Print or Screen? Which is “One for the Books”?!

by Jam Bufi
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We all have fond memories of the first books we fell in love with – characters we still adore and stories that has impacted our reading lives and how we see the world. But since then, the books we know and love have evolved. Electronic books or e-books have seen a rise in recent years and many have since preferred them – but many still remain loyal to paperback books. Both certainly have their own pros and cons but the long-standing debate between the two remains.

We asked book lovers across the country which they prefer – print or digital? Here were some of the comparisons made between the two.

Convenience

How can you bring with you 20 books at a time? With print books, that’s close to impossible – but not with e-books. With a tablet, kindle or even just your phone, you can bring with you a multitude of books at a time whenever you go out. Even those who usually prefer print books use e-books for the convenience. For instance, book lover Pamela, shared, “I prefer print but when traveling, electronic is the only way to go. With electronic, you can have 50 books all on your phone or tablet. You can read based on your mood.”

But print books have their own advantages. When reading, it’s easier to go back to certain pages or chapters if you’re trying to remember something. This is much harder for to do for e-books.

Longevity

The biggest (and most obvious) advantage of print books over e-books is that they never need to recharge. You can read for several hours – or even a whole day – straight without worrying about the battery dying on you in the middle of the book’s climax – basically unli battery! You can bring it with you during a road trip, a beach getaway, a plane ride, or even when camping in the mountains – you name it! You never have to worry about finding a socket to charge the device.

However, e-book devices such as Kindle that are solely dedicated to reading can also last days before it needs to recharge, since the only thing you’ll be doing in them is read. These devices can last for the duration of a week-long trip.

Wellness

How many times has our mother scolded us for staring at our phones for too long? This is one of the health problems that e-books can pose. One reader, Dani, shared, “Screens on tablets give me a headache and make my eyes feel funny after a while. Print doesn’t cause me as much trouble.” Amazon’s Kindle tried to solve this problem with the Kindle Paperwhite, which is a version of the device whose display is similar to that of a book, giving it a matte-ish finish and removing the glare, although it’s a bit pricey.

Print books on the other hand can cause back pain if you’re carrying too much due to their heavy weight. I also found that finding a comfortable reading position with print books is harder especially when lying down. Book lover, Elizabeth, shared that she prefers e-books because she likes lying on her side, which is hard to do with a print book.

Price

Book collecting can be hard on the wallet. Most are priced from Php 400-500 on average, some even nearing a thousand. This can be frustrating with all the books we want to read but cannot buy all at the same time. E-books are often 10-15% cheaper than its paperback version, thus making it a little easier to sustain a heavy book-reading lifestyle. However, e-book reading devices is also a bit pricey but it’s up to you to determine if the money you’ll be saving in the long run is worth it. Some bookstores in the country also offers memberships that allow you to score discounts on print books!

Comprehension

While some are completely fine reading e-books, some have expressed that they seem to get distracted while reading them. Avid book reader Breanne shared, “I find it harder to focus on the words on a screen compared to the words on physical paper in my hands. Almost like I absorb based on what I am holding.”

Studies actually show that print books are more effective for retaining information versus electronic books. In a journal in the Scientific American, writer Ferris Jabr says, “Turning the pages of a paper book is like leaving one footprint after another on the trail—there’s a rhythm to it and a visible record of how far one has travelled (Jabr).” When we read print books, we see our progress, we remember where certain information is placed, which makes it easier to recall information. Bookworm Pia also commented, “You can touch and see a print book, turn the pages, and if there are graphics, you can fully take them in and enjoy it.”

Lifestyle

When asked if she prefers print or e-books, reader Emma shared, “I prefer print but it takes up so much space and I move a lot. So recently I’ve been buying e-books and I’ve been reading them on my tablet. It’s been good!” Due to her lifestyle, e-books have become a more convenient alternative. But others actually consider books as their collection, so they prefer physical books that they can add to it and admire in their rooms. According to book lover, Vea, who has been reading since her teen years, “I appreciate something tangible. Also it makes me feel I accomplished so much when I see all the books I’ve finished reading.” It all really just depends whether you’re a minimalist who prefers less stuff in the house or if you love collecting books and showcasing them.

Print and e-books will always have their own pros and cons, one person preferring one over the other. Some even prefers audiobooks more than the two, a medium which is growing more popular especially to those always on the move – listening to one is basically like having another person read the book to you. But regardless of the medium, at the end of the day, the most important thing is we keep on reading. So, read on bookworms!

How do you like your books? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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