Before I begin to tell you why physical copies of books are better than e-books, let me ask you. Have you ever been to a library and sat amidst the un-ending, tall shelves of books? Have you ever bought a new book and immediately taken a whiff of the fresh pages? Now imagine smelling a Kindle. What does it smell like? Nothing, I bet. Printed books come in so many different shapes and sizes. You have paperback, hardcover, thick like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and skinny like the Berenstain Bears. Now imagine these on a Kindle.
E-books are bland and boring. Every page looks like every other page, feels like every other page. There is no sensory perception. Printed books give you the opportunity to feel the book before you even read it. They make reading pleasurable on a physical level. When you are reading an e-book, it feels like any other activity you would do on your laptop or a tablet. There is no sense of a break from electronics. Isn’t it exhausting to come home from work, having looked at a screen for 8 hours and then looking at a screen all over again? Wouldn’t you rather curl up in bed and hold a physical copy of a Sophie Kinsella, or Stephen King novel and just while the evening away?
Speaking of Stephen King, studies have found that readers using a Kindle were less likely to recall events in a mystery novel than people who read the same novel in print. So, if you really want to remember important details and follow the plot closely, it is recommended that you read printed books rather than e-books.
Another reason to choose printed books over e-books is for the meet-cutes. Imagine this scenario: You are walking down the DWE hallway, a few printed books tucked close to your chest, engrossed in a conversation that is making you look anywhere but ahead and you collide into someone. The books fall, the person helps you collect them and you exchange numbers. Now if those books were a Kindle, the only number you would be getting is a fake one because no one wants to pay for that damage.
And after the meet-cute, you may want to share your books. Sharing an e-book, like we all know from sharing PDFs of textbooks, comes with the warmth of a hot chocolate gone cold. It has so much more meaning when you lend someone your printed copy of your favourite book. Isn’t it so cute when you are reading a book that someone gave you and they have notes in the margins? Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can also find doodles and meaningless phrases, or even lyrics of songs that they were probably thinking about. It’s like being in the previous reader’s mind while they were reading the book! If that doesn’t excite, maybe you are meant to be an e-book reader.
With printed copies, you can take notes, highlight, write in the margins, use post-its, and dog-ear important pages. Every time someone reads a book, it becomes a different version of the original book. While e-books may give you the option to virtually do the same, it is so easily reversible that the book is never really uniquely the reader’s. And once a printed book is yours, it will be a loyal friend. You can reach for it whenever you please. Having a bad day? Reach for a book and dive into a whole new universe. Perhaps it’s an e-book you want to read, but the electronic is discharged. Guess you would have to put your bad day on hold until you find the charger and wait 2-3 hours until the device drinks some juice.
Another reason why printed books are amazing is because they are representations of all the stages of your life. There are so many of us who, once they buy a book, do no get rid of them because of the memories attached to them. I still have copies of Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot tucked away at home from my pre-teen years. It is so refreshing to sometimes skim through the books and reminisce about the school days.
Have you ever been on a subway and looked at the person reading across from you? Have you ever gotten curious about what they are reading but since they have a Kindle, you have no idea what they are reading? But when the person across from you is reading a printed book and you see the jacket, don’t you get just a little bit excited to see that they are reading the book that you love so much? In a way, you feel a little connected to that stranger. This connection, my friends, e-books cannot forge.
Studies have also shown that reading e-books before bed hinders your sleep. Staring at a bright light, such as an electronic device, before bed can make you less sleepy and the process of falling asleep slower. It is better to read a printed book under the light of a bedside lamp and to turn it off before sleeping.
While all these amazing perks of reading e-books definitely make them a better option, there is one bonus the surpasses almost everything on the list. You can take a book into the bath without having to worry about water damage.