Paperback or E-Book?

Books have always been the most faithful friends of mankind ever since the printing and publishing technology came into being. Even today, when the majority of people get all the information need by simply typing a query in the URL box of Chrome or Safari, the publishing industry is going on persistently at a stable pace if not at a growing one.

With the advent of E-Books and E-Readers, bibliophiles and book lovers all over the world have been divided into two separate groups. One made up of the ‘paperback-fanatics’ and the other consisting of the ‘e-book lovers’. Here is your guide to choosing a side.

The Cupboard Situation: –

– The first issue that any paperback-fanatic faces is that she/he is bound to run out of space to keep all the books that have been bought in a frenzy. Not to mention the fact that majority of these books have never even been opened once ever since those were bought.

– Thankfully in case of e-books, the digital copies are intangible and quite literally fit by thousands in the palm of your hand. E-books let you be the loving family member who lets others use her/his cupboard as and when needed.

The Wallet Conundrum: –

– Every paperback-fanatic is by default an obsessive shopaholic at least when she/he is in a bookstore. The urge to get as many books as possible, from as many shelves as possible. This urge often leads to spending huge amounts of hard-earned money on paperbacks that would probably sit in the already overflowing cupboard, never to be read at all.

– Although e-books do not entirely rid you of this issue, they do prevent you from burning a hole in your wallet. E-books are much cheaper as compared to paperbacks and hence buying them in large quantities would not necessarily render you broke.

That being said, it should e kept in mind that as e-books are cheaper, some of us may get an additional urge to buy even more books that we would have bought in paperbacks. That would not only leave you penniless but might also get you in a lot of debt.

The Reading Restrictions: –

– In case of paperbacks, one has to face many restrictions when it comes to reading it at a stretch. First of all, the light has to be just right. Too much light and the glare will interfere with the reading process and too less light will only make your headache in a page or two.

Further, holding huge books in your hands and going on reading them for long periods of time often leads to bad posture, owing to the weight of the book.

If you are someone who cannot read without glasses, the tiny font-size will not only irritate you but will also further damage your eyesight.

– An e-book attempts to solve all these problems as almost all of the latest e-readers are equipped with a glare-free screen, a backlight that is safe for the eyes and an option to adjust the font size.

Not to mention that despite carrying thousands of books at a time, it weighs nothing more than a large screen smart-phone.

The Physical Stimuli: –

Reading books is not just a source for information gathering or entertainment seeking. For many, it is a divine experience in itself.

The scent of a new book, the crackling noise it makes when its spine breaks for the first time, the ruffling sound of the pages when flipped ahead, the creases on the covers that are unique to the person’s style of holding a book, all of these constitute to a wholesome reading experience.

Many book-lovers have not switched to e-books yet simply because even if e-books are much better in many ways, they will never be able to give us this physical stimulus of reading which a paperback does.

It is indeed a fact that no matter how hard the makers of e-readers try to mimic a paperback, they will never be able to replicate this experience. This is where e-books seriously fall short.

The Misc. Factors: –

– The term reading is often coupled with the fiction genre only. Although, reading comes in all sorts of genres, types, kinds and methods.

Some people read for entertainment, some read to learn new things, some do so to expand their scope of information and some do it because it relaxes them.

There are also many people who make actual notes on the pages of the books that they are reading. Although this might sound weird to many, this method has been followed by some of the most voracious readers of history.

Then there are those who read to develop their vocabulary and hence they have to mark difficult words and note their definitions in the book itself.

Although doing this on a paperback is not exactly that difficult, it is relatively easier to do so with an e-book. Some latest e-readers simply let you select text and the reader does the job of highlighting it. One can add notes to the selected text or even look for definitions or references for the text on the Internet while reading the book.

– Another factor that might affect the choice between an e-book and a paperback is that paperbacks, at times, may include pictures or graphics in multiple colours and at the same time have black text wrapped around it.

In the case of e-books, a good e-reader which is made specifically for long hours of reading usually does not support colourful graphics and hence all the graphical and pictographic data in such e-books is turned into black and white form from its original colour form. This does not affect much if the literature of the book is more important than the graphics. Although, in case of comic books and graphic novels, this is a major drawback.

Keeping the topic open-ended, I would only urge you to experience the magic of reading a book with technological assistance and then make an informed choice as to Paperback or E-Book.

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