The Books Vs eBooks Question

We love to read here at Whole People and recently a big debate broke out in the offices here.

Half of us prefer to read traditional paper-based books and half of us have gone all-in on e-readers.

All of us feel our chosen method of reading is the best – but we can’t both be right, can we?

So, we decided to line up print books and e-books and see which is truly better once and for all.

Printed Books/Paper Books Vs Ebooks: Which Is Better?

Firstly, we wanted to look at the reading experience itself and put the physical book up against the e-reader in the arena of user experience.

We wanted to know how printed books could possibly stack up against the convenience of e-books and not only did we ask around in the office about this but we cast our net far and wide and got more than 100 readers’ opinions and this is what we learned.

5 Advantges Of The Print Book

Let’s start by taking a look at printed books, what are the advantages of physical books over digital books? Our survey said…

  1. A printed book is less distracting than an e-book.
    While ebook readers bring a ton of extra functionality to the reading experience. E-books offer distracting links and interactive elements that detract from the reader’s ability to focus. A print book, on the other hand, is geared to help you concentrate.
  2. You can scrawl in the margins of traditional books.
    Sure, you can make notes on an electronic device but e-readers simply don’t allow for the same level of expression as physical books do by proving you with a margin to write in.
  3. The print edition doesn’t lend itself to skim reading.
    There’s something about using an ebook reader that allows you to easily skim over text but the way we read a paper book tends to help us better structure our approach to reading the content.
  4. The secondhand market is much, much better.
    E-book editions are just for your device, you can’t sell the same book to someone else, they have to buy their own copy. Print versions can be sold over and over again and see many homes.
  5. The smell of a book is unbeatable.
    This is an odd thing to come up but many book readers like the scent of the pages and the tactile experience of turning those pages too.

5 Advantages Of The eBook

There are some legit reasons to read ebooks too:

  1. An e-reader lets you put a whole library in your pocket.
    There’s no doubt that the publishing industry loves people with an e-reader because they can buy a lot more books without feeling weighted down by them. We like the choice this brings too.
  2. Unlike paper books, digital e-readers can come with their own lighting.
    No more struggling to deal with the dimming light or having to leave a light on by your bed. Seasoned readers say that they love the ability to light up the page.
  3. They’re lighter than old-school books.
    This can be a very big deal to avid readers who never put a book down or for those that have physical disabilities.
  4. They take up no physical shelf space.
    If you don’t have room for a library at home, then there’s a lot to be said for being able to create a library without being overwhelmed by books.
  5. You can adjust the size of the text.
    This can reduce eye strain and help those with vision issues – it’s a big deal and it means that you can read e-books in a variety of situations where the printed format simply won’t do.

The Big Issue? Which One Is More Eco-Friendly?

We are, after all, all about sustainability at WholePeople so we wanted our book report to touch on which format was better for the environment?

Sadly, the answer appears to be – “it depends”.

There is no doubt that for the light reader, you can recycle books easily and the paper versions of books take much less energy to produce and are kinder to the environment than making a digital reader.

However, for the heavy reader – the physical space used to store and transport books become a much bigger issue.

There’s also no doubt that the electronic readers for the digital form are not particularly environmentally friendly and like all electronic devices they use up resources that are not renewable and are hard to recycle.

But if you read a lot – this is still better than the huge volumes of carbon created by transporting the books in your library.

E-book sales are still lagging behind print sales.

In fact, figures show that nearly four times as many print books are sold as electronic books are!

That doesn’t mean that one format is inherently better than the other.

As we’ve seen there are good reasons to read either format and if you’re a huge consumer of books then digital is definitely the way to go. If you only read a little, go with print and be kind to the planet.

And if you’re not sure what to read then why not try some of our favorite veganism books or these sustainable fashion books? They’re available in both formats.