Let’s Talk…On ‘Real’ Books vs. EBooks

Posted June 22, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 31 Comments

Click here to see Let’s Talk!

I’m so excited that Melissa at i swim for oceans likes discussion posts because sometimes I get chatty and have things to say. What’s up, Melissa?? Let’s Talk. 

This week’s question:

Do you prefer ‘real’ books or
books on your e-reader? Why?

Melissa! Excellent question! 

At first, I was a die-hard print book hold-out. One of those I PLEDGE TO READ THE PRINTED WORD types. We all know them! I didn’t want an e-reader, didn’t have any use for one, and wouldn’t even learn the difference between the Nook, Kindle, or whatever else was out there. I didn’t, at the time, get any print ARCs and didn’t own that many books, either. So it was basically me and my library. Best buds. BFF.

Sometimes I can be so stubborn! 

Last August, I got a Kindle for a gift.

Let me tell you the ways: 

  1. NetGalley, Baby! ARCs on the go. ARCs for those that do not get print ARCs. ARCs like Christmas-time, seriously. Okay, I’m being melodramatic, but having an e-reader makes book blogging much easier if you are one of the bloggers that chooses to read advanced review copies. If you are not, this does not really apply to you, AND THAT IS OKAY. (Before my Kindle, I was reading NetGalley books on my laptop.)
  2. No glare screen. This makes it easy as pie to read outside. I can read by the ocean without worrying about the wind blowing the pages or getting the cover of the book wet or sandy. (Sidenote: I Asheley-proof my Kindle and put it in a ziploc bag anywhere near the sand and water because I am the most accident prone person EVER. Works perfectly, I can still read through it, and still NO GLARE. I just look a little silly. Who cares.) 
  3. I can run on the treadmill & read one-handed. No turning the pages! It’s totally safer! I don’t have one of those awesome book/magazine shelf-things on my treadmill here at home. So whatever I read while I’m running, I have to HOLD IN MY HAND. I run with my Kindle in my left hand, click to turn the page with my left thumb, and run like the wind while holding on with my right hand. It’s a beautiful thing, you guys. It really is. Changed my life. 
  4. My Kindle fits easily into whatever bag I’m carrying. If it doesn’t, I have a nifty little Patagonia case with handles that I carry that thing around in like it’s part of me. It’s like another limb. It goes everywhere with me. I LOVE my Kindle. 
  5. Book delivery time: seconds. I don’t spend that much money buying books on the Kindle, but when I want a book – either buying it, checking it out from the library, or by NetGalley – seriously, a few clicks and I have it a few seconds later. There is no getting in my car, spending money on gas, spending time, or anything like that. Talk about ease…
This is just a few reasons why my Kindle is my sidekick. My BFF. I love that thing. And I think he loves me. 


There are a few things that I love INTENSELY
about a printed book. 

Let me tell you a couple of them: 
  1. I am extremely visual. I love to look at the cover of the book. When I’m reading a beautiful book (like Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Jodi Meadows’ Incarnate, Lauren DeStefano’s Wither or Fever) I will read a few pages, then close the book and look at the cover, feel it, then open the book and start reading again. This process repeats itself throughout the entire reading of the book. I want to see underneath the dust jacket if it has pretty pictures underneath it (like Beth Revis’ Across the Universe). If there is texture like John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back, I want to feel that. An e-reader affords me none of those simple luxuries. 
  2. I want to feel the pages with my fingertips as I’m reading & turning them. I want to see my progress as my bookmark moves backward with each page that I read. With my Kindle, the progress bar and percentage is nice, but it holds nothing against a good old-fashioned page number and bookmark. 
  3. I want to share and trade my books with my in-real-life friends (that I actually trust – it’s a very small circle). I pass books to two girls that I love with all of my heart. I can do that with print copies or print ARCs. They get as excited as I do when we can share a book, and really – isn’t that half the fun of reading a book? Sharing it with someone else? An e-reader only allows lending if the publisher has allowed it, which is not-very-often in reality, and truthfully, not all of our friends have e-readers. This is the best thing to me about print copies and why I actually prefer them over ebooks if it is a book that I know my two best reading friends will enjoy. 
To tell the truth, I have reasons – good reasons – to love both kinds of books. They’re all valid, to me. Everyone is different. I love the books on my shelf and I love the books on my Kindle. I love them all for different reasons. 

If I had my way and the world was perfect, I would choose to have print copies of all of the books I had, and I’d check out books from the library on my Kindle and use it also for NetGalley ARCs. There are plenty of books to read in that way. But it doesn’t get a lot better than the happy, warm fuzzy feeling that I get when I sit down with my real bookish friends and we pass books back and forth, talk about them, and have coffee! 


What about all of you? 

Do you prefer print copies of books for reading?
Or do you prefer ebooks to read on a Kindle, Nook, etc? 

Let’s Talk about this! 


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


31 responses to “Let’s Talk…On ‘Real’ Books vs. EBooks

  1. I agree with pretty much everything you said, asheley, although I find it hard to read on the treadmill without losing my place, getting sick, or the mess of getting all my man sweat on stuff. ha Apparently, you's a pro. More power to ya. Keep rockin. Great post!


