Exploring Literature: Ebooks or paperback?

Photo courtesy of The Fast Fingers

Photo courtesy of The Fast Fingers

Immersed in the story, you flip another page. The calming feel of paper in your palms, the sound of paper rustling as you turn the page. Now replace the book with a blindingly bright screen. A screen that provides infinite options of distraction. Big worlds on a small screen: an ebook. 

A long-standing debate has existed amongst readers regarding whether ebooks are superior to paperback books. Both options contain a myriad of benefits and drawbacks.

Paperback books offer a unique experience by providing a sense of accomplishment as you can clearly see how much you have progressed. With a physical book, you can see the results of your efforts which provides a sense of achievement or happiness. A physical book is a very emotional object and lending them to others creates a sense of bonding and connection. Reading on paper also provides scientific benefits such as improving memory retention and focus. 

An experiment was done in Norway where people were given a short story to read in two different formats, either on a Kindle or in a paperback book. When they were quizzed about the content later on, the paperback book readers were more likely to remember the plot points in the correct order.

Although paperbacks provide an authentic experience, traveling with them creates extra baggage that may be unnecessary. 

Ebooks offer an accessible and compact way to carry books during travel. An app on your device or Kindle is much easier than transporting multiple volumes of heavy paperback books. You can carry as many books as your memory card allows with no extra weight. Additionally, ebooks provide a better option for readers who prefer to read late into the night as the screen’s brightness enables the words to be more visible in the dark. 

Though ebooks are easier to read, they nevertheless still contain all the negatives associated with staring at screens. The bright light causes eye strain as well as disturbs sleep cycles as a result of the screen’s blue light. Blue light alerts the body at night and increases the difficulty of falling asleep to gain the amount of rest the human body needs on a daily basis.

Ebooks are increasing in popularity with people who like to read on the go. On the other hand, people who are used to reading paperback books tend to stick to them for the unique experience and feeling of accomplishment they provide.

Ebook or paperback: the choice ultimately depends on each reader’s preferences.