Digital Books VS. Paperbacks: The Ultimate Controversial Question

by Bia Ahmed, February 4, 2018


Freshmen year, I was having a decent conversation with an acquaintance while naturally the topic of reading was subtly brought up by me. Her eyes lit up and she started babbling on how big a Potterhead she is and how much she loves to read, Well- I was overjoyed by hearing all these facts and I saw a flash of us becoming best friends for lives in near future until this happened:

Her: “You cannot become a real bookworm unless you own a physical copy of the books you read.”

Me: (Inhales sharply) “…B-but why?”

Her: “There’s a difference between being a reader and being a book lover. It’s the ritual of reading that counts. You cannot hold the ebook in your hands. That’s why I hate ebooks.”

Me: “So you’re saying you prefer the physical copy of the book over ebooks?”

Her: “No I actually hate ebooks! they are a gimmick and are just damaging the society.”




Me: *smiles sinisterly*

Now, don’t get me wrong! I know most people do not prefer the digitalized version of books. Nothing can replace the way they smell and the feeling you get while you’re flipping through the pages of a paperback. Building your own personal collection and memories, using bookmarks to mark your favorite passages. Quietly weeping in the bathroom at night while clutching the paperback because again, The story was beautiful or throwing it *hard* on your pillow because you don’t want to damage it but at the same time you were still fuming about the ending, It is all a part of the journey you take with books throughout childhood and adding new ones to your collection.

But I definitely find it astounding that some people try to make the argument that digital books are (in any way) less robust than physical.

This is the point! One technology doesn’t replace another (Okay, yeah it does but in some cases it compliments too!).

“Books are no more threatened by Kindles than stairs by elevators.” (Stephen fry)

You won’t find me saying that one is better than the other. Both have their own advantages. Books will be there when any extreme apocalyptic event wipes out the entire internet but in that manner – books are not much safe from extreme incidents either. Look at how many books we have zero clue about existed just because they were burned to ashes by stupid Neanderthals who thought it might be a good idea to burn books just for the heck of it.

Say whatever against digital books but they had played a big part in my life molding me into a reader that I am today as I can take my reader to basically everywhere and can easily sync my device to the cloud so that I do not lose my place to where I had last left off. And in addition to that, I am provided the functionality to automatically scroll down when my hands are busy, Tap on the word to instantly know the meaning of it. Stephen King nicely puts my babbling thoughts into words in this video.

And whether I prefer digital books over the physical ones? I prefer both because to me:

“The important part is the story”.

Disclaimer: This is just my opinion and I’m inclined to agree with yours if provided with strong facts and your views on this topic, Let’s hear it then! Also, try to refrain yourself from throwing rocks at me if you’re against ebooks.

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Hola Feb 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Lol, the last line undid me! Why can’t people just let other people enjoy what they like without passing judgements! You’re growing out to be a great blogger and I immensely enjoy your posts, I hope you go big one day. Cheers!

    Bia Ahmed Feb 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Hello Hola,This comment truly made my day! Thank you for reading and leaving such a kind comment on this article. I agree some people can be a bit more judgemental than necessary but hey! It’s their loss as by doing so they pass up some great opportunities to personally know more about where a person is coming from.

Charmain Apr 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Love your sense of humour. I’m a lover of both. Folks get to judgey about other peoples lives

Sarah Bailey Apr 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

My heart loves real books, but these days I have to read digitally as I have trouble with writing on paper I’m not sure why. Plus it does take up less space.

Amber Apr 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I prefer paperbacks! I have an e-reader, but I’m not really a fan. I understand it’s more convenient, but I need real books.

Holly B Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

For me an e-book could never bring the same joy of a great new novel in hand! It’s not like I haven’t give e-books a chance either. A couple of days ago I was reading a paperback and my 15 year old commented, “Mom, you still read ACTUAL books?” Uggh! lol I will say an e-book is better than NO book though. I wouldn’t go that far. That should be a crime. lol

Shelley Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I think there is room for both. I have used both. My preference is the paper version. It’s more because I have such good memories of reading with my mom when I was little. She is the one who taught me the love of reading. However, my home would be a lot less cluttered without all the books.

    Bia Ahmed Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Aww, this is so sweet that you have such fond memories attached to books, my ami also taught me to read and brought me kid’s magazines every month that I would consume in a single day, so she had to buy me the old versions of the magazines too!

Mary Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I like both. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a book in your hand though.

johnny @ Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

What a debate this is. It’s all about convenience for me. I’m constantly travelling so I like to keep my luggage as light as possible. So I have to go with digital. Although nothing compares to the smell and feel of a book.

    Bia Ahmed Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    This is exactly what I think! It’s hard to travel when you have to carry all the paperbacks with you, what if they get damaged along the way? thanks for commenting.

Minakshi Bajpai Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I have immensely enjoyed reading the article. Lovely share.

    Bia Ahmed Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I’m glad that you liked it!

Nancy at Whispered Inspirations Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I have to be honest, I like both. It is true. I feel as though there is a time and a place for each. You’re right though, in the end all that matters is your story.

Sondra Barker Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I prefer reading real books where I can feel the pages.

Akamatra Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Try reading a hard cover while breastfeeding you little one to sleep! Not going to happen! That’s why I love ebooks so much!

    Bia Ahmed Apr 12, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Yikes! Guess we have a winner. 😀

Javeria Ahmed Apr 12, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Ebooks are amazing except when the device shuts down due to low battery and someone besides you with a paperback smiles sinisterly at you. -_-

levy230902 Apr 12, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I love both digital and physical book. But digital book obviously saves more money.

toastycritic Apr 14, 2018 at 10:36 pm

As a librarian and book lover, I believe you should have access to books the way you want to have them. That being said, I do prefer physical copies of the book. I think that digital copies have a limited market because of what they are. They seem to be hitting a peak. Whether this is a result of the population they serve or not is hard to say. If their is a slow but steady increase we will know the aging population could only accept them so much. If they have already hit their peak that’s different. The only thing I say about digital information is that it’s part of a larger issue. There have been studies about the way people consume information. We consume information digitally in a much different way. As a result we begin to read things differently. This ultimately affects the way we read larger materials. And it’s been shown that it decreases out ability to consume larger materials over time. Maybe the study is an outlier or we haven’t had a long enough time to study the complete affects. This is the concern I have about digital books.

PaulaMS Apr 16, 2018 at 10:36 pm

A good story is a good story whether it is digital or on paper. I prefer digital simply because of the ease of reading and holding since I have problems with the grip in my hand from a shattered wrist years ago.


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