eBooks versus Physical Books

I think that there will always be a debate among literature lovers whether eBooks or physical books are better.  People have their own personal preferences, but I have a feeling that this debate will never really be settled…which is alright.  I happen to love both physical books and eBooks.  I own a Nook, and I often find it extremely convenient.  Why?  Well, I can carry hundreds of books with me at a time, with only carry something that’s just about a pound in weight.  It comes with a light – which means I can huddle down underneath my covers and still be able to read without waking my baby brother up (who shares the room with me).  It’s easy to just click a button to turn a page.

Also (this possibly stems from laziness, but I don’t mind sharing), when I’m cuddling on the couch with a blanket in the dead of winter, I would love to have both arms under the blanket and still be able to read.  This is impossible with a regular book – you have to hold the pages open.  However, with an eBook, you can just rest the tablet against something and tuck your arms under…until you have to turn the page – but at least that’s better than having your arm out the whole time.

However, there are some things that a digital reader just can’t replace.  Such as: the weight of the book in your hand.  The feel of the pages beneath your fingers.  The ability to easily flip between the cover and the page you’re reading.  The smell of the book – I know, that sounds weird, but I happen to love the smell of books.  (Old books, particularly.)  The nostalgic feeling you get when you flip pages in a book.  The sound of the page flipping (I know there’s that feature on Kindle…but it’s just not the same).

So, I figured in this post, I’d list the pros and cons of both eBooks, and let you, the reader, decide which you would like best.  I mean, really – this is an important discussion – homeschoolers love books.  In fact, I don’t know if homeschoolers could survive without books.  Thus, this is a hot topic among a lot of homeschoolers and homeschooling parents.  Actually, especially the parents.  Haha

However, just for your information, I haven’t yet heard one person complain that they don’t like reading on an eReader – it just takes some time getting used to.  There are definite advantages to it. (Not that I’m trying to promote it or anything.  Ya know.)

Without further ado….


-Lightweight device doesn’t tire your hands as easily.  I know, you’re thinking, “I never get tired of holding a book!” But I think we all can admit, deep down, that eventually we stop reading because we want to stretch out hands.  You never have to do this with an eReader.

-Built-in light.  I know a few of the original Kindles don’t have a built-in light, so just don’t think about those for a moment.  Consider the ones that do.  Now, the main reason why I chose the Nook (technically I chose the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight – the newer Nooks have a backlight like Kindles do) was because it has a different kind of light than the Kindle.  It uses the same e-Ink theory, but the light cascades down the screen directly in front of the screen, rather than the backlight that all other electronic devices use.  What difference does this make?  It’s so much easier and way more natural on your eyes.  We all know that it’s really bad to spend hours staring at a computer or television screen because of how it is lit.  Well, the theory behind the Nook provides the reader with an illuminated screen, but in a way that is natural – it would be no different than shining a lamp on the screen – except for the fact that there aren’t any shadows.

-You can carry hundreds of books with you at once.  Think about it: You’re packing to go on a trip, and you want to take a bunch of new books with you because you know you’ll have a lot of down time for reading.  This results in a lot of extra weight, and takes up a lot of room.  With an eReader, you have all your books on one compact tablet.  The only extra thing you need is the charger.

-As mentioned earlier, you don’t even have to use your hands to hold the thing – you can just set it against something else while snuggling in blankets…or whatever it is that happens to occupy your hands at the moment.  All you need is to occasionally turn the page.


-You can’t feel the weight of the book in your hand.  I know, at least for myself, part of the joy of reading a book is feeling the weight and holding it…turning back the pages as I want, etc.  There’s just something about holding a book in your hands while reading that can’t be replaced by anything else.

-You can’t see the size of the book.  I’ve often opened a book, thinking it would only be about 300 pages at most, and was shocked to find that it was about 900 pages instead.  Now, the amount-of-pages-surprise is one that I can quickly get over, but there’s also something else.  I enjoy reading very large books – like the 800 page Brisingr by Christopher Paolini.  There’s just something about that challenge of finishing a super large book that I love.  You can’t see the size of a book when it’s an eBook.

-You can’t visually judge where you are at in the book.  I don’t know about you, but I love seeing my bookmark sticking out three-fourths of the way through a challenging book, and say to myself, “I got this.”  There’s just this sense of satisfaction in it that isn’t achieved by reading, “Page 489 out of 725.”  It’s just not the same, ya know?

-You can’t feel the pages under your fingers.  I especially miss this when I’m reading a classic, and I know that instead of reading it on a screen, I could be reading a fragile, yellowed book that just gives me this sense of awe.

-It’s difficult to flip back to the cover.  I’m one of those readers that will constantly flip back to the cover – especially if the main characters are pictured on it.  I like to look back to see what they look like while I’m reading more about their character.  That’s probably because I really like movies and I’m definitely a visual leaner.  Even so, this isn’t impossible to do on an eReader – all you have to do is digitally bookmark your page, and then hit “contents,” and go to the cover.  Still…it’s just not the same.

-You can’t smell the book.  I love the smell of old books, seriously.  I love the smell of libraries.  I love to walk in a library and see walls lined and rooms filled with books.  Which is something you don’t get with eBooks.

-You can’t find things in the “pages,” like you can in physical books.  For instance, I once found two plane tickets to Italy and Italian stamps stuffed in an old used book.  Now, that is something you for sure won’t find in an eBook!

-You can’t have a signed copy.  True, there’s this new digital signature option, but…really?  How can one really think that can truly replace the authentic signature of the author?  It’s just…not the same, and I’m pretty sure not as valuable.  Haha

-There’s just something special about buying a used book and finding annotations in margins from previous readers.  Definitely not something available to eBook readers!

So there you have it – the pros and cons of eBooks, in my opinion.  However, as I have written this, I realized that all the cons are really just nostalgia.  They’re not necessary for enjoying a book.  Most of them just give me a sense of nostalgia that I miss with reading eBooks.  Interesting, isn’t it?

So, what say you?  Ebook, or physical book?  Or both?  I’m definitely for both – there’s great things about each.


Tialla Rising is a homeschool graduate and a published author. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her amazing husband, where she enjoys reading, Netflix, writing, and more! Visit her website at http://www.tiallarising.com.

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