  2. I snickered out loud at the mental picture of you reading on the beach with your Kindle in a ziplock! That's a great idea, BTW! I pretty much agree with you on all points. I read on my iPad (which I love) but sometimes I just want to read an actual book. Plus I'm weird and love the smell of new books. My husband tells me it's just the chemicals in the ink off-gasing (similar to new car smell) but I don't care, there is nothing like it 🙂
    Truly Bookish

  3. I'm with you on this one, Asheley 🙂 I think there are definite pros and cons to both sides. I love my NOOK, and I can read on my iPad, too, and there's a definite convenience there when traveling. However, there's something so amazing about holding a book in my hands. I don't know which I'd choose, but if I could ONLY have one or the other, I'd have to go printed :)))

  4. I'm the same as you Asheley. I bought a Kindle a few months back and it was the BEST investment I have made in a long, long time. And the ziploc baggie at the beach idea is great, thanks!

    BUT, I would never give up on print books. I like how pretty they are all lined up in my bookcases, I like holding them, I like looking at the cover, I like the different fonts and typefaces, and let's not forget MAPS! Good golly how I love a pretty map in a book. I think they should be mandatory in any work of fantasy! So in the end, I am and will always be a sucker for a printed book:)

  5. I love your answer! It's absolutely perfect, down to the reasons why you like one over the other. I personally prefer print books, but I do love the eReader's convenience 🙂

  6. I agree with you on all of your points but there's one thing I would add: I prefer seeing my reading progress on a physical book rather than looking at percentages. B/c 15% of a chunkster is a lot of pages vs. 15% of a slim novel…you know what I mean?

    • Yes I know exactly what you mean. I meant that up in there somewhere but maybe it didn't translate very well. I do prefer the progress in the physical book as well. I like seeing my bookmark move backward as I read!

  7. I agree with just about everything you said. I LOVE printed books but also love the convenience of ebooks, plus they tend to be cheaper! For books or series that I LOVE, I get books in print. If I'm trying something out or don't know whether or not I will like it, I go for the ebook. Of course, I've bought ebooks that I ended up absolutely loving and now want the print version so I get to buy the book twice… 🙂 Oh well!

    • Lauren, you're right, the ebooks do tend to be cheaper. And you know, occasionally some of the books are only available in ebooks if you a person who doesn't mind reading indie or self-published books, or sometimes they're available sooner in ebook form.

      With the Chaos Walking books by Patrick Ness, I have those in both forms (and in audio, I'm a dork, I know) because I really love them. So I totally understand that point!

  8. As said by everyone – great answers! Though I still can't visualize how you could possibly run while holding your kindle. How can you focus on running and reading without falling off the machine? Could you make a video of yourself and post it? What if I said PLEASE? I do audio books while running, but I can only manage reading while on an elliptical. And you can't be that clumsy if you can accomplish this feat. Though your kindle in a bag idea is EXCELLENT, and I might just try that out at the beach tomorrow.

    I switch between my Kindle, iPhone Kindle app and books as well! Though my big thing about reading is that I like to go back through my favorite passages on ones I love. That is difficult to do on my kindle, because I remember where things are in the book visually (I was halfway through or it was near the end etc), so percentages do nothing for me. I think I need an iPad, because it's actually easier for me to flip back through a book on my phone. I like the scroll bar on the iPhone kindle app.

    And I love what you said about sharing. I'll buy a book and then will pass it to my mom and sisters, and then close friends. I feel so much better about a book purchase if I can pass it around and get other people to love it too.

    • Oh a video would be WAY too comical for the world to see! No way! 🙂

      If I'm reading a book on the treadmill, I'll actually run longer/farther, because I'll run for…just one more chapter or just one more page, until I'm literally about to fall over and my legs can't handle it. I love it. I do audiobooks when I'm cleaning the house or driving my car, but I can't do them when I'm running. If I'm running outside, I listen to music – I try to run the length of an album at least, so I just randomly pick an album I want to listen to or occasionally I'll throw on a playlist. But I can't run outside with books or my Kindle. It's a very delicate operation, this running while reading. HA!

      I have a notebook where I like to write down quotes, and I also have those sticky tabs that sometimes I keep in books that I know I'll read over and over. Marking quotes on the Kindle does nothing for me. I'll do it, but I very rarely go back and read them. So I just write them in a notebook. But I LOVE to go back and flip through and read them from time to time.

      And there is not much better in the world than sharing books and talking about them.

  9. Excellent points. I don't have an eReader, just because I really can't justify the expense yet. I get the majority of my books from the library, and don't do ARCs – but the ease of traveling with books on an eReader is a major factor in me thinking about getting one.

    • I totally understand what you're saying Tanya. I got my Kindle as a gift, but I am very hardheaded about justifying purchases for myself, so we may be very much alike in that regard. Before I had the Kindle I either read on my computer or I used the Kindle app on my phone, which I actually loved and found to work really well.

