Ebooks Vs. Paper Books: The Pros and Cons

Long periods spent in front of a computer are healthy for nobody.Power. Specifically, some types of content paper books are better for are:

Textbooks (or any books which are generally large-format).Picture / Photo books.

Another factor to bear in mind is that paper books don’t need power to function. Carrying more than 2-3 around can become a chore.You need a light source to read them – another thing that you’ll probably carry around.If you make notes in them, those notes are there to stay (Yes, even pencil. If you spill <insert beverage of choice> on them, chances are that’s the end of your reader. Most readers offer zoom functions, letter resizing, and so forth.They’re easily portable. Your average laptop has 4-6 hours of battery life. Recycling only goes so far.Note-taking is much more powerful, and the notes you write can be found and referenced quickly and easily. Why lug a laptop around if you can simply carry a book?

The cons of the reader devices are a little more subtle:

You still have battery life to worry about.Nasty software bugs in the reader can cause it to freeze up.They’re not very robust. Paper Books: The Pros and Cons – 2012. You can carry multiple books on one device.They’re much more environmentally friendly.

The disadvantages of ebooks generally stem from the hardware you’re reading them on. Portability. You don’t have to kill a few trees for each book, and let’s not even talk about the ink. And they don’t have to be permanent.Lighting conditions essentially become meaningless. The text is the important thing, not the medium. Will you go for the Amazon one, and buy books (only) there? Or the Sony?The pricing model hasn’t been worked out yet, causing some major discrepancies.

. These are mentioned because they incorporate a technology called e-ink, which resembles paper very closely, and eliminates most eye-strain issues.

Some types of books especially suited for a reader are:

Novels or non-fiction books without many pictures.Web-sites with html links and cross references. The article below is still very valid.

eBooks are useless without a reader. The 2012 version gives you (as a reader) a different perspective, and a handy guide to when you should be buying an ebook reader.

The “Classic” Paper Book.

Paper books offer multiple advantages:

They’re easily obtainable (Bookstores are everywhere).They’re easily portable.They don’t normally cause significant eye-strain.They’re cheap.

Okay, that much was obvious. Reading Sumerian legends on clay tablets can feel more “authentic”, but doesn’t necessarily enhance your understanding of the subject matter – just your experience.

PLEASE NOTE: The 2012 addendum to this article you’ve all been asking for: Ebooks vs.

What Makes a Book?

In essence, the two formats are very similar. They can be read anywhere with sufficient light, and are perfect travelling companions for exactly this reason.

The obvious cons are:

Paper books are bulky and heavy. Many readers incorporate display lighting allowing you to read whenever and wherever you like. You can always see the imprints, even if you erase every last shred of graphite).

Depending on the type of material you’d like to read / look at, however, one does have advantages over the other.

The eBook

eBooks offer the following obvious advantages (assuming you have an ebook reader):

They’re easily readable. There are a few on the market, such as Amazon’s Kindle, Jinke’s Hanlin reader series, Sony’s eReader series, and a few others. Both allow you to do the most important thing – read a book. Not to mention scratches, dropping them, and so on.

In general, ebooks suffer from other cons as well:

They’re not readily available, and format wars are making the decision to buy a reader very difficult. If it’s a computer, you’ve got the normal computer problems which detract from your reading pleasure:

Eye strain and RSI

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