I remember when I first heard about eBooks. I thought, great lighter books, but that was quickly followed by ‘Does this mean all the bookshops will close down?’. It took me a good few years to even attempt to get into eBooks, my love for regular paper books was just too strong.
One of the most satisfying things about a book with paper pages, hardback or paperback, is the smell. My Mum calls it the ‘new book smell’ and it’s true, new books smell amazing. It’s honestly one of my favourite things. But old books also have a smell, yeah, it’s usually more musty and old and somehow filled with knowledge. I’m probably overthinking it. I have a lot of books, there are way too many still unread on my bookshelves, both in my room and back at my Mum’s house. But I don’t want to give up on them, and it’s not because they cost money, because I am weird and I feel like I’m letting the book down. I think that if you buy a book it should be read at least once.
eBooks are a different story. I like the idea of having lots of books in my pocket. Especially if one day I fancy reading something completely different to what I’m in the middle of then and there. The way that they have developed from clunky PDF kind of documents to full-on electronic books over the years has really helped their popularity. They have become more and more appealing, with page numbers and ability to change features, they have become more accessible to more people.
A big reason for eBooks’ popularity is the price. They are usually cheaper than paper books by at least a few pounds. This can make all the difference for some people when they don’t have a great income or are buying a lot of books all at once. However, the price of the reading device can outweigh this. When eBooks first became a ‘thing’ I was too young to have any income of my own and a Kindle wasn’t something I’d ask for as a Christmas present as I usually had other priorities such as a working mobile phone, or clothes. I suppose the more books you buy the more you benefit from the price difference. You can’t ‘damage’ these books either even if you break the reading device the books are usually backed up to the account you bought them on.
The cloud storage of eBooks makes them very practical too. The size of paper books in comparison also makes the electronic version seem much more practical. eBooks take up less space in your bag and in your house. Although, I quite like having an overwhelming amount of books. They have features that allow you to change the font size and style, word spacing, and the colour of the page and text. Some books even have the option for audio upgrades so you can listen and read along. This makes the books accessible to people who can’t read ‘normal’ books. However, this is not just several paragraphs of me stating the reasons why eBooks are better than paper books. So, let me give you some examples of why paper books are more practical. Now, this point is mainly for students or people who are revisiting a book for a quote, but it’s much easier to flick through a paper book in search of something than trying to remember an approximate page number or location number. The same for note purposes, if you are writing an essay or a review or something it is way easier to put the notes on slips of paper or sticky notes and tuck them into the appropriate pages, plus you can tell where they are when the book is closed. Finally, the big one in my opinion – paper books can’t run out of battery.
Now I have the Kindle app on my phone and I do buy eBooks, mainly the Kindle First books I get once a month – these are free (with Prime) and it has given me the chance to read books I wouldn’t normally pick, the one’s I’ve actually read anyway. I also sometimes buy a book on Kindle when I’m not sure of it, this is usually because the price is less; also, I don’t like getting rid of books. If I could I would keep every book I have ever owned – but then I could probably build a house out of them. A rather large issue I have with eBooks is that I forget about them. If I’m travelling and I’m bored I’ll either read a paper book I’ve brought with me for the purpose or turn to playing solitaire on my phone rather than reading on there. Although reading an eBook is easier than reading a paper book in bed; it’s good for a bit of late night reading.
Ultimately, nine times out of ten I will get the paper book over the eBook. I just prefer them. Might be the smell, or the comforting weight in my hand, or the fact that weird people don’t talk to you on the bus if you’re reading a book. I’m not sure. Though I get a stupid amount of satisfaction from organising my bookshelf, it feels brilliant.