Books · Interests

Real books versus e-books

In my last post I did a Book related Q and A and one of the questions that I answered was: ‘Paperback, hardback or e-book?’ I answered paperback, I didn’t even need to think about it, I just knew straightaway. Anyway, that question stuck with me and got me thinking about real books versus e-books and how there are pros and cons with both. So, I thought I would write a post where I share my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of both. I hope you enjoy!

blurred book book pages literature
Photo by Caio Resende on

Real books – PROS 

The feel of a book in your hand.

There really isn’t anything like it is there? It is totally different to hold a real book and that is a feeling that I enjoy, it is part of the overall reading experience and a definite pro for me!

Colour coding in textbooks.

Ok, this one is a little random but I used both a Kindle and traditional books when I was studying, and yes, the Kindle has a function where you can highlight but, for me, it wasn’t as visually pleasing as multiple different coloured highlighters and the actual act of highlighting important information. Perhaps I was a little over the top but I liked to have a pack of highlighters and use different colours for different reasons. For example, green would represent a quote I wanted to include in an assignment and yellow would represent a section that related to another title on my reading list etc. etc.

The ‘book smell’.

Maybe this is just me, you might think I’m a little odd for this one but I love the smell of books! Primarily new books yes but any book really. They have that ‘book smell’ that I can’t really describe any better than that but yes, it’s just a great smell!

Easy to flick through.

Do you like to challenge yourself to read two chapters before bed? Or do you like to figure out how many pages you have just read in one sitting? This is easy to do with an actual book, plus the feeling of pages between your fingers is pretty good right?!


An actual book will not need charging up or run out of battery just as you get to a juicy bit!


With an actual book that you loved you can lend it out so easily to somebody else that you think will really enjoy it or if you have a book that you didn’t enjoy but you have somebody else in mind who you think would love it you can easily gift it on.

black e book reader on brown tree logs
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on

E-books: PROS


A book is a great companion to take on a trip with you but they can be heavy and take up a lot of space, particularly if you want to take two or three. With an e-book you can take a whole collection of titles and it’s lightweight and compact.


Yes an e-reader can be a pretty pricey upfront fee and this is something to consider BUT the actual titles are generally cheaper to purchase and quite often you will be able to pick up free books as well.


You can change the font size on an e-book and you can alter how bold the text is etc. This is a great way to be able to keep reading even when your eyes get tired! It’s also a brilliant way to ensure accessibility for the visually impaired.


Yes, a book shelf is beautiful and I wouldn’t give mine up BUT if you only have a small space to work with then you may prefer that you can store lots of books in one device.

Ease of purchase.

You can instantly download a new title, you don’t even need to get dressed and leave the house or wait X amount of days for it to be delivered.

books old book knowledge bookstore
Photo by Negative Space on

Real books: CONS

Light source.

As in, you need one. You can’t read a book in the dark! Of course you can’t read an e-book in darkness either but the majority of them will have built in back lights so you don’t need an external light source.

Size and weight.

Books can be bulky and/or heavy and this can be annoying, particularly if you want to take a couple on the go with you. Therefore, the size and/or weight of books can leave you limited when it comes to transportation.


If your collection is particularly large then it can be hard to figure out where to put all your books. If you do find places are they as easily accessible as an e-reader?

Ease of reading when out and about.

You need both hands for an actual book, how are you turning a page on a book and holding on when you have to stand on the bus?

person holding black e book reader
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on

E-books: CONS


What if you are out and about and your e-reader runs out of charge? Or even if you are at home and it happens, just as you have got to a good bit of your read. How annoying that you have to wait for your reader to charge before you can get stuck in again!


Are you clumsy? I am! In fact I’m really, really clumsy! I don’t have to worry if I knock an actual book as I walk past it, the biggest fear will be what if my bookmark falls out and I forget the page I was on. With an e-reader though there is a far higher risk of damage if it gets dropped!


There isn’t much that is prettier (in my opinion) than a bookshelf full of interesting covers. One lowly e-reader just doesn’t have the same aesthetic value!

The feel.

Holding an e-reader just isn’t the same as holding a real book. I can’t smell the book smell and I can’t fiddle with the pages as I read.

blue pink gray and green labeled hardbound book pile on green grass during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on

So, those are the pros and cons of actual books and e-readers that I thought of when I considered which is better. I must admit that after writing this post I am less anti my Kindle and I will dig it out after this, dust it off and use it when it is convenient. But that’s just it, I will only choose it when it is more convenient than a real book. Otherwise I will definitely stick to purchasing and reading actual paperbacks because, despite the associated cons, they will always be my preferred option!

What do you prefer? Has it changed over time? Have any of my thoughts sparked thoughts within you? Please share with me, I would love to hear!

Until the next time…Jess x

4 thoughts on “Real books versus e-books

  1. Couldn’t agree more about the pros and cons of each. I love “real” books and totally agree about the smell. I can’t walk past a book shop without going in for a good sniff! I really wish I could get more into kindle books from a space point of view. My bookshelves are heaving but I can’t bear to get rid of any of the books. Glad you mentioned that real books are more aesthetically pleasing. Some book covers and illustrations are a work of art which was designed to be seen on paper not a screen.


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