      And I love checking out books from a nearby library on the Kindle (you can read them on the Kindle app too). And it does make traveling wonderful, even just a road trip. 🙂

  10. I love printed books. Being able to feel the book in my hands feels really GREAT! And having a physical book makes it a lot easier to re-read certain portions of the book without clicking like crazy on a device. The only bad thing about this is storage space. Yeah, I think I need a new bookshelf soon. When it comes to this, ebooks are better. Both pros and cons for each type of books. I definitely prefer printed books though.

    • Oh yes! Storage space, what a great point! Because my bookshelves are basically full of books and I can't keep adding bookshelves to my house. It will break my heart to have to get rid of some books soon. (Granted, I don't have a ton of them, but it will still break my heart.) Excellent point. You can fit a bazillion million thousand books no an ereader!

      Still, there is no substitute for holding the book in your hand!

  11. Ah, this was really interesting. I guess I'm one of those "I pledge to read the written words" people. While I do read often on my Mom's Kindle, it hurts my eyes every now and then and I believe my screen is too small since it's a bit older. I like having a book in my hands that gets worn down with use. It shows that it is well loved. I recently joined netgalley and I'm having a bit of trouble with it as well. While I do love the unlimited storage space on a Kindle, I'd rather just stack an entire bookshelf and the space around it with books. I can't read my kindle at night, and what better way to fall asleep then to read a book until you're fully relaxed?

    • Hey Lili! All of your points are completely valid and really great. NetGalley is wonderful but not always formatted perfectly for Kindle – it's just one of those things I've had to settle for sometimes when I read those uncorrected egalleys, kind of like the early uncorrected ARCs. I know what you mean about it being hard on your eyes, too. I have one of the smaller Kindles and I like to alternate between a 'real' book and an ebook. Also it would be nice if the screen was backlit but I think that would take away from the No Glare, which I really love.

      Always pros and cons. Still love those print books, though.

  12. I've thought about going to ebooks, I really have, but I just can't do it. I'm too tactile. I can't tell you how many times being able to visualize where a line was on a page saved my butt, and I ADORE covers (I do an entire meme called Cover Love, after all).

    Ebooks are simpler and lighter and cheaper for the consumer. I get that and certainly don't mind it when people prefer to buy the ebook instead. But I personally just can't make the leap.

    Though, believe me, not being able to force myself onto NetGalley kills me sometimes.

    • I completely understand this and I support it wholeheartedly. I held out for such a long time, I really did.

      Honestly, if you WANT to read NetGalley, you can do it without an ereader. You can do it on a smartphone or on your computer. I've done it both ways. Not trying to convince you to go on there, just saying you don't have to have a Kindle/Nook to do it.

      You're right, book covers are incredible. I've loved doing this contemporary event that I'm doing, but I'm excited about being able to start visiting blogs again in July. I've missed being able to see everyone's posts, including cover love and all of the other great ones out there.

    • Absolutely! I'm totally with you on that. I'm working on a library right now. It's tiny, though. But I love it! I have a ton more books on the Kindle though, I won't lie. It's convenient, that thing!

      But AS YOU KNOW, I love sharing the books and I can't do that as easily with the Kindle. <3

  13. I love both — print and ebooks for different reasons, which I think you cover pretty well yourself. I too often stop to take breaks to look at the cover.

    Also. I am incredibly impressed at your ability to run and read your kindle at the same time. I would fall off if that was me (heyoooo audiobooks).

    Also. I saw above that you have Chaos Walking in both print and ebook and wanted to say ME TOO. I don't think i can handle audiobook though. I am still traumatized by Knife.

  14. I have the SAME views of the Kindle as you do! I LOVE reading ARCS on them, from NetGalley, from authors, etc. BuT, we CANNOT share them with our friends!
    Another thing. We CANNOT have a contest on our blogs to give the ARCS away, either! HUGE BUMMER!!! I hate that!!!
    Pro's and con's!!!
    We just have to decide on each and every book.
    One other thing "I" have to contend with. I am disabled and cannot drive. I have to rely on a wheelchair that "I" cannot push, either. If I do, I get muscle spasms. So, the ebook is SOOO much easier for 'me' to get! Most of my books, even New Releases DO end up being Kindle books because of this problem. I just 'can't go' to the bookstore any time "I" want to go. If I wait for my hubby, which is the ONLY person who would take me, I would NEVER get books unless it is from Amazon!!!
    Anyway, in this aspect, I LOVE my Kindle!
    Friends, sorry, but unless YOU take ME to the store, I can't share them!
    What really ticked me off one time was I bought these friends ebooks. ALLLL they had to do was download the APP! Did they? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The books have been sitting there since last NOVEMBER!!!!! I finally called and fought with Kindle to give me my money back! I told them it was LAST NOVEMBER!!!!! They have TOLD me they are NOT going to download the books, too! HOW RUDE, huh??? UGH!
    Well, I am NOT buying them book-books, either, now!! LOL!!!
    The APP from Amazon is BEAUTIFUL!!! It has the pearl ink for the computer, too! I used it before I had a Kindle! So . . . that was just RUDE that they didn't download them. They gave me excuses that they were too busy! Yeah, right!!!
    Anyway, I agree with you wholeheartedly!
    Laurie Carlson
    laurieisreading at gmail dot com

Leave a Reply

Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.