The Pros and Cons of eBooks

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Student Lifehacks
student reading an ebook

Whether you’re the kind of person who ponders on the possible setbacks of our fast-growing advancement in technology or you’re the kind who welcomes with open arms any means of making life easier with technology, the rate at which new electronic devices and machines are being produced and improved doesn’t seem likely to come to an end. And more often than not, each new advancement comes with a handful of positive aspects, as well as negative, and eBook is a perfect example.

What Is an eBook?

Even though the habit of reading remains the same, it’s the method that has evolved with time.

According to Wikipedia, an eBook is “a book publication made available in digital form.” It’s a book composed in or converted to a digital format that can be accessed on a computer screen or handheld devices like a smartphone or tablet. To put it simply, it’s an electronic book.

eBooks are beginning to change the way information is created, distributed, and viewed. In eBook stores, you can find pretty much everything that is typically found in print formats, including numbered pages, tables of contents, pictures, and layout, just like any in a print book. Given the circumstances, eBooks are convenient: they’re light, space-saving, and easy to access.

The advantages of eBooks are many (and eTextbooks are also quite cool!), but there are disadvantages as well. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the pros and cons of electronic books.

The Pros

The Pros and Cons of eBooks 1
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  • Fewer Resources: One of the biggest advantages of eBooks is that they are environment-friendly. They require no trees to create them, unlike print, thus saving our planet from the potential environmental crisis.
  • Affordability: eBooks are comparatively cheaper than paper books. This is because the cost of digitizing materials is less than the cost of publishing them. E-Books typically have prices that are 50–60% lower than their print counterparts. In most cases, paper books might not be available in your region, leaving you with no choice but to order them online, keeping in mind the costs of handling and shipping.
  • Accessibility: Information can be obtained without having to leave your comfort zone: eBook download happens right after you pay for the book or for its rent. Or there is no need to download anything; you simply access the book on the app or platform you’re using. You won’t have to ransack your local library in search of a particular book for research when you could simply search for it in the eBook store with the help of certain keywords or phrases.
  • Easy rental: eBook rental is even easier than a physical book rental—you get access to the book you need at a lower price, and you don’t need to remember when to ship it back.
  • Portability: Unlike paper books and materials, digital books only require one device (an eReader) to carry around with you. Due to its portability, you can store hundreds of books in your eBook library and carry them wherever you go.
  • Comfortability: eBooks are more flexible than paper books. For those who have trouble reading the typical book-sized font, eReaders can enlarge the font size to make reading more pleasurable and easier on the eyes. E-Books can contain multi-media elements not available with traditional books. Audio and video can be embedded to make reading a fully immersive experience.
  • eBooks provide the reader with easier methods to search for certain words or passages. You can highlight, save pages, and search for a text using certain keywords while reading or even after you’re finished.
  • Easy to create: If you’ve ever wondered how to create an eBook, you can easily do it nowadays. There are plenty of eBook templates and formats to choose from as well as various eBook creators. In other words, if you want to know how to make an eBook, you’ll find plenty of information online.

But with every advantage comes a disadvantage. Although in such a case, it might be difficult to imagine what they are, however, they exist. Here are a few.

The Cons

ebooks vs books in the digital world
Designed by palinchak / Freepik
  • Unreliability: Unlike print, eReaders have an unreliable lifespan; you can’t expect them to last forever. They might just stop working at any moment; it’s a problem that most gadgets tend to have. Paper books, if taken care of properly, could last for decades. Additionally, eReaders require battery life in order to be operated, so if you don’t charge it well enough, you might just find yourself without anything to read.
  • Piracy: Piracy is the number one concern for both publishers and authors. eBooks are more prone to piracy. It’s as easy as 1,2,3 because the books are in their digitized form. Once pirated, eBooks lose their originality and generate no income for the author. It also loses its authenticity because some pages of the pirated book might be missing.
  • Health Problems: Most eReaders come with an LCD screen, and studies show that reading for hours from such a screen could lead to certain eye problems. It can affect vision or may cause eye irritation, making it more difficult to focus while reading. Reading an eBook might also be uncomfortable because the screens of some devices are not visible in the sunlight.
  • Competition: It shouldn’t come as a shock that a fair amount of companies have entered the eBook market, each with their different gadgets, eBooks, and their formats. With the wide variety of eBook formats and eReader devices on the market, choosing which one is most suitable for you might be particularly tedious and confusing. And depending on which device you choose might mean that you won’t be able to share your eBooks with friends or close ones.

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The Pros and Cons of eBooks 2

What about Textbooks?

As for paper textbooks, the psychological effect on readers still plays its crucial role: touching, feeling, and smelling old book pages raises nostalgic ideas and brings emotional satisfaction and relief after a long, hard, tiring day. Book lovers are eager to collect books on huge shelves just to prolong their feeling that help make dreams come alive in their minds with the help of paper. In contrast, recently, books have become quite expensive to purchase, and youth prefers to spend money on modern gimmicks rather than pay attention to old-fashioned habits. Moreover, a dozen books can be quite a burden to carry as the weight of a handbag may considerably differ without books at all that influences our physical health either. What is more essential, paper textbooks are easier to spoil while combining this pleasure with more tempting ones like eating and drinking. Plus, there is an expiry date on the quality of the paper in a book.

What concerns eTextbooks, this format can’t leave us impartial to its excessive usage in the modern world due to the following factors: first, books of all genres can be easily and freely downloaded online. Second, the format of an eTextbook may be adjusted according to your needs and desires; for example, you may change the backlighting, background, or even the font size in case of any eyesight problems. Thus, it may be suitable for all people of all ages. Having downloaded a number of books, you can create your personal library and keep it in your pocket. Also, you can hide your reading preferences so that the book you’re reading won’t be discovered or identified by strangers and passers-by, while it can be easily revealed with an ordinary paper format. But we can’t rely completely on gadgets as they tend to break down at the most inappropriate moment. Modern applications may not support the preferred eBook format, and, what is more, being stuck in phones and tablets for long doesn’t improve eyesight.

The option of transitioning to eBooks may seem appealing, convenient, and highly practical, but in the end, it all comes down to personal preferences. Some people would rather enjoy the feel and smell of paper books, while others like to have their books ready at hand and digitized. It’s up to you, dear readers, to weigh the options and choose which one is suitable for you—in any case, with BooksRun, you can buy your textbooks as hard copies or as eBooks.

Iliana K