A Comparison between EBooks and Paperback: Does it Make a Difference?

Reading is an essential aspect of life and more people are taking it up as a hobby at any age. With that being said, the coming of the digital age brought about a variety of reading innovations along with it. Paperback books came first and seemed to be unrivalled for a while until modern technology came up with virtual books, or eBooks that people seemed to take to with unbridled enthusiasm. After all, these virtual books allowed avid readers to have as many books as they wanted and to read them however and whenever they wanted from the convenience of their portable devices. However, some people still feel a tingle of excitement when reading paperback books while others simply prefer the convenience of eBooks. The question which I often hear asked is which is better?  Will ebooks reign supreme and paperbacks go the way of the dinosaurs?  Or are ebooks simply a fad which will be extinguished before long?

Physical Comparison

The primary difference between eBooks and paperbacks comes in the physical form. Paperbacks are comprised of a collection of printed sheets of paper, put together and enclosed in a protective paperback cover. On the other hand, an eBook or electronic book is merely an electronic version of any printed book. A paperback book can be touched and felt physically as the reader uses it while eBooks can only be read electronically on compatible handheld devices or on a computer. While you may not be able to touch the pages of an eBook, you can view the content easily with eBook readers, mobile phones, tablets, laptops etc. the type of reader used is entirely up to you.

Another distinction between paperbacks and eBooks is that you cannot make alterations in printed books in relation to font and preferences. An eBook allows you to make changes through various options provided such as the font size or style. This offers a sense of flexibility in terms of the user experience when reading. You can adjust the line spacing, enlarge the text, and alter the background color to make sure you read your book in the most comfortable way. Even though you do not need any device to read a paperback book, an eBook is entirely dependent on an electronic screen for you to read it.

The primary advantage of a paperback would be the experience of reading them in its entirety; flipping the pages, touching them, the smell of a new book and having something you can feel. People love collecting paperbacks and value the idea of storing them in their personal libraries. Electronic books though, offer more storage as an option because users can store hundreds of books on a single device. EBooks eliminated the trouble that came with reading big books. It can be tiring to read one and it can wreak havoc on your back, neck, and arms but with eBook readers, this will not weigh too much and you can even read it from anywhere and in any way.


You can also find and purchase eBooks easily on the internet and begin reading them immediately after you buy them providing the reader with instant gratification. eBooks are often cheaper than paperbacks meaning you can get more of them for a reasonable price. However, buying the electronic device can require some additional costs to read them depending upon preferences. Some eBooks are published in e-reader websites while certain eBooks by specific authors are offered free on these websites. You can get popular books at an affordable price as eBooks seeing as it is cheaper to develop something virtually as opposed to investing funds on printing expenses, cover pages, and artwork. When you buy an ebook, you will most likely get it at half the price of the paperback version particularly when the printing and shipping expenses have been cut off among other costs. Another advantage of eBooks is that once you connect it to the internet, you can access a wide array of books online while this is not the case for paperbacks. There is no need for eBook users to go to bookstores or libraries as they can download books from anywhere around the world as long as they have a compatible device and an internet connection. EBooks are also delivered to the user easily and almost immediately compared to overnight shipping of paperbacks. You may even find yourself going through a number of procedures when purchasing a paperback such as online ordering and waiting for delivery not to mention paying the extra shipping and delivery fees.


EBooks require power or batteries for you to read them so when they are not available you would find yourself at a standstill until the power is restored. You need to charge the devices or purchase new batteries for the device for you to continue reading an eBook. EBook readers also offer backlight to aid you when reading in the dark by allowing you to adjust the screen brightness so you can read regardless of the lighting conditions. Paperback requires a good source of light for you to read as reading a printed book without the correct lighting can put a strain on your eyes. You can, however, begin reading a paperback immediately if it is at hand, you can flip and bookmark the pages easily. Paperbacks are very easy and straightforward to read while you need to have some basic computer knowledge for you to read an eBook. You also need to install an eBook and learn the process of how to do this. Paperbacks are free from the distractions of virtual ads, which can disrupt the reading process in eBooks. You can also make notes in a paperback as needed using pens or highlighters while you cannot do so in eBooks.  This is a huge advantage for paperbacks in my personal opinion.


Even though eBooks may not be prone to damage by physical factors, problems with software or viruses can create issues and there is a chance of losing them when these problems arise. Paperbacks, on the other hand, can succumb to physical damage like tearing or getting wet which can ruin them. However, if a paperback is stored properly on a shelf, it can last for years. Paperbacks can also be considered less fragile than eBook readers because when you drop an eBook reader it could become damaged severely.


You can easily share a paperback book with other readers or even resell it once you feel like you have exhausted it. When it comes to eBooks, most of them are not eligible to be shared because of digital rights and licensing restrictions. This circles back to one owning an eBook exclusively once they have purchased it.

All in all, it boils down to personal preference in the debate between eBooks and Paperback books.  The most important thing to take out of all of this is to go get some great books and read!  Whatever format you choose to do so.  Get out there and support our wonderful Indie authors!