Physical Books versus Digital Books

I like to buy books in paperback but I prefer to read ebooks.

This makes me feel kind of weird. I’m not part of the ‘digital books are murdering physical books’, ‘physical books are best’ camp, nor am I part of the ‘digital books are the way of the future’ ‘physical books MURDER TREES and digital books don’t’ camp.

I love both physical books and digital books.

I just love books.

There are definite pros and cons to loving each side of this debate.

Physical books


Buying books in paperback gives me that instant serotonin burst of a booklover’s happiness.

I can hold them in my hands and feel them and admire the pretties. It’s materialistic, but it’s great.

Physical books are more likely to be traditionally published, which means they go through a more thorough vetting process, since publishers mostly want to sell high quality books that will make them a profit. (I say mostly because a lot of the time authors’ books don’t break even, and the publishers make their real profit from bestsellers and smash hits… like did you know 50 Shades of Grey earned every staff member at their publishers a little cash bonus?)

I think it’s vanity, but I always feel pretty important and special when I get a physical ARC.

I love the look of my books on a bookshelf. I find the greatest room decoration is in fact books on a bookshelf. It’s ‘intellectual wallpaper’, as David Quammen said.

My friends and family can scan my bookshelves and a) learn about me as a person from my taste in books and b) borrow anything… I mean if I let people borrow books… which I don’t.


They are more expensive than ebooks.

They take up room.

They can be big and hard to wield. It’s hard to stuff five books into carry on luggage. I mean, without sacrificing other things.

Sometimes your covers won’t match, like if you buy a debut hardcover then a second novel in a series paperback, and they’re all different sizes, and sometimes publishers reissue new covers before the series is complete, and it’s just very hard and stressful for a booklover who loves the aesthetics of matching books.

Sometimes you can get t

Digital Books


Ebooks are generally cheaper than physical books.

My Kindle can hold hundreds, probably thousands of books on a device smaller, thinner, and lighter than a regular paperback.

Free ebooks! Although this can also be a con, because there are so many, and you can get overwhelmed or download a lot of crap.

Once upon a time I read ARC copies on my computer. Now I can get them sent straight to my Kindle. As a bonus, they don’t expire that way, so I am not beholder to publisher’s timelines.

I find I can read ebooks faster than paperbacks. I don’t know why this is.

Mine doesn’t but more modern ereaders have backlights, so you can read in any lighting including under the covers without using a lamp/torch. That would have been very bad for me as a child.

I can download the same ebook onto multiple devices (if I have the same account, for example I sometimes read ebooks on my phone that I started on my Kindle).


I can’t see them as easily as my physical books. Especially since I have an older Kindle, I only get titles, not covers, at a glance on my main screen. I don’t get the same happiness and satisfaction looking at books on my Kindle as I do looking at my bookshelves.

I don’t get the same fulfillment buying a digital book as I do a physical book.

My Kindle needs recharging.

If a paperback has a truly glorious cover, or it’s shiny/matte/textured, digital books often can’t show that.

A digital book collection is very private. I can’t showcase it like I can physical shelves.

What about you? Do you prefer physical books or digital books? Is it for any of the reasons I haven’t mentioned above? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below!


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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