10 Reasons Why eBooks Are Better Than Print

Updated on June 12, 2019
JenniferWilber profile image

Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.

eBooks Can be Better than Print Books
eBooks Can be Better than Print Books

The Great Debate: Print vs. Digital

Even with the rising popularity of eReaders (like Amazon Kindle) and mobile eReading apps, many readers still prefer physical print books. Though many people prefer the tactile feel of traditional printed media, eBooks do have some distinct benefits and offer versatility that print cannot. While print books aren’t going away anytime soon, there are many situations in which eBooks provide an advantage over traditional paper media.

1. eBooks Are Instant

With eBooks, you don’t even need to leave your house to buy new titles or borrow them from your local library. You can purchase them directly from a digital bookstore and download them instantly to your device. Even libraries now offer digital eBook lending, so you can instantly download titles for free without ever having to visit the library. You can acquire an entire library of new books on your eReader while still wearing your pajamas or sitting on your couch.

2. eBooks Are More Portable Than Print

Printed books, especially hardbound editions, can be very heavy, while most modern eReader devices are lightweight. It's much easier to carry an eReader containing an entire library of titles than to bring even a few physical books. If you finish reading one on your trip, it is much simpler (and cheaper!) to download a new eBook than to find a bookstore. If you have your collection synced to a cloud service, you can seamlessly switch to reading on your phone if you find yourself with extra time to kill but didn’t think to bring your eReader.

If you purchase only electronic textbooks, it will be much easier to carry them home and back to class. You can even load all of your books to the phone that you already carry with you anyway. This allows you to keep your entire library in your pocket, so your textbooks will be available to you wherever you are. This would allow you to study anytime you have a few minutes free, such as waiting in line at a coffee shop.

Unlike print books, eBooks borrowed from the library will never incur late fees.
Unlike print books, eBooks borrowed from the library will never incur late fees. | Source

3. There Are No Late Fees for Library eBooks

If you borrow a physical book from the library and forget to return it, you will be charged a late fee. Many libraries also now offer eBook loans in addition to their print book offerings. You don't have to return them by any due date—instead, their licenses will simply expire on your device. You will never be hit with a surprise late fee for digital loans. eReaders make accessing library materials easier than ever.

4. eReaders Have Built-In Dictionaries

It can be frustrating to come across a word that you don’t know while reading a print book. You either have to find a physical dictionary or pull up your phone or tablet to look it up. Most of the time, you probably don’t bother, and are just left wondering. Most modern eReaders have built-in dictionaries that allow you to look up words by tapping on any word you don’t know. The dictionary definition will appear right on the screen without you even needing to leave the app.

5. eBooks Take Up Much Less Space

Avid readers tend to collect a lot of books, which can take up too much space and make your home feel cluttered. However, even the largest collection of eBooks won’t take up much physical space in your home. It is much easier to manage a large digital library than bookshelves filled with hundred or thousands of books that you will likely never reread.

eBooks require much less space than traditional print books.
eBooks require much less space than traditional print books. | Source

6. You Can Customize Font Size and Style in eBooks

Unlike print, eBooks allow you to change the font size or even the font style. If you require large-print books, you can adjust any eBook to be readable to you, but with print, you are limited to titles that are available in large print editions. You can also usually customize the font used in eBooks if you don’t care for the default style.

7. eBooks Give You Better Access to Indie Titles

There are many independent, self-published authors who only have their work available in digital formats. Many of these titles include novellas and short stories that would be too short to publish on their own in print, but which are perfectly suited to reading digitally. Owning an eReading device gives you access to writing that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to read.

8. eReaders Can Be More Environmentally Friendly Than Print Books

It may seem strange to think than an electronic device could have less of an impact on the environment than traditional books, but eReaders can take fewer resources to create than a large number of books. Manufacturing one Kindle produces as much CO2 as producing 30 print books. Most avid readers will offset this figure in less than a year by switching to eBooks. While paper can be recycled, the paper recycling process itself can cause environmental pollution because of the sludge that is produced during the de-inking process.

