Whether you like fiction or non-fiction, sci-fi or romance, there is a book out there for you. However, unlike twenty years ago, there are many different ways in which you can now access and read your favourite book, with a so- called ‘reading renaissance’ happening as more and more people choose to buy their books on devices such as kindles or tablets, instead of the more traditional paper-based books. Since 2012, Amazon has stated that its sales of e-books has outstripped those of the traditional books, with 114 e-books sold for every 100 traditional books. As well as this, Amazon has said that its customers are buying, on average, four times as many books when owning a kindle than when they don't, leading to the ‘reading renaissance’. However, one question that is continually debated across the globe (and one which I shall be continuing in this article) is whether the e-books are better than the traditional.
Of course there are positive and negative aspects to both of the different types of books, and personally I believe that it depends on the person as to what type they prefer. However, for the purposes of this article I shall discuss the pros and cons of both the traditional and e-books. As a kindle owner myself, I can definitely say that one of the great things is being able to store many books on one device, allowing quick and easy access to all your books, instead of having to search through an entire, possibly overflowing bookcase for the book you wanted to read. But, having said that, the supposed problem of an overflowing bookcase can for some be more appealing than seeing just titles listed on a screen. The fantastic intricate designs on book covers is most often what draws someone to a book no matter how many times ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is muttered; with a kindle or other device, the colour that draws people over is often lost with just the title written in a list instead. However, bypassing the loss of colourful book covers, there are other aspects that are positive about e-books, for example the books themselves are overall cheaper than those that are sold in book shops.
The average price for a traditional book is £7.99, whereas online a book can be bought for as little as £1.99 (depending on when the book was released and its popularity). The cheapness of the e-books attracts many people to them; however, does the cheapness of the books make up for the expensiveness of the kindle or tablet that was originally bought? The devices used to read the e-books are expensive and so this is where the traditional paper-based books have the advantage as, although you pay more, there is nothing else you have to buy in order to read it (unless you want a fancy bookmark to amuse yourself…).
Another argument for e-books is that the devices used are lighter than a ‘normal’ book, which along with being able to be read in bright sunlight or low light, means that they can be preferable to traditional books when sunbathing on holiday or in your back garden. But many people will argue that, although the e-books may be lighter, there is nothing that can beat the feeling of holding a book and the sense of comfort it can bring to people who find their escape within the fantasy worlds of books. Although an escape is still possible with e-books, I mean you still read the same words that are oriented on paper copies, the feeling of holding the book and even that weird new book or old book smell is as much part of the reading experience as the story itself to some people and those experiences are lost when reading on a tablet or kindle.
Another major argument for e-books that goes hand in hand with being able to store many books on one device, is being able to take all those many books then with you on holiday while not taking up ridiculous amounts of space within a suitcase (I’m sure at one point my suitcase was about 90% book…), and so allowing for easier and smaller packing. Nevertheless, although an owner of both a kindle and several overflowing book cases, I believe I will always love the feeling of holding a physical book more than that of a kindle, because, when the book is in your hands, no matter how bulky the book, a sense of comfort and peacefulness can be found much easier allowing the worlds of magic and adventure to creep into peoples’ imaginations that little bit faster. However, that is my personal view, I’m sure that the debate will continue among people for generations to come with continually developing arguments for and against either side, as long as people keep reading, I don’t think the world and its population really minds how.