Thoughts #21: Ebooks


I’ve expressed several times in the past that I much prefer reading a physical copy of a book than an ebook. I know I’m not alone on this, but I also know that some people actually prefer an ebook. Since I’m only going to have my Kindle to read from soon, I’ve been thinking about this topic quite a bit. I’m listing the pros of both, since I feel if I did a pros and cons I’d end up repeating myself!

The pros of ‘physical’ copies:
  • New book smell. Old book smell. Book smell. Whatever, I love it.
  • There’s something really satisfying about just holding an actual book. It makes me happy.
  • So many different pretty covers to choose from.
  • To me, rooms devoid of books feel wrong. When I go to people’s houses and there are no books in sight, I DON’T LIKE IT.
  • Browsing a bookshop is always exciting – even if I don’t intend to buy anything (HA.), I still love browsing.
  • People being able to see what you’re reading can open up many different conversations that might not happen otherwise.


The pros of ebooks:
  • Easy to take around with you if you’re travelling, or even if you’re just out shopping and stop for a coffee. This is especially appealing for me because some of my favourite genres are epic fantasy and science fiction – many of which are HUUUUGE volumes.
  • No-one can see what you’re reading, so if you want to read something embarrassing or if you feel people will look at your with their judgy eyes then you’re safe!
  • Ebooks are generally cheaper and there are lots of great deals, plus all the classics are free.
  • You can read in the dark! My Kindle Paperwhite has a handy backlight, which is great when we get powercuts (we get them a lot…)
  • You can browse for new books WHILST reading. Or maybe that’s a bad thing…?
  • And of course, you can carry thousands of books at once on an e-reader. Not really possible with physical copies… unless you have superhuman strength.

I don’t know what it is, but when I read an ebook I constantly find myself checking ‘Time left in book’. Even if I’m really enjoying the book and am in no hurry to finish, I keep checking. Maybe I should turn that option off… Even though I can also roughly guess how much longer I have in a physical copy, I just don’t seem as obsessive over it as with an ebook. Does anyone else get this?

What are your thoughts on ebooks vs. physical copies? What is your preferred format?

55 thoughts on “Thoughts #21: Ebooks”

  1. I prefer physical copies too!

    Back in May/June I read so many eARCs that I was suddenly in a reading slump. Once I started reading physical books again I got out of that slump. I hadn’t known before that I just missed reading a “real” book^^

    There are different reasons why I prefer print copies, lots of them the ones you mentioned. Also: I spend most of my day sitting in front of my computer, staring at a monitor. So when I’m done with work I don’t want switch one screen for another but spend some time without technology^^
    I also like to mark quotes and favorites parts with post-its way more than just using that function on my kindle. I realized that I never look up quotes or reread favorite parts on my kindle, but do it all the time with physical books.

    1. I’ve had that before when I’ve read several review copies in a row, I feel a bit ‘burnt out’ almost. But I’ll have to get used to it soon I guess…

      Yes! I mean I’m on the computer all day at work and a lot at home, out of choice of course (working on the blog, interacting with other bloggers or gaming), but it’s nice to get away from it all and just bury myself in a paper book.

      I never mark quotes in physical copies though, I’ve only ever done it on my Kindle!

  2. I think you proved something: both types of books have merit! I have a Kindle which I love, but I find I only use it for NetGalley and Edelweiss review books. When I come across a book I want to own, I always buy a physical copy. (And my husband isn’t too crazy about that idea) I think since I’ve owned my Kindle I’ve purchased maybe three books:-)

    1. I only just recently started actually buying books for my Kindle, before it was all just review copies. Now I check Amazon every day for deals, and also see if anything on my wishlist has been reduced.

      Haha, it’s just much nicer to buy the physical copies though, isn’t it? I also have a few where I have part of the series as a paperback, and then part as a Kindle copy – it still feels incomplete.

  3. You forgot to put “Going second hand book shopping with your friends” in the pros for physical books 😦

  4. I obsessively check the % left too, it’s worse because with an actual book you can see how much is left, so if there’s a decent amount I can turn off the light and go to sleep. But if it says 10% left, I think aw sure that’s nothing I’ll finish it before bed, 100 pages later I’m still reading! I find eBooks super handy for review purposes. I just can’t get into the habit of making notes, so being able to highlight and make notes on the eBook is really useful.

