eBooks vs. Physical Books

Book Chats, Pink in Ink

We all know that since the dawn of Kindle there’s been heated discussions between readers if eBooks or physical books are ‘better’. But both have their own merit.

Since I was a kid, I’ve had nothing but paper and ink for my reading and some of my favourite memories were of going to my local library, browsing the rows of books in all shapes and sizes with the promise of new worlds. Anyone who is of the physical-book divide will agree when I say that there is a very distinct, comforting smell and feel of holding a book, of turning the pages as you get pulled further and further in to the authors vast imagination. The comfort of holding a book, allowing you to be weighed down while your mind is flying far above our reality. A physical book feels like a little bit of ever-lasting history that is your charge to protect, hoping to share your favourite tales with future generations.

But the downside to a physical book is the amount of paper is used and the printing ink, especially when we are so determined to slow deforestation and global warming. Especially when our global population is so high, thus having a need for mass-publishing in all the different languages, all needing to be shipped in cardboard boxes to bookstores and then distributed to our front doors.

But then the first Kindle was created. With all classic and modern books of all the languages made available at a fraction of the price, thus beginning the debate. Though I am and always will be a lover of a physical book, since the beginning of 2020 (and the reminder of humans mortality,) I have been using my Kindle for reading whenever I am not home, so I can disinfect it without worrying of ruining my precious literature that I’m yet to finish and so, whenever I have a spare moment, I can still indulge in my imagination and forget the environment I’m in, since my only outings are to hospital appointments. Another plus for eBooks is that there’s no paper and no ink, which means a more eco-friendly indulgence. And it saves the problem of weight-allowance when we travel!

But, much like the physical books, an eBook has a negative. That negative being the need to charge your device which requires electricity. Since we are still not using entirely renewable energy sources, it would be naïve to assume that eBooks are ‘better’ for the world. We also have to remember the amount of chemicals that are released into our atmosphere by simply constructing a Kindle, tablet or smartphone and what happens when they break or have the latest model. There’s also the reminder of precious metals that are mined to simply make the small parts of these devices which requires more industrialisation and more pollutants.

So, in conclusion, there really is no ‘better source’ for reading. Both eBooks and physical books have their own pro’s and con’s, so this discussion will continue until the end of time because, there will always be those who want to spend the money to hold a book with pages and ink and to display it, pride of place, on their bookshelves.

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