Thoughtful Thursday | Printed books vs. Digital books

One of the most frequently asked questions I see in book tags and bookish questionnaires is “Printed books or ebooks?”

Like many other readers, I’m sure, I am an advocate for both. I am a voracious consumer of books in all forms—printed, electronic and audio.  Truthfully, the main reasons I collect physical books are for aesthetic and bookstagram purposes.

I, too, relish the feeling of turning pages with my fingers. I take pleasure in the smell of new books, feeling their covers and photographing them to share with everyone. There is an extreme sense of satisfaction achieved when I complete a book and look at how thick it is. I love the sensation of actually placing a book in someone’s hands, knowing they will also leave their mark on it along with their feelings and thoughts.

But digital books have their advantages as well, the most important—in my opinion—being convenience, accessibility and the promotion of digital and media literacies. I listen to an audiobook any chance I get—while running errands, doing chores and going on walks. Whether listening to an audiobook on my phone or reading an ebook on my kindle, it’s so easy to take a book with me everywhere—as if I have no excuse to not carry around something to read with me on a daily basis. Having books in digital formats makes reading accessible to readers of all abilities. Those who don’t have the money or space to buy physical books or don’t have easy access to libraries may find solace in digital libraries. I also believe consuming books in digital formats encourages students to cultivate critical technological and media skills which will see them through the rest of their academic and professional lives.

I generally purchase or borrow hard copies of YA books for Bookstagram-related reasons, while borrowing or buying digital copies of everything else (new adult and adult). I do borrow and own a few adult books too—I’ll usually only buy them if the sale was too good to pass up.

If I had unlimited space, I’d definitely buy more physical copies of all books. But I would probably still have an e-reader and listen to audiobooks anyway.

Honestly, if I had limited space and didn’t invest myself so much in a Bookstagram account, I’d probably buy mostly (maybe even only) ebooks. I’d definitely still borrow physical books from libraries. But physical books get extremely expensive and I just don’t have room for all of them. While carrying a book in my bag is a nice feeling, an e-reader is so much more compact and lightweight. My kindle paperwhite is my baby–it fits in even my smallest bags, so I can take it everywhere. E-books are super affordable, e-readers can hold a ton of books at once and you don’t have to worry as much about random onlookers staring at you, trying to figure out what you’re reading. E-readers also often have built-in dictionaries and note-taking features.

But when it comes to reviewing books, I will always ask for a physical copy if possible. I prefer writing my notes in the margins, circling important things and tracking critical plot points. Also, what would come of my insane bookmark collection?! I’ve way too many bookmarks to count!

So what about you? Are you a strictly hard-copy reader or digital reader? Do you also read in different formats? If you could only choose one, which would you choose?


Twitter: @jasminesreading
*2018 Reading Challenge Update: 94/200


14 thoughts on “Thoughtful Thursday | Printed books vs. Digital books

  1. Hard-copy if I know I will/ or already love it already for my collection. Digital for the most comfortable reading in the bed. I’ll never write in any hard-copy though! I have no clue how you can do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They definitely both have their pros and cons! I personally prefer physical books because I don’t really like reading on a screen, but I know ebooks have great benefits too!


  3. I love both but any book that I read from the library or as an ebook that I adore, I just need to get a physical copy of. There’s just something about having a tangible copy in your hands. I do go to the library and use my library’s ebook program way more often though. It’s nicer on my wallet and the environment. Overall though, I’d say physical copies are just a lot better and easier for me to read from.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s definitely both an aesthetic and tangible satisfaction that comes with reading physical books. I think for younger readers, guiding their reading by following the words on the page with their fingers is really crucial to learning how to read independently. It’s hard to do that on a screen when the pages turn once you tap it LOL.


  4. I’m a printed books girl all the way. But my library is connected to Overdrive and if my bag is too full/too small for a book, I’ll read an eBook. I love discussions over eBooks and printed ones, great job! 🤗🤗🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m basically a strictly physical book kind of gal. Not because I think there’s anything wrong with e-books, I think they’re fantastic and it allows so many more people to have access to books, which is amazing. I just don’t find it a pleasant or comfortable reading experience, I find my eyes end up getting tired/hurting and I also end up getting distracted and losing my place more(I’m not sure why exactly) I’ve only read a couple of ebooks but they’re just not for me. I do have some on my e-reader that I may get to eventually but for now, I’ll stick to my physical copies.

    Liked by 1 person

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