I summarized below some of the advantages of both eBooks and Print books. And there could be many others.
For example, printed books may offer a feeling of pride or prestige when you have an impressive library in your office or studio. In the same way, being an earlier adopter of the latest e-Reader, and showing off your latest technological acquisitions may boost your self-image and impress your friends and associates. Or curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace might bring comfort and relieve stress. Or maybe you prefer the smell, feel, and texture of a hardcover book.
But what about the disadvantages of each? Well, in most cases you could just say the advantage of one would be a disadvantage of the other. But what about the impact on your health and well-being?
Eyestrain is already mentioned below; but eBooks add more screen time to your life. In an average week in 2011, for instance, we spent about 28.5 hours watching TV and 2.8 hours watching Internet TV. Add the reading of digital books to that, in addition to weekly computer work, social media, electronic games and surfing websites, and there has to be more than just eyestrain occurring.
In fact, excessive screen time has been associated with sleep problems, headaches, lack of focus and reduced social skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no media use for children younger than 18 to 24 months old. Even six-year olds and older are urged to be limited to two hours a day.
It has also been suggested that comprehension and recall increase when reading Print books as opposed to e-Books.
In one survey on why people read Print books rather than e-Books, some did it to get a break from all the screen time they experienced during the day. They found it more relaxing.
One team at the Boston Consulting Group took a full day a week free of any connectivity at all, and found more enjoyment in their work, better communication among themselves, more learning, and a better product delivered to the client.
Whether you choose to read Print books or e-Books is a matter of personal preference; but when it comes to total screen time, moderation is the best policy.
Personally I read both; but prefer Print books. Since I read so many non-fiction books, and rarely read an entire book, I find it easier to skip, skim and search out specific information from a Print book than an e-Book. I usually buy any Amazon $1.99 Kindle specials that are relevant to my areas of interest for my iPad and iPhone and laptop. Combined with the habit of downloading many of the same e-Books that I have in print, I have a portable library no matter where I travel.
Advantages of e-books
Less expensive to purchase.
Interactive, and can link to dictionary, different translations, websites, and so on.
May have advantages for those with reading disabilities or sight problems since font size, brightness, and words per line can be adjusted.
Lighter and more portable. Can carry over 1000 books in the palm of your hand.
Easier to store, locate, organize the various books.
No shipping cost involved when ordering online.
Easier to travel with books. Require less space.
Advantages of print books.
More comfortable to read, easier on the eyes.
Easier to share, trade or loan.
More visually aesthetic, great for decorating, more attractive and tactile.
Easier on the eyes, less eye strain.
Able to write notes on pages in addition to highlighting.
Make more meaningful gifts.
Greater variety of topics and genres available.
Last longer, vintage books, historical, collectibles.
Easier to flip through the pages searching for information.
Facilitate visual sticky notes to bookmark pages.
In the next blog article I will discuss the future of Print books and E-books. Are we heading for a digital world when it comes to reading or will Print books be making a comeback?