You can customize the font size for eBooks.
You can customize the font size for eBooks. | Source

9. eBooks Can Be Read in the Dark

Because eReaders are backlit, you don’t need to have an external light source to read them—you can read in the dark or in low-light situations anywhere. As long as your eReader is charged, you can read in bed, during power outages, or outside in the evening without needing an external light. This allows you to read eBooks in many more situations than you can traditional print books.

10. New Releases Are Usually Cheaper as eBooks

eBooks are typically released at the same time as their print counterparts but are often cheaper to purchase. If you prefer to buy books rather than borrowing from a library or a friend, you can save some money by sticking to digital releases. This may not be true for older titles that are generally available at steep discounts from used bookstores.

eBooks can be read in low-light conditions.
eBooks can be read in low-light conditions. | Source

eBooks Are Here to Stay

There are many reasons why readers may want to give eBooks a try. They provide more versatility than print and have many advantages that make the reading experience easier and more enjoyable. It doesn’t matter how you choose to read your books. The important thing is that you keep reading!

Questions & Answers

  • What if the device that you're using the eBook on goes dead?

    If your eReader's battery dies, simply charge the device. If it becomes completely non-functional, you can replace the device and simply re-download your digital content onto the new device.

  • Who invented eBooks?

    Michael Hart, who also founded Project Gutenberg, created the first eBook in 1971 while he was a student at the University of Illinois. He typed the entire text of the Declaration of Independence onto a computer and made it available for others to download via ARPAnet. Six people downloaded his eBook version of the Declaration of Independence.

    The first automated reader, which was the precursor to the modern eReader, was invented by a school teacher named Angela Ruiz Robles in 1949 after she noticed her students lugging heavy textbooks back and forth each day. She came up with the idea of an automated reader that would be easier for children to carry to school than multiple heavy textbooks. This invention featured a smaller amount of text on spools, which were operated by compressed air. While this invention wasn't electronic, it is considered the precursor to the modern electronic book.

  • Do eBooks hurt your eyes if you read in the dark?

    Conventional wisdom says that reading in dim light can hurt your eyes, whether its a print book or a digital device. The good news is that there is little scientific evidence to support the claim that reading in low light is harmful. Our eyes are designed to work well in various light levels. You may experience eye strain or a headache as your eyes adjust to different light levels, but there is very little risk of long-term damage.

    Many electronic devices with screens, including eBooks, can cause eyestrain. This is because of glare on the screen, and the constantly changing light levels as the images on the screen change. The way most screens work, you are forced to look directly at a glare-causing light source, which can strain your eyes.

    Some eReaders, such as Kindles, use a special technology called "e-ink" which reduces eye strain and glare. These screens are easier for your eyes to adjust to, and are less likely to cause headaches or eye strain. Reading on e-ink eReaders is the same as reading a regular print book.

    I use an Amazon Fire tablet, which uses the same kind of screen technology as other tablets (not the e-ink screens). I haven't noticed any ill effects from reading on my Fire for long periods. I find it to be more comfortable than reading print books, especially in low-light conditions, since I don't need to use an external light source (such as a lamp or book light).

  • How much does an eBook cost?

    The cost of each individual eBook is set by the publisher or independent author. Some eBooks may be available for free, while others may cost the same as the print edition of the same book.

  • Is the eReader waterproof?

    Most eReaders are not waterproof, but there are waterproof cases and pouches you can use with your eReader. Amazon’s newest version of their Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, so you can take it to the beach or in a bath without needing a waterproof case.

© 2018 Jennifer Wilber

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    • profile image

      Mehnu_ 

      3 days ago

      Thanks.....it was indeed a LOT helpful!...

    • profile image

      Zak 

      9 days ago

      I don’t experience problems with the ereader that I use, and it does not use e-ink. I would also like to note that you can get many ebooks for a low price, but the better books often cost more money, and there are several instances where print copies of good books are cheaper than ebooks.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, different things mean many things o many different persons. Some like in either print or ebook.Some like both format. I will not recommend an ebook for teenagers because of dangers online. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Jordan 

      2 months ago

      I have a Kindle paperback 2018

      Its easier to focus on the text than an original book. Zooming in on the text makes chapters easier for me.

