Why printed books are better than e-books

Lifestyle | 14 Apr |

In the 2000s we saw the arrival of the tablet and along with that came e-readers such as the iPad and Kindles.  The developers of these devices hoped and claimed it would revolutionize how consumers enjoy their favorite novels and books, and for many people, it has and will continue to do so, but latest figures now show that the e-books bubble might have burst.   These recent figures showed a decline in e-book sales, while traditional book sales remained steady with a slight increase. 

The reason for that trend is open to speculation, however, the growth in cheap book printing options has led to many authors opting to revert to publishing in traditional print over e-books.  This would have led to an increased availability of printed books but doesn’t totally explain the decline in e-book sales. 

To explore why we might have seen a return by readers to traditional books we are going to look at the top eight reasons why printed books are better than e-books.

More Enjoyable for Reader

On a printed book you have nice soft pages, making it an enjoyable experience reading a printed book. An e-book is more clinical and can feel like using an ATM. Most of us now work on computers, the last thing we want to go home and do is stare at another screen with writing on it.

Better for Keeping Up with the Plot

A study by the Guardian found that readers could recall information conveyed to them in a printed book far better than those reading the exact same book on an e-reader.  This meant that the readers of traditional books were enjoying the book more as they were keeping up with the plots and twists of the story. 

Longer Life

On the face of it, you might look at your tablet and think that looks sturdier and less likely to be damaged than your paper book, however, is that really the case.  How many people’s iPad’s or Kindle’s last much beyond five years, let alone ten years, no matter how well you look after it?  A book you purchased, on the other hand, is yours for life.  In twenty years’ time you will be able to pick up a book you purchased today and read it, will the gadgets in twenty years still be compatible with the format of your e-book today, unlikely!

A book is a Memory

Each time you read a book you invest your time and energy into that novel or story, which creates enjoyable memories.  Picking up that beat-up copy of “Of Mice and Men” might take you back to English class at school.  Or there is that tour book stained with wine that sits on your bookshelf bought during your gap year journey around Europe.  Whatever, each books’ own memory to you is, they have one, where is a tablet is that, just a tablet.

Enjoying Books as a Community

Traditional printed books are great for sharing.  When we finish a story, if we have enjoyed it we want to tell our friends “You’ve got to read this”.  With a print book, you can share it with them by simply handing them the book to read.  However, to share an e-book you must navigate a digital minefield of protections and agreements, and once you have done that it comes across with all the warmth of sending an email.

Fairer for Writers

It is a little-known fact, but printed books are usually a lot fairer to the writer.  According to the Author’s Guild publishers will award a much lower percentage of royalties on an e-book compared to print books.  The lower percentage given to authors will make it much more difficult for them to earn a living or write a follow-up book.  So, the simple way to support authors you like is by buying a book over an e-book.

Better for your Health

Studies have shown that print books are much better for your health than e-books.  There are several reasons for this, but the main two are as follows.  The e-reader which your e-book is on omits a light which has been proven to severally impact on sleep if read late at night.  The second reason it is better for your mental health to read a physical book over an e-book as the feeling of achievement and satisfaction is greater when completing a physical book over an e-book.

Theft Resistant

This might seem a strange one but is certainly true, physical books are theft prove.  If you leave a book in the front seat of your car or unattended in a public place, it is almost certainly going to be there when you get back.  This is probably not going to be the case if you tried the same thing with your iPad or Kindle.   

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