    1. This is true, but I’m much better at estimating how long actual pages will take me to read, rather than what the Kindle says – it’s wrong half the time anyway. That last 5% of an ebook always drags! πŸ˜›

  5. I love both very much, but here is the reason I now read ebooks mainly. I am in my late 50’s and I have glaucoma. My eyes with the help of trifocals work well for everyday things,except for 2 things that is. I can not use them to use the computer and when reading. It is not that I can not see the fonts. It is that my eyes become tired faster trying to read the small fonts that printers use today.
    Thus, I mainly use my ebook for I can adjust the font size to one that I can see without eye strain. I have checked and a lot of publishers just do not seem to put out many books in large print. So the ebook has come along and been my savior for now I can read as much as I want. Well until the battery needs charged that is.

    1. I didn’t think about being able to change the font size! That’s a plus for sure πŸ™‚ Some books I own have such a tiny font, it’s ridiculous.

  6. I’m always checking the “time left” on my ebook too. Even with Heir of Fire, which I actually didn’t WANT to end – I was like, oh, two hours left. Oh wait, now thirty minutes left. I just couldn’t stop staring at it O_O Although maybe it was more of a “I don’t want it to end why do I only have 30 minutes left??” sort of thing. It actually is pretty helpful when I’m reading a book I really don’t like and I’m trying to see if I want to put the time in it to finish.

    Eh, I still prefer physical copies.

    1. Haha, I know! Even if I like the book. I’m thinking it’s because most of the time I’m reading ARCs on my Kindle, so I want to read them quickly to move onto the next or something :/

      Me too!

  7. I’m definitely more of a fan of physical books, too, although I do read ebooks and there are definitely some benefits. I like being able to read both.

    Another benefit to physical copies is that it’s really easy to flip back a few pages is you need to check something again. It’s so hard to do that with ebooks, or at least for me it is. I know you can highlight things, but a lot of times, I’m not sure that I will need to go back and look something up, so it’s easier in a physical copy.

    And oh my gosh, I do the same thing while reading ebooks – obsessing about how much time it will take me to finish it. I don’t do that with ebooks.

    One benefit to ebooks is that even if it is 3AM and you want a certain book, you can still get in, staying in your PJs and not leaving the house. I love that! Instant gratification.

    1. Yes, I think for some books ereaders work better, like if they’re HUGE. But I mostly just prefer holding a physical copy of a book πŸ™‚

      That’s true! If I try and go back on my Kindle I end up skipping all over the place.

      It seems a lot of us obsess over it! Glad it’s not just me πŸ˜›

      You know, I didn’t think of that… sometimes you need to read that book RIGHT NOW and there it is! πŸ˜€

  8. I love both formats so it’s hard to choose! But I do get into moods when I want to flip pages, and other times I just want to use minimum effort to hold and support a book so I really like having both options. And some books I just feel better buying as ebooks – if I feel like I won’t love it enough to own.

    I know what you mean about checking how much longer it will take me to finish a book on a kindle! I love seeing my progress, but sometimes I think I would read faster if I wasn’t concerned so much with looking at it! But I can’t bring myself to not look. πŸ˜€

    1. Yeah, sometimes when I’m reading a really long book I kind of wish I had it on Kindle (or it was smaller :P) because sometimes they’re uncomfortable to hold.

      That’s a good point about the books you don’t know if you like enough to own. I actually had that recently with a contemporary YA book that everyone was talking about, and it intrigued me but I wasn’t sure about it. Then I saw it in the Kindle deals for Β£0.99, so I thought why not! πŸ˜€

  9. My least favorite part of ebooks is that mine seems like it’s never charged when I’m really in the mood to read!! And then I have to wait bc I don’t want to sit next to the outlet… and waiting really bugs me! I do like how you said no one can see what you’re reading. I’ve never really thought about that, but that is definitely a pro in my book! I hate when people are all nosey and looking at my book when I’m in public. At work it’s the worst!! People are always like “ohhhh what is that book???” And a lot of YA covers can be a little embarrassing.

    I’m with you though… I’ll always prefer REAL books!!!

    1. Haha, I haven’t had mine die on me yet, but I’m always aware of the battery level! One thing I have noticed though, is that when it’s charging it’s impossible to tell if it’s fully charged :/

      I think people are more likely to bug you about what you’re reading if they can actually see it. I guess it works both ways – with a Kindle you don’t get people asking about the specific book and bugging you when you’re reading, but you might also miss out on some great conversations and making new friends, or finding out an old friend has a shared love for that book or for reading!

  10. Hi, Rinn! I really like your post.
    I’ve got a Kindle and I buy physical copies of books. I’ll always buy a physical copy if I really want the book (I can’t help it, they’re just SO PRETTY and they look lovely on the shelves), but for some books I just want to check out, I’ll buy the ebook, especially if it’s much cheaper than the physical version. If both versions cost approximately the same, however, I’ll ALWAYS buy the real deal.
    I use my kindle for e-ARC reading, of course, and for freebies. I sometimes find that I’m not as thorough when reading ebooks though – as if clicking through the book is somehow different than turning the pages.
    I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying real books, though, even if I run out of space in our appartment πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Kaja πŸ˜€

      Yes! If I really want it, it’ll be a physical copy. Unless I’m so desperate I have to read it NOW – and then I guess I can get it instantly on Kindle, but I’m always hesitant to spend normal book prices on Kindle books.

