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?