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Which is Better: eBooks or Real Books?

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Published March 26th 2012
In 2000, Stephen King conducted an experiment. He released his short story, Riding the Bullet, online to test out this new online publishing thing. Sometime between now and then, online publishing ceased to be a novelty and these days, eBooks are just as popular as real books. But are they just as good?


EBooks have many advantages. They are available instantly, often for a fraction of the price of a real book. They take up little space. The nature of the internet means that eBooks will never go out of print, and older or less popular titles won't be packed up to make way for new ones. It's easier to download a sample chapter than it is to sneak a peek when the salesperson at your favourite bookstore isn't looking. And finally, it's harder to destroy an eBook. If you store all of your books on your e-reader, you won't ever have the horrible moment when you come home to find out your house has flooded and your precious book collection is floating all around you.

So this may pose the question why bother with real books?


First and foremost, books are blackout proof. Ever gotten to a really exciting part in your story, only to lose your internet connection or battery power? That never happens with a real book. As well, some academics argue that 'screen reading' is more about scanning the words than actually reading, so eBooks may not be as engrossing. While Stephen King's story sold more than half a million copies, in the introduction to its hard copy version, he expresses disappointment that nobody seemed that interested in the actual words.

But for me, the biggest advantage that books have over eBooks is... well, they're books. I love the feel of a book in my hand. I love to curl up on the couch, something I can't really do with an e-reader. I love the smell of the pages. I love the feel of the crisp corners. I love trying to keep new books looking pristine for as long as possible, but I also love the look of my beaten up, dog eared tomes, because those are the ones I've read (and loved) the most.

But that's just me. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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eBook for me!
I love lying in bed with my Kindle. It is so much easier to hold. I don't want to carry around a number of heavy books to go a way for a few days, but I WILL bring my eBook reader. The list goes on :-)
by Karin L. (score: 1|13) 1941 days ago
Definitely real books nothing beats curling up with one
by freed10 (score: 1|11) 1941 days ago
Yeah I agree with you, 'real books' are best.
by Vanessa de Largie (score: 3|1343) 1942 days ago
I love the smell and feel of a real book too, but for price, transport, storage and that easy availability when and where you wish to read, eBooks win hands down. If you ever accidentally destroy the reader, you just download a new copy onto the new reader...I do not find any difference in enjoyment between reading a real book or an eBook.
by CraigM (score: 1|12) 1941 days ago
Books for sure! I the smell, the feel... You just can't beat it!
by Fiona Carlotto (score: 0|6) 1942 days ago
I prefer books because you can make little notes of reference in them, give as gifts and they look good on a bookshelf.I still have my favourite books from childhood eg Golden Books, which have brought back nice memories, reading them and passing them on to my kids.
by petal3 (score: 1|10) 1940 days ago
As someone who said they would never have a Kindle, my first thought is, you're right, nothing beats a REAL book. HOWEVER, now I have one, I believe e-books have their place. They come into their own, for example, when you are on holiday, as if you are away for any length of time, you are not using up vast areas of your suitcase with books. You don't have to worry that your favourite/special books might get crushed or covered in sand (waterproof bag protects your Kindle). I think there is a place and time for BOTH.
by lyn.a (score: 0|6) 1940 days ago
Some books are altered when they are re-printed; especially cookery. It is good to have an printed original recipe book. Real books for me but ebooks have appeal too.
by speci (score: 1|14) 1937 days ago
There's a place for both but I always have my eBook with me whereas I never carry a real book. I have read many more books since owning the eBook device. Of course you can take the eBook camping and who's worried about the smell of real books when you can visualise what the author is writing.
by sandy (score: 0|4) 1941 days ago
I'm 90% eReader, 10% normal book. I love the convenience of an eReader, but you just can't take it to the beach with wet hands, sand, falling asleep and your 11 year old buries it.
by dkele (score: 0|4) 1941 days ago
Real books are the only way! I agree with everything you say. Imagine taking anything other than a real book on a camping trip or a day at the beach. Plus you can keep special books and share them with you children and grandchildren.
by jay.m (score: 1|59) 1941 days ago
Having just discovered eBooks I really luv em.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|4486) 1266 days ago
I love ebooks but the absolute worst thing about them is not being able to share them.
by Rebecca Bowyer (score: 2|231) 1323 days ago
Real books, always will be. Have tried ebooks, and it's not the same.
by samia (score: 0|4) 1940 days ago
real books
by speci (score: 1|14) 1937 days ago
prefer a book, preferably paper back, for its portability, use it on the beach, no worries about sand or a bit of water, no batteries and can easily be recycled person to person then bin
by w.k.b (score: 0|2) 1932 days ago
no more real books, newspapers, magazines ! let the TREES stand !!!!!!
by schmu1 (score: 2|171) 1932 days ago
Real books for me, although I could be biased because I work in a bookshop! There's nothing better than the smell and feel of having a book in your hands. Although, that said, having an eBook reader is a lot more practical when you're travelling and you don't want to pack heaps of books.
by Catherine Van Bergen (score: 1|96) 1917 days ago
I prefer a book but I use a Kindle for favourites that I want to always have on hand. You don't get the same experience as holding the book though.
by Ashleigh Meikle (score: 2|240) 1887 days ago
I agree that the tactile fun of holding a book will mean that I will never get sick of them. But I really like e-books too. I think it's great that we now have two options, instead of one :)
by Sue Stevenson (score: 2|569) 1617 days ago
Books preferably. I collect first editions, advance copies, etc. I'm not sure if you can have 1st ed ebooks.
by jesse (score: 0|2) 1935 days ago

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