eye strain and discomfort: Prolonged reading on screens can cause eye strain, headaches, and disrupted sleep patterns due to glare and blue light emission. Holding a device for extended periods can lead to hand and wrist discomfort, impacting the overall reading experience.
  • Distractions and digital fatigue: Devices often have multiple functions and notifications, which can distract from focused reading and reduce comprehension. For individuals already spending significant time on screens for work or entertainment, additional screen time for reading can contribute to digital fatigue.

On the other hand, reading from physical books brings different benefits despite the downsides of it. Here are the pros and cons of reading books, the traditional way:

Pros of Reading Physical Books

  • Full immersive experience: Real book enthusiasts would understand and prefer the sensation of turning pages and the smell of paper that you get from physical books. They often hold sentimental value and can be cherished as part of a personal collection or home decor.
  • Enhanced focus and comprehension: Reading a physical book eliminates digital distractions, allowing for deeper concentration and better absorption of content. Studies suggest that reading from physical books may enhance memory retention and comprehension, possibly due to the spatial context provided by physical pages.
  • Battery-free: Imagine this: You’re on a 10-hour flight but you’re not able to enjoy that book you were planning to read on your Kindle. Why? You forgot to charge it before your trip! This is where a physical book would come in handy. They do not require charging, making them reliable for extended reading sessions and ideal for situations without access to power sources.

    Cons of Reading Physical Books
  • Bulk and weight: In this current day and age where everyone is always on the go, we want something that’s convenient and can fit in our small bags. Carrying multiple physical books can be limiting for frequent travellers or those with limited living space.
  • Accessibility and cost: Obtaining physical books may require a visit to a store or library, or waiting for online orders to be delivered, which can be less convenient than downloading an e-book. Physical books can be more expensive than their digital counterparts, especially when considering shipping fees and the cost of printing.

So, which one do you think is the better way to read? Personally, I believe both have their unique advantages and can be great ways to enjoy reading. The best choice depends on your lifestyle and personal preferences.

How do you think the habit of reading will evolve in the future? Let us know at @Graduan!

Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash.

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