      Printed books are fine in their way. I just find Kindle more convenient

      Novels like Watership Down in book form was extremely difficult to keep focus because of how small and tight the text was but I could never give it up/away to some library.

      I keep it just in case my kindle breaks one day.

      Also reading kindle books that dont show the cover saves you in public from embarrassment, if one reads out in parks or public transport. Reading Harry Potter in school got me a tad picked on but now I can read it and no one can give a damn cuz no oen can see it on my Kindle cover.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hey, Jeff, that's good for you at the moment. Read your print books regularly. There are cheap paperbacks always in the market. Then reading will become second nature to you.

      But as you grow off age, e-books can be supplementary. That's how far I can advise you.

      At your present age, reading online can dangerous and spell a disaster, unless you are properly guided by your parents. Thank you, and wishing you the best in your print reading culture. Have a nice time.

    • profile image

      jeff 

      3 months ago

      i just think print is better than electronic and yes i'm only twelve

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Whether one like Ebook or print, both contain information for the development of the mind. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Miebakagh57 

      3 months ago

      Noted.

    • profile image

      kabuto yakushi 

      3 months ago

      thank you you are now the otokage of the sound village

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, there, every person is welcomed onboard. Good day.

    • profile image

      jeff 

      3 months ago

      thank you

    • profile image

      Kyler Wright 

      4 months ago

      Your really really cute. And thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      Lourdes 

      4 months ago

      Thanks Jennifer for the info. This will really help me out for my debate project.

    • profile image

      5 months ago

      #6 is so wrong; not all reading apps let you change the fonts and after a while, with the limited font options for those that do, all books start to look identical.

      However, I find myself striking a pretty even split between ebooks and printed books, because you're right–as long as you're reading!

    • JenniferWilber profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Wilber 

      6 months ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Some people prefer eBooks, others prefer print books. It doesn't matter which you choose as long as you're reading. :)

    • profile image

      James Mitchell 

      6 months ago

      This is marcus's brother, the reset your password link isn't always available, when it is it's always so complicated just to reclaim some pettey little ebooks. when you can just go to the library or to a bookstore to get some REAL books.

    • profile image

      victoriais 10 

      6 months ago

      your pretty but I don't like e-books

    • JenniferWilber profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Wilber 

      6 months ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Then reset your password. Every website and online service has a "forgot your password" link.

    • profile image

      marcus mitchell 

      7 months ago

      what if you forget the password?

    • JenniferWilber profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Wilber 

      7 months ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      You should be able to recover purchased eBooks from where you purchased them by signing into your account.

    • profile image

      marcus mitchell 

      7 months ago

      what if you reset your device and all of it is gone can you recover it ?

    • profile image

      Ethan 

      8 months ago

      I think the ebooks are much better than regular books and I think u can find even more reason!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      10 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello Jennifer, then you agreed that ebooks can be on a similar or parallel level with the print in some cases? Thanks.

    • JenniferWilber profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Wilber 

      10 months ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      If you lose the file because you delete it or because the device you have it downloaded to breaks, you can download it from your account again. Library eBooks can be downloaded from Overdrive or Amazon, and are linked to your library account. Purchased books are also linked to your Amazon or other eBook seller’s account. You can download them to devices linked to your account as often as you want.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      10 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello Jennifer, you do know for sure that these digital ebooks are download on a hard disc. What do you say when the disc behave unusually and the laptop breaksdown? Apart fro this, when you bought an ebook, it can be unexpectedly detected. Could the publisher allow another download? Does not this make ebooks and prints on the same level?

    • JenniferWilber profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Wilber 

      10 months ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      If you borrow a digital book and lost the file, you can just redownload it until your loan expires. You can also renew it again if there are no holds, just like with regular library books. I use the library for both print and eBooks, and the process is similar.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      10 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Jennifer, thanks for the update. But as you realized, print books will never go out of print or circulation. In spite of the advantage of ebooks, the print format has certain advantages over the electronic format. For example, if you borrowed an ebook for 2 weeks from the library, what would happen if the invitible happen and it is not backed up? There are many others besides. Thank again.

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