Books versus eBooks

Finally! It's finished!

eBooks hit the big time almost a decade ago, when Amazon released the Kindle in 2007. Since then, a whole host of eReaders have become available, including the Nook and Kobo. However, the debate still goes on: which is better? Print or electronic books?

To work out which comes on top, we're going to play. . .


Are you ready? Each of these reading situations is easier to get round using either Books or eBooks, and at the end we'll add up which medium is more convenient. Let's go!

#1 - Reading in bed when you're supposed to be asleep
Mum, Dad, if you're reading this. I have . . . um . . . never done this. I . . . promise?

Are they gone then? Because I do this all the time. And I have to say that the eBook wins hands down. You can get these cases with lights in, so you can hide under the covers without having to hold a torch or risk having the bedside light on. Not to mention that eBooks are much lighter than most print ones. It's basically more convenient, and you're less likely to get caught.

#2 - Reference books
By reference books, I mean the kind that don't have to be read in order. The kind you flick through or have to keep looking at the contents page. For this kind of thing, the traditional book wins every time. They're much easier for bit-by-bit, scatty reading.

#3 - Pictures!
Yes, I know you can get Kindles (and probably other eBooks) with colour screens now, but books are still better. The pictures are glossy when printed in books. You can see them in detail without having to click on them, zoom in and lose the text you were reading. Not to mention that most eBooks are still black and white, which is incredibly annoying.

#4 Bringing a book on holiday
There is only one annoying part about taking an eBook on holiday with you - the section of plane take-off when you have to turn off all devices. However, most airlines are stopping doing that now, because they've realised that they don't actually need to. At last.

Taking an eBook on holiday is absolutely brilliant. It fits in your pocket, there's no glare on the screen, and, as long as there's WiFi, you have a literally limitless supply of books. Even if you don't, it only takes a bit of foresight to download as many as you need before you set off, and then they can be accessed anytime. There's no massive debate with your parents about how many books are permitted, and it's much lighter.

Just don't. Forget. The charger. The battery might last eight weeks, but only if you remember to plug it in, which you won't with the whole holiday excitement. Not if you're like me, anyway...

#5 Lending a book to someone else
When I got my Kindle in 2011, I was really excited about the so-called 'Kindle Owner's Lending Library'. It would never replace a true library, of course, but still.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work unless you're an Amazon Prime member. And even if it did, are we really going to give up going to the library?

Books win on this one.

#6 Running out of room
We've all been in the situation where our already-creaking bookshelf refuses to take any more books. There are stacks around most of our bedrooms, and eventually, eBooks are more convenient. A Nook can hold up to 1,000 books, and that's one of the smaller memory sizes.

In short, eBooks could save you from the ever-imminent danger of bookshelf collapse. And they're cheaper than a new bookshelf.

#7 No WiFi. I repeat, no WiFi.
No-one should have to live without WiFi. This picture shows what I mean:



But, in the probably rare instance that you have to live without WiFi for a while, then an eBook isn't really going to help you. It shouldn't be true, but unfortunately. . .

#8 Being caught without a book
One of the worst bookworm problems is finishing a book unexpectedly quickly. You might be bored on a train, have nothing to read during English class, or be stuck having to talk to the people you'd brought a book to avoid in the first place.

For this, eBooks are perfect. You can buy a new book, if WiFi is available, and if not, you can dig into your stocks of unread books, or re-read an old one. That's why I always keep the complete adventures of Sherlock Holmes on my eBook just in case - they're pretty good, actually.

THE OVERALL WINNER - DRUMROLL PLEASE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Is neither, because they both scored four. I'm not being very helpful here, am I?

So, the definitive answer on which media you should use is both.

Ah, well.

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