That’s the Question: Ebooks or Paperbacks?

Filed in The Latin Lover Posted on November 10, 2011 @ 3:00 pm 20 comments
Hey Everyone!
We would like to introduce to you a brand new feature here at Book Lovers Inc (it’s still so shiny and new this will be our tryout tour *winks*). 
I am happy to present That’s the Question!
What is That’s The Question? Well we think the name speaks for itself but no feature can go without a short introduction, so here it goes: in this biweekly feature we will discuss and debate on some of the most burning questions we book lovers ponder: series or stand alone novels? ebooks or paperbacks? sad or happy endings? etc. and we very much hope you’ll join us in our discussion and share your two cents.
So for this inaugural post I would like to share with you my thoughts on a dilemma I revisit quite frequently: Ebooks or Paperbacks?

Before summer 2010 BK (=Before Kindle) if you had asked me this question I would have stared at you with the “what-an-idiotic-question-how-can-you-ask-something-so-obvious” look and replied with a firm and immediate “Paperbacks all the way”. 
Now I would ponder before answering and I’m not sure my answer would be the same. What changed? I got myself an ereader and discovered the wonderfully comfortable and easy way of reading on such a tiny device, being able to take notes, highlight passages, mark up quotes for later reviews, add tons of bookmarks, look up expressions and even browse Wikipedia when I want to explore something I read about. 
I have to confess that I am the most surprised at my complete turn around: I was very anti-ebook when they emerged. I love the feel and smell of books, the excitement of leafing through the pages, of staring at a beautiful book cover and checking out its spine, so at first I was completely against ebooks as they lacked all these important things I loved and cherished about books. But in the one year I have had my ereader and got used to reading on it the easy access, the availability and the comfort all earned brownie points.
Nowadays I read 3-4 times as many ebooks as paperbacks. After the many ebooks it is weird at first holding a paperback once again in my hand (and quite tiring on my wrist trying to keep it open with one hand), I miss the easy way of highlighting quotes (I would never write in my physical books! I use bookmark post its, but they only serve to mark the passage I can’t write notes on them and they aren’t always on hand) and the easy access to the dictionary. And I haven’t even started on how convenient it is to only take my Kindle on vacation with me and not to worry about running out of books or having to pay extra weight on the plane. It is wonderful to have thousands of books in my bag and the possibility of getting any more within seconds if I wanted to. But ebooks don’t have that wonderfully enchanting book-smell, I miss looking at the covers on my shelf (though truth be told, my romance reading sky-rocketed now that I read them on my ereader where I don’t have to hide the cheesy covers) and most of all, I can’t leaf through the novel easily to check things here and there (and there is few things worst then discovering the novel ends at 95% and the remaining 5% are previews of different books, arrgh!).
So you have it. I’m still on the fence: I think I prefer to read on my ereader for practical reasons but I still miss a few of the physical book attributes.
Do tell me, what is your take on the Ebooks vs. Paperbacks debate? 

Do you read more ebooks or physical books?

Do you have an ereader, did it change your reading ways?

Do you miss anything about ebooks when reading paperbacks or vice versa?

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • Jay November 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I read both, however, I still prefer paperbacks. There is just something about a physical book that I love.

  • Birgit November 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Funny, because just a lil' while ago I decided to cut down on eBooks (most of them are for review or free downloads, anyway) and return to the good old wood pulp and ink type of books! It's not as though I wouldn't appreciate eBooks, but I miss reading the good old fashioned way!

  • Tanya November 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I do not have an e-reader. It has been great debate about whether I will get one. I love my paperbacks. I love seeing the covers, as that of course is the first thing to draw me to the book. I love going to my local used book store hunting for titles. I am starting to notice that a lot of authors are putting out books only in e-reader forms and I honestly think if I had an e-reader I would read more. My husband thinks I should get one just so he would not have to see the piles of books around the house. So I am saying paperback book just because I have not tried an e-book yet.

  • Blodeuedd November 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Print cos I want to feel them, I want to feel comfortable around them. yes I am a klutz, accidents are prone to happen. Last I spilled a bit on a book, tiny, though, tiny tiny. I felt horrid, but you get what I mean.

    I want to re-arrange them on my shelf, look at them

  • miki November 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I dn't have an ereader so i don't know if i would love it. What i know is that ebook on my computer hurt my eyes, i get headache and i don't like that…so i print it ^^;; If i receive a ebook ( what is really rare but i won some recently) and like the story i will print it to be able to enjoy it

    I really prefer print book, i like the feeling of paper in my hands, the smell and for me a book is something "sacré", i won't throw away a book even if it was bad printed or such. I take high care of them

    so print books for me ( such as sadness a lot of international giveaway are ebooks ç_ç)


  • Sheree November 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I read differently on the Kindle than I do in paper so I still tend to read more paper books than ebooks. As for purchases, what I would pay for any ebook is vastly less than what I would pay for a paper book so there's that, too.

    There's also the inherent drawback of ebooks since "buying" the ebook only gives me the right to read the ebook (kind of like a lifetime lease): I can't lend to a friend (unless that friend also has a Kindle and then only for a limited time), can't give them away, can't donate them to the library, and can't sell them back for store credit toward new books. I rather have a paper book that I can do the above with, with a cover that I can wallpaper my room with, if I so chose.

  • Chris November 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I absolutely love reading ebooks and vastly prefer them to print books. In fact, out of the 500+ books I've read so far this year, maybe five were print.

