Friday, March 23, 2018

E-book or Print Book? | My Definite Answer

The ‘e-book-or-print-book’ must have been one perpetual debate in bibliophile’s world. Many of my friends give firm answer whenever this question arises: print book. But more and more, I think, they also pick e-book from time to time. Several years ago I bought a Kindle. And being a classics-lover, naturally I loaded my Kindle with free e-books of many classics—that’s one advantage of reading classics, you can LEGALLY get free copies. But soon enough I grew weary of my old Kindle; what with the re-starts it required every now and then, and with the fast-exhausting power, that I finally left it for good. Left without e-reader, my love for print book returns; and once again I become one of the fervent advocates of “print book is always the best”.

Last month, on the occasion of Chinese New Year, Google Play Books generously granted 90% discount for its e-books. Of course I rushed to Play Books to see whether some books which have long been in my wishlist are available—and of course to compare the prices. You see, I have not opened my Play Books app for quite a long time, so I’m impressed that now they make the pages color dimmer than I used to know. I ended bought three e-books, and almost instantly started to read one of them. I confess now that I was thoroughly enjoying every bit of the reading. Not only the book itself, but the experience of reading from my smartphone! I always hate doing errands which require queuing or waiting. If I can anticipate it, I always bring a book. But sometimes it’s unpredictable, and this is where e-books saved into your smartphone would be very useful!

Actually, there are several advantages of e-book compared to print book, according to me:

1. Lighter in carrying (plus I can always switch to a lot of other books if I don’t like the current one). This also applies in bulky books that are not handy, such as this:

World Without End-print book, monstrous eh?

2. More efficient in keeping (a whole library in my palm ^^). I don’t have to kick out my favorite collection every now and then just to make place for new comers.

3. Much cheaper (especially for classics—but of course the collectible ones do not included here, ha!).

Price of Dawn of the Belle Epoque
on Play Books

The same book at Book Depository-priced twice!

4. Adjustable font size (I hate small fonts with little space!). I work full day, and mostly in front of the computer. I don’t want to restrain my eyes, but at the same time I don’t want to sacrifice either my job or my hobby to one another. For several years now my mom is suffering from eyes disorders which cause her sight to gradually declining. From this I learned how valuable my sight is, and I have to take good care of it from now on.

World Without End
in e-book
the same book - printed

5. Flexible reading in every condition of light (thanks to modern smartphone’s adaptable lights!), meaning that I don’t have to restrain my eyes on cloudy days when I cannot put off my book.

6. This is my favorite: Play Books provides SAMPLES! Especially for books which I am curious of, but still not certain, I can always download the sample and read/browse a bit before deciding to buy it. Eureka!

Considering all that, I will have two growing library, physical and digital.

Does it mean I will stop reading print books? Of course not! There are books that I absolutely need to read the printed copy. But it’s also relieving to have a second alternative which enables me to read more books.

How about you? E-book or print book? ;)


  1. Great points, and I like your comparisons! Personally, I've been moving more and more towards e-books, since starting to use my library's ebook collection. It's often much faster than waiting for a print book (no transportation needed!), and my favorite feature is how easy it is to make highlights and notes without permanently altering the book. :)

    Project Gutenberg is a gold mine of classics, too! I use an Android app called Lithium to make the Gutenberg .epub books more readable - it lets you use pages instead of infinite scrolling, plus has all the bells-and-whistles you'd want from an ereader.

    1. You're right, Marian, about the highlights and notes feature. I'm still new in this, and still getting familiar with it. One more thing: bookmark. My e-books always open on the page I previously closed. No bookmark needed, and no worry that the bookmark will slip and I will have to find the page I have closed on.

      I don't use Gutenberg very often because you need app to read it comfortably. And because it's free--I tend to appreciate an e-book more if I buy it :)

  2. Great post. I love eReaders. I personally think that traditional books are great for collecting. Thus, tend to only buy high quality books that I want to collect. When it comes to actual reading, I love so much about ebooks. The ease in acquiring them, the fact that books in the public domain are free, the ability to take notes and highlight, the ability to cut and paste quotations for my blog posts, the ability to make fonts bigger are reasons that I would hate to do without them.

    1. Ah yes, the cut-paste quotes for review is very helpful too in e-readers!


What do you think?