"Traditional Books vs. eBooks: Which Side Are You On?"The battle has begun. The war rages on all sides. The question is, which side are you on?

No, we aren’t talking about politics here, but heavy-duty readers and their preferences for print book versus eBooks. With a cadre of avid readers in my friendship circle, I know people who swear they will never read an eBook. Others, former printed book fans, have eschewed lugging around totes full of tomes and have opted for an reader instead.

As for me, I have bookshelves that are creaking with too many print books to count. Yet, I am reading more eBooks than print books by a ratio of 2:1. My family owns an Apple iPad Mini , Nook, and a Kindle Fire . I love being able to order a book in the wee hours of the morning, downloading it instantly, and reading it immediately. I can do that with an eBook. Not so much with a print book. And I’m a ravenous reader, usually reading five books at a time, each in various stages of progress. Yes, I want my books now, when I’m ready to read — not later.

There are pros and cons for printed books, just as there are an equal number for eBooks. Gather a room full of avid readers, and you’ll hear all of the ones I’ll list here — plus many more.

Print Book Pros


Print books have many benefits going for them. An obvious one is the tactile sensation one gets when one holds a book. The feel. The scent. The heft of the weight in your hands. You can also collect and display them proudly in your home or office, which isn’t easily done with digital books.

EBook Pros


EBooks also have a number of benefits to them. Too many to list here, of course. The main ones include cost (they’re often cheaper than print books), portability (you can carry thousands on your eReader, which is handy for travelers), and you can find a treasure trove of free books, in digital format, online through public libraries and Project Gutenberg.


As mentioned previously, eBooks also offer convenience of delivery. If you’re up at 3 a.m. with insomnia and you spy a new book on Amazon or Smashwords, you can place an order and your book will be ready for consumption in mere minutes. In today’s “want it now” society, eBooks feed that hunger for instant gratification.

If you find the smell of old book pages intoxicating, chances are you prefer print books over eBooks.

You could spend all day online reading countless articles, polls, and message boards about which is better: print books or digital books. You’ll find those firmly on the digital side, such as Andrew Couts of Digital Trends.

You’ll also find staunch advocates of the print book, such as those who described the allure of print books in an article in The New York Times .

Then you’ll find those like The Wall Street Journal‘s Nicholas Carr, who argues that print is here to stay, regardless of eBooks. His argument is supported by a Pew study that states a whopping 90 percent of eBook readers continue to read print books as well.

Recently, The Guardian reported that young adult readers prefer print books. They cited several reasons, two of which were the affordability of print books and a perceived emotional connection to printed books. Being able to sell the printed book after it was read also figured in some young readers’ preference for print books.

It’s the content you should love most — regardless of how it’s delivered.

In the end, I love books and I don’t care how the story is delivered for my eager mind and eyes to devour it. Give me a print book or an eBook, and I’ll love both of them equally. There’s something to be said for each, and there are important attributes to both. The story is what matters most.

So maybe it’s time to stop quibbling over apples and oranges (as it were) and spend more time doing what we rabid readers love best, which is immersing ourselves in tales that draw us into other worlds, with characters that become real, breathing people who reside in our psyches — sometimes temporarily, other times forever.

Print books won’t disappear, and eBooks are also here to stay. You don’t have to choose one or the other at this point; instead, keep choosing to read and to spread the love of books (however they’re delivered). That, in itself, is the thing of primary importance.

Contributor: Bev Sninchak is a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for online and print publications. She writes about many topics, including travel, business, environmental issues, and the importance of online reputation.