      It’s so nice being able to access all those eARCs though πŸ™‚ Easier for the publishers AND us. Win win!

  11. I love both physical books and ebooks! The only con I have about physical books, is that some of them are incredibly thick and hard to whole (Dreams of Gods and Monsters, in this case). But then on the other hand, I love turning the pages and physically seeing where I am in the book. Ebooks are great in that you can carry a lot of books, and most of them are ARCs. And I DIDN’T EVEN THINK about people not being able to judge! That’s def a good reason to keep an ebook around.

    1. Yep, I completely understand that! I have Way of Kings on my Kindle, and I’m glad I have that version rather than the paperback because it’s 1000 pages long – not easy to carry around πŸ˜‰

      Yeah, I mean I don’t read erotica or anything like that that people might judge, but I do like some younger middle grade stuff that I feel people think I’m weird for reading. But then again, I’m super paranoid πŸ˜›

  12. We are actually having this debate now in my house. We have nooks but they’ve been… let’s just say not great. So, do we switch to kindle or go back to buying physical books. I was set to get back into buying physical books and then I picked up a copy of Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Seriously thinking of buying kindles.

    1. I’ve never actually used a Nook before. What was the problem with them?

      Haha yep! Way of Kings is the biggest book I have on my Kindle, and I’m kind of glad I have the ebook version πŸ˜‰

      1. The nooks aren’t awful. The light isn’t as good, and we’ve had some problems with the batteries where we had to go back and forth with various reps before getting a replacement sent to us. I have more of a long term concern over B&N than Amazon. Someone just needs to make a dedicated e-reader that can support the nook and kindle apps.

      2. Oh how annoying! 😦 Yeah, it sucks that there’s all these different types, and some things are available on one and not the other.

  13. I prefer physical copies, but I still read ebooks pretty frequently (maybe like 20-30% of the books I read are books?). There are definitely lots of pros for either…I like your list! I think my favorite thing about ebooks would have to be their portability. I can easily just throw my Kindle in my purse and not have to worry about it, while I’d be really worried about ruining a book (unless it was a hardcover or library book) if I just chucked it in there (and there’s also the potential of it not fitting, depending on how big it is haha). But, you’re right, there’s just something special about holding a book in your hand that just cannot be replicated with an ebook!

    1. Exactly – it’s so great being able to go away for a few days and just take one little Kindle instead of several paperbacks. Plus then you don’t really need to decide what you’re going to read, you’ll always have loads of choice.

      I’ve scuffed up many a book squeezing it into my bag, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind ruining their books a little *hides* I like them to look read and well-loved! πŸ˜€

  14. I think I will always prefer physical copies over ebooks and I still don’t have an ereader. However, I do get more and more ebooks (offers from authors etc.) and reading on my laptop is just not a comfortable experience. So I’ll cave sooner or later.

    1. No, reading on a laptop is really not fun 😦 E-readers at least try to replicate paper, so it’s a more comfortable experience.

      It took me a while to cave! But I realised it was much easier to read and accept ARCs that way, plus I’m off to study abroad in a matter of weeks and it’s much easier if I just take a Kindle than a stack of books πŸ™‚

      1. Ereaders are definitely desirable when you’re travelling or studying abroad! So, I’ll have you know that I caved, and I went and bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite. I really like it! But, still, nothing beats the feeling of an actual book.

      2. Haha, did this post give you the final push you needed? πŸ˜‰ I like the Paperwhite, that’s what I have and it’s great.

  15. Love your list! I agree with missing the old/new book smell and I also find I can’t justify going into bookstores as easily now I have an E-reader.

    Despite this though I can honestly say since getting my Kindle I have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong I still buy the occasional paperback, but the first thing I noticed about my kindle was the weight, so much lighter and easier to hold! (I tend to hold books in one hand using my pinky to keep the pages apart, it really hurts after a while but I can’t stop myself doing it!!!) I also like that you can read PDFs on an E-reader, very useful for me when studying as you can download the article to your device, I can guarantee you if I read them on my computer I would get distracted by Facebook/goodreads/buzzfeed etc.

    1. That’s true, I didn’t think about that for studying! I always hated reading journals on my computer screen – I’ll definitely be making the most out of my Kindle then πŸ˜€ And like you said, less distractions!