  • Danielle West November 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I totally agree. I was not sure about ebooks at first, but the draw of not having to wait to read a book, often times saving money, and not having to hide the cover was too good to at least try. Now, I have such a hard time reading the paperbacks.
    It is nice to be able to flip throught the book to find something, but the search function is SO handy. I find myself trying to do the search on paperbacks- also the dictionary. I also cannot stand to hold the book open and it is such a pain to have to find a bookmark when I have a paperback. I read about 200 books a year now compared to my 20 PK (pre-kindle). I have the desktop apps for pretty much every ebook store, but Amazon and Kindle will forever be my biggest preference.

  • Chris November 10, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Oh! And going on vacation with an ebook reader, vs lugging a big bag of paper books! Ahhh… so much better. 🙂

  • Diane November 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I've enjoyed having an e-reader and use it quite often but I still buy more books than e-books.

  • LSUReader November 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I read both print and ebooks. I do read faster on my Kindle and it sure is easier to travel with it. But I do still love the feel of a paper book.

  • Mary November 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I’m a traditionalist and I make no excuses for it. I don’t own an ereader and have no plans on buying one. While I know my position on ebooks isn’t a popular one right now, I think in the long run ebooks will go the way of Count Chocula Cereal and only be available in limited quantities after readers start getting fed up with not having the choice of sharing, trading and selling the ebooks they’ve paid money for like they could have with traditional books.

    I like my bookshelves and the feel of real books in my hands too much to buy ebooks and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ve won a few ebooks and read them on my computer. In just the few that I’ve won and read I’ve seen that not all of them are written as well as traditional book would have been. I don’t know who to blame for that. The publisher, the author or the beta readers for not saying..Hey wait a minute this really isn’t ready to be published.

    I don’t dog ear my pages and always use a bookmark. Most times I don’t even break the spine of the book I’m reading, because I’m weird like that.

  • Aurian November 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I've bought an ereader almost two years ago, and was not happy with the thing. So in the closet it lies, and I read my ebooks on my pc. I am really sitting very comfortably doing that, and can take a peak at my email and twitter every now and then. I like reading ebooks, and yes, I hate waiting for the mailman to bring a new book, when all blogland is bursting with the review already.

    I also read lots of paperbacks, there is always one in my bag, in the bathroom for when I take a nice relaxing bath (never a new one though!, steam is bad for a book). I also buy lots of second hand books, as I am a glommer.

    But to try out new authors, I often go the ebook route. For all the authors that are on my shelves, I will keep buying paper books. I have never been ashamed of what I am reading, never have hidden the cover of my book, no matter how cheesy it is.

    I do love that out of print books are being re-released as ebook, with all the proceeds going directly to the author, as it should be.

  • Emily November 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I am a complete ebook addict and buy ebooks pretty much exclusively at this point. I also buy a lot more books now that I have a Kindle, whereas before I would either get books from the library or use Paperback Swap.

  • Bookwyrm369 November 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I'm glad I'm not the only one this has happened to 🙂 Before I got my nook last Christmas I couldn't imagine ever finding anything but a PB in my hand but now I read maybe 3 or 4 PBs a month; the majority of my reading is now on the e-reader because I can bounce easily between different genres depending on my mood.

  • JenM November 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I had an ebook reader even before the first Sony and Kindle came out. If I had my way, I would never read another paperback. Unfortunately, because of the publishers' insane ebook pricing practices, I do still have to swap for used PBs in order to keep my book budget under control. However, I find it very uncomfortable to hold PBs open and I hate not being able to adjust the font size when my eyes are tired.

    The one thing that I miss in PBs is the ability to flip through and skim a book. I find the ebook search function so clunky that I rarely use it and I miss being able to skip through the book easily.

  • draconismoi November 11, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    For Textbooks, ebooks win handsdown. The ease of searching, highlighting and note-taking can't be beat.

    For fiction….I find I still prefer paper books. Admittedly I don't have an ereader. The ebooks I read are on my computer. But I love paper books. Particularly now that I can order international editions (and their superior covers) from The Book Depository without an additional shipping charge.

  • Tamsyn November 12, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I like both and usually read paperbacks when I'm at home and ebooks when I'm outside. I have a room full of books and double-stacked them to get more space of out the shelves!:o)

  • Susan November 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I was firmly in the anti-ebook camp until someone gave me a Kindle. Boy, was I ever MAD about it, too. But my pique lasted all of about 5 minutes!

    I live in a pretty small space and am the kind of person who almost never gets rid of a book. O-o So, many of my “real” books are boxed up in a storage unit where I can’t easily get to them. Now, I can have thousand of ebooks at my fingertips, and they don’t take up any space. Which is good, because I seem to read so much faster on my Kindle.

    In addition to the space savings, I like the convenience of Kindle. Books at my fingertips anytime, anywhere. New books for instant download. Reading a series? Get them all on Kindle immediately without having to traipse around looking for (or ordering) that one missing book. Great for books that are no longer in print, but available in e-format. In addition to being fussy about the condition of used books I buy, the cost of ebooks is often much better than the paper versions.

    I have now given a number of Kindles as gifts, and the recipients say they’ve changed their lives. I gave my mother, who has vision problems and had almost given up reading, one of those big Kindle DXs and set the font size to huuuge so she can see the words easier. She’s always reading now—I can barely keep her in books!

    Don’t get me wrong, I still love and read real books. (Some books I own in both versions—just in case.) Ebooks aren’t great (yet) for some types of reads—poetry, history, art books, cookbooks and other instructional type books, anything with a lot of maps, graphs, charts, etc. IMO, real paper still works best for those.

  • Carrie#K November 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    The only eReaders I own are my iPhone kindle and a PC and I don't read books on either one of them. Give me paper every time. (Mind you, I'm one of those people who don't even like the "new" rectangle paperbacks because they feel wrong.)

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