Mattia Gregory

With technology playing such a major role in our lives today many books have begun to appear as digital forms rather than your original paperback. There are pros and cons to both sides of the debate on whether digital books (eBooks) will take over the form of printed books. Or will printed books continue to be the original format of reading material?

As a university student, I find the only reading I do nowadays involves a textbook. But even with textbooks now you are given the option to download them onto your computer. Personally, I enjoy a hardcopy textbook because I am able to mark out each chapter, highlight and write within the actual book. The downside of having 3 to 6 textbooks with me almost at all times is the weight which could be solved if I opted to have the online version. Matt Enis discovered that 74% of students preferred print books for pleasure reading and 68% preferred print for assigned narrative reading, while 45% preferred eBooks for research purposes (Enis). The reasoning behind these stats depends on the pros and cons that individuals see with regard to eBooks versus printed books.

Of course with any debate on anything, especially on types of technology, there will be individuals who have strong opinions towards one side of the argument over the other. To better understand why some people prefer to read from a printed book over an eBook we must examine the pros and cons of both options.

Let’s begin with how individuals feel about eBooks, remembering that all points are strongly influenced on opinion. The pros of eBooks are as follows they are great for on the go, they are light weight and can be transported anywhere you go without taking up much space (Richardson). eBooks give readers the opportunity to read at any time of the day… even the middle of the night with brightness levels. The level of light can be adjusted depending on the time of the day, making it easier for those night owls to stay up and read without all the lights on in the house (Richardson). Another great feature from eBooks is the option to change the font size making it easier to read with less strain on the eyes (Richardson). eBooks come with many gadgets and features allowing people of all ages to be able to enjoy a good book at home and on the go.

On the other hand, some individuals have a strong connection to their printed books. David Richardson studies how holding a printed book in your hand has a certain feeling to it. Many people love the feeling of turning pages, smelling the paper, and seeing permanent words emblazoned on pages. Printed books allow people to share their favourite books with their friends by passing the book to one another once one is done reading. Printed books also can be used as a memory item, my mom still has books from when her dad went to high school with his own notes written thoughout the pages.

Although there are many pros to both eBooks and printed books there are also cons that make people urge away. With regard to eBooks they can require being put onto a waitlist through the library that you are renting the book from. My mom has mentioned that she has had to wait over a month to get a book that she has wanted to read. eBooks also require a charging cable for when the battery life comes to end, this means that an electrical outlet needs to be present if the device dies. Lastly, eBooks are very difficult to mark pages and backtrack meaning that once you move a few chapters ahead it is difficult to go back and reread.

Although printed books are still more popular (see figure 4) they have a few cons that cause individuals to stray away from them. Printed books are not as portable due to the weight and size that they can be, making them harder to store and take on the go. Printed books can be difficult to read in certain environments because of the risk that pages can be damaged. So if you are the type of person who likes to read in the bath you could risk getting water damage to the pages. Finally, printed books only come in one size of font, resulting in many individuals having a difficult time reading them.

Overall, the debate surrounding eBooks versus printed books will probably be never ending as long as individuals are going to voice their opinions. No matter where you go or who you talk to they will most likely have a preference on whether they enjoy a printed book in their hand or an eBook. In the YouTube video “Kindle vs paper books” Lauren Goode debates with herself on the topic of which type of book people should read:

To conclude my research on eBooks versus printed books, I asked a few people in my life which they prefer and why they chose that option over the other. Both my mother and brother have been obsessed with reading for as long as I can remember. When I asked my brother which option he would choose he said printed books because he liked the option of being able to physically mark the pages and find them easier later on. My mom on the other hand, said she loves a good printed book in her hand because she like to be able to see how much of the book she has left but she would choose her Kobo (eBook) over a printed book. She chose this option because it is water proof and she doesn’t need to worry about getting pages wrecked when she’s lying by the pool and she enjoys the option to highlight and look up the definitions of words. In the end it does not matter whether you are reading from an eBook or a printed book because the quality and writing of the book will be the same. The question is, which do you prefer?

Figure 5. Retrieved from


Works Referenced and Cited:

Enis, M. “College Students Prefer Print for Long-form Reading, EBooks for Research | Lj Survey.” Library Journal. March 27, 2018. Retrieved from . Accessed on March 10, 2019

Goode, L. “Kindle vs paper books.” Youtube, uploaded by The Verge, March 15, 2018. Assessed on March 12, 2019

Perrin, A. “Nearly one-in-five Americans now listen to audiobooks.” Pew Research Center, March 8, 2018. Retrived from Accessed on March 10, 2019.

Richardson, D. “Books vs E-Books: Pros and Cons.”  Pick my Reader. Retrieved from Accessed on March 10, 2019