  16. Nice post – while all of us have a preference for one or the other, I don’t understand people who think all e-reading is somehow bad. I have a few more “pros” for e-books. One, easier to turn pages when standing on the bus or train (happens to me A LOT). Easier to read laying down in bed. I love looking up unfamiliar words and highlighting passages so I can use them in reviews later. And one more, I LOVE the automatic bookmarking. I’m not a fan of paper bookmarks that just fall out or turning down page corners. The ability to read in the dark is also really helpful when you can’t sleep but you don’t want to wake your spouse up.

    Can you tell I love my Kindle?

    1. No, I don’t think people should look down on it at all. I really can see the advantages – especially for myself right now, going to uni abroad, so taking a Kindle is a great solution to not being able to take loads of books with me!

      There are so many pros to ebooks, I agree πŸ™‚ However, I can’t deny I love the feel of a physical copy of a book.

  17. I do prefer physical copies, because I love the smell and the feel, and I like displaying them on my shelf. That said, I have found that I read a lot faster on an e-reader. I’m not sure why! Maybe because I get less distracted haha. I also like being able read in the dark! And I can highlight ebooks without feeling guilty about destroying a physical copy, which is also a plus.

    …. But yeah, given the choice, I would pick physical copies every time.

    1. Being able to read in the dark is a definite bonus – I find it makes my eyes less tired than sitting by a lamp. I really need to make more use of highlighting ebooks for review purposes…

  18. I TOTALLY get what you mean about always checking the “time left to read” bar! I thought this would be a great feature when I got my Paperwhite, but I think it makes me more obsessive than anything. It is handy though, if I’m reading and want to stop soon but want to know if I have time to finish the chapter first. πŸ™‚

    1. I know, right? I don’t even know WHY I do it. Even if I’m enjoying the book.

      That’s a good point about the chapter countdown… maybe I should always have it on that, I’d probably feel more accomplished πŸ˜›

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  20. I always find myself checking time left when I read on my Kindle too. It’s right there at the bottom of the screen and impossible to ignore. But when I turn it off it drives me crazy!

    I made the switch to ereader a couple years ago out of necessity. My office looks like a used book store. The truly sad thing… we donate books on a regular basis (only keep the ones we’ll reread someday). It actually felt good to de-clutter my bedroom (that’s where the TBR pile always was).

    The thing I really miss are the covers. I’m a cover gal, and covers are not very satisfying on a Kindle Paperwhite.

    1. Exactly, you have to have some idea of how much is left in the chapter or of the book! It’s a total distraction either way πŸ˜›

      Nope, covers are not the same. Especially as the book also automatically opens on the first page. D:

  21. I can never choose because I honestly love them both! I love how convenient e-books are and most of the time, I end up getting them because they’re cheaper as well. Sometimes, if a book gets slow, I switch formats and it makes it faster for some reason!

  22. I’m warming more to e-books, but still very much in the physical copy camp. I agree completely about there being something missing if there aren’t books in a room. I have turned our spare room into a full on library, but I still have books on shelves in the living room, and even one or two in my bedroom. There is something very comforting about books being around!

    However, sometimes it’s just impossible to resist the e-book deals that come up. As you say, you can keep so many on an e-reader too! In recent months I’ve been using my Kindle Fire for Humble Bundle comic deals, and other comics – colour screen is useful. Comics are the only benefit I can see to having a Kindle Fire over a Paperwhite.

    I definitely continuously look at the “Time left” in a chapter/book – I think its because you can’t FEEL how much longer there is left – so instead of an unconscious feeling of how long is left, you have to make it conscious.

    1. Yes – right now I am seeing a MAJOR advantage in ebooks. I’ve got five paperbacks with me, but it would’ve been such a pain if I didn’t have a Kindle, as I’d definitely have to pace my reading! And I agree with that, I even feel better for having some textbooks around.

      Yes! That’s the only reason I’d probably ever buy a Kindle Fire too. I’d rather use a laptop for everything else if I need something portable.

  23. I’ve decided that I prefer to read books the first time as a physical book. I tend to engage in the story better when I have that tactile connection to the book. Thankfully, I have a great library that has almost all the books I want to read.

    Then, books I really like, I’ll buy an ebook. I really enjoy rereading ebooks because I can highlight and carry hundreds of books with me at once. And, yes!, I love being able to read in the dark.

    Then books I really love, I’ll buy a physical copy. Because I need books in my home and I love sitting down with the actual book some days.

    So, for me, there’s differs value and different purposes in the different formats.

    1. Definitely – I’ve found it difficult to concentrate on reading since I’ve been here and it’s partly because of the fact that I want to go out and do things, but I also noticed that as soon as I switched from my Kindle to a physical book I read a lot more. I’ve only got 5 proper books with me though!

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