Physical Books vs. eBooks - Pros and Cons

Saturday, August 15, 2015
Hey everyone!  Today I'd like to share some pros and cons when reading physical books and eBooks.  I am a girl who loves being able to turn the pages of a book and just hold a copy of a book in my hands.  I feel like that is the general feeling of many bookworms, however I find that I do occassionally jump between reading the physical and eBook formats.  I always prefer the physical book, but depending on the e-reader (Kindle, Nook, iPhone, etc.), I can read at a much slower or quicker pace than a physical book.  For instance, when I had a Kindle (it broke and I never replaced it), my reading productivity dropped significantly compared to reading a physical book, but I just finished reading a book on my iBooks app on my phone yesterday, and found myself unable to pull my eyes away from the eBook.


1. Night Reading

eBook Pro: Something about reading on my phone makes it seem like a smaller deal if I stay up late reading it.  It seems to happen a lot when I'm reading books on my phone, whether actually published on iBooks/Kindle/etc. or even on a website like Wattpad.  I guess what I'm saying is that since my phone is so small, the "pages" of the eBook are smaller, so I always make excuses to read "just one more chapter" (which always leads to me pretty much finishing the book).  And as an added bonus, it's easier to sneakily read books late at night when it's way past my bedtime if I'm on my phone.

Physical Book Con: Having all the lights in my room on or trying to read discreetly with a flashlight under the sheets is a pain.  You'll either be caught or extremely uncomfortable.  I prefer not to be trapped and all claustrophobic under the sheets trying to juggle a book and a flashlight.

2. Travel

eBook Pro: You can travel with dozens upon dozens (or hundreds upon hundreds, if you prefer) books at once without breaking your back.

Physical Book Con: I often do hurt my back from all the books I try to carry while on vacation.  I just want to read, and expect to read more than I actually do.


eBook Pro: You don't have to worry about damaging your book and dog-earing the pages if you have no bookmark in sight -- the program often saves your place for you, or you can digitally dog-ear the page and then un-dog-ear it without harming the "page".

Physical Book Con: The fear of forgetting a bookmark and having to either use some random other inanimate object to mark your page (an unused tissue, a pencil/pen, etc.) or *gasp* dog-earing the page.


1. Feelings and Appearance

eBook Con: Physical books are more comforting and relaxing than a piece of technology.  eBooks are so… flat.  You can't experience them the way you can a physical book.  An eBook is all just one texture, and you can't admire it as much as a physical book.

Physical Book Pro: You can cuddle with a physical book, and are less likely to drop it on your face if you're reading while lying down.  Or apparently some people like to caress book covers (that can be all sorts of lovely textures: glossy and smooth, soft, etc.), strip hardcovers of their dust jackets and admire their inner beauty, turn the pages with their own hands instead of with a click of a button or swipe of a finger… even smell it if you're into that kind of thing. If you're into any of those things, cool.  I won't judge.  And the covers are usually so much prettier in real life than on a screen!

2. Font Size

eBook Con: Squinting.  Reading from a tiny phone screen is absolutely horrendous and can really hurt the eyes.  I know it hurts mine.  And I know that you can usually adjust the size of the text, but then there's only like, what? A paragraph per "page"? No thanks.

Physical Book Pro: For the most part, physical books' text are big enough to read without getting a headache.


eBook Con/Physical Book Pro: Although it is nice to not have to worry about forgetting a bookmark (as noted earlier), it's also really fun to collect bookmarks.  Bookmarks are so fun -- they can be all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, etc. and just express who you are.  There are tons of amazing bookmarks that show fandom pride or just have a quote that speaks to you on them.

4. Reading Sad Books (okay, this one might be a bit of a joke, but I thought I'd include it anyway)

eBook Con: If you're reading a sad book you can't ugly cry without worrying about damaging the technology you are holding in your hands.  (If a book is sad enough, my tears will flow like a waterfall and my phone may be in danger.  Maybe.  Probably not, but you get the idea.)

Physical Book Pro (sort of, not really): Obviously it is bad to drench book pages in tears too, but the water stains adds character and show that the book has been loved.

What are your thoughts on reading physical books vs. eBooks?  Are there any pros or cons to reading a certain format that stand out to you?  Which format do you prefer?


  1. I'm in such a monogamous relationship with physical books, it's not even funny. For me, the biggest con of e-books is my uncontrollable tendency to skim. Thanks to social media, my brain has been trained to read quickly on any kind of screen - I hate it, but I can't help it. I completely understand the appeal of e-books though, especially for travel. Sometimes I'll pack eight books into my suitcase and think, "Yeah, it would be nice if I could read e-books."

    1. I totally understand where you're coming from! For me, I don't think it has to do with social media skimming as much, but for some reason when I read on an ereader I get bored so much more easily and everything just drags on forever. And I totally agree with the whole packing 8 books thing. I'm notorious for packing way too many books for trips. Thanks for sharing you thoughts, Emily! :)

  2. Ohh this is a hard choice but even though I do love reading a book as a PDF on my tablet, I would have to say that Physical Books are the choice for me because I love the feeling of the book in my hands and plus I can bring it to school to read! xD P.s. You've got a new reader and I have nominated you for the Blogging Recognition Award ;)

    1. Thanks, Cindy! I totally agree with you that it's easier to read in public (whether it is school or elsewhere). I feel like people think I'm just a rude girl on my phone all the time if I read on my phone, but when you have a physical book, they're just like, "Oh she's just a bookworm. I can respect that." (Or something like that.) Thanks for the nomination too :)

  3. Awesome post! I totally agree with you on all of these! Even though an e-reader is definitely more convenient a lot of the time, it will never replace a real book for me. But yes, at night and while traveling or commuting, it's much easier to read from my Kindle than to drag around a bunch of books. However, there's always that fear of your e-reader running out of memory at a really dramatic moment, because that is the worst! xD

    1. Thanks, Brittany! I totally agree in terms of the convenience of eBooks, but I completely forgot about the dreaded battery drains and the limited storage. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas! :D

  4. Could not agree more -- they each have definite pros and cons (Brittany is right -- my Kindle battery always runs out during the most exciting part) but I'm happy that I can read both ways and have a choice.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Thanks, Jen! I totally agree that it's nice to have a choice. Different formats just work better for different situations...

  5. I absolutely loved your last one - so hilarious! I'll try not drench my books or ruin my electronics. (Totally agree with you about all of your pros and cons, by the way.)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction