Do you prefer print books or e-books

December 24, 2016
  • 1. Print Books
  • 2. E-books

Ah, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, a cozy blanket, and the soft glow of your reading lamp—it’s reading time. But wait, what’s that you’re holding? Is it a classic hardcover or a sleek e-reader? That’s right, we’re diving into the epic battle between print books and e-books.

The Quintessential Experience: Print Books

Nostalgia and Connection

For many, print books are like old friends; their familiar heft, texture, and even their musty smell bring a sense of comfort. “Books are uniquely portable magic,” author Stephen King has famously said. Indeed, there’s a certain magic to flipping through the pages of a tangible book.

A Feast for the Senses

Physical books engage more than just your sense of sight. Your fingers glide over the texture of the paper, your ears catch the subtle rustle of flipping pages, and your nose picks up the unique aroma of ink and paper. The sensual experience can be a large part of why people love print books.

Lifelong Companions

A hardback or paperback can be like a trophy on your bookshelf, a testament to your literary adventures. They can be handed down through generations, autographed by authors, or gifted to loved ones. In 2018, a Pew Research study found that 67% of Americans had read a print book in the past year, outpacing digital reading.

Say No to Blue Light

One of the selling points of print books is the absence of blue light, which is emitted by e-readers and other digital devices. According to the American Optometric Association, prolonged exposure to blue light could lead to digital eye strain or sleep disturbances.

The Digital Revolution: E-books

Convenience is King

In the age of smartphones and instant gratification, e-books fit right in. You can carry an entire library in your pocket or purse. “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them,” wrote author Lemony Snicket, and with e-books, you can always have hundreds with you.

Readability Factors

The ability to adjust font size, type, and background color is a significant advantage, particularly for people with vision impairments. E-readers often offer built-in features like dictionaries, highlighters, and note-taking systems.


In 2019, the International Digital Publishing Forum reported that the carbon footprint of an e-book is significantly less than that of a printed book, especially when you consider the number of books you can read on a single device.


E-books are often cheaper than their print counterparts, and there are tons of free e-books available. In fact, a survey by Goodreads noted that 52% of their users reported reading more books after switching to digital, partly due to cost savings.

The Librarian’s Perspective

Even libraries are adapting. In interviews with American librarians, many note that both formats have their merits. While print books are still more popular for long-form reading, e-books have found a niche in travel convenience and accessibility features.

In the Hands of the Young

Interestingly, a Scholastic survey found that 65% of kids aged 6-17 prefer reading print books even when e-books are available, citing reasons like the physical experience and the ability to share books with friends.

Popular Devices for Reading E-books in the United States

Whether you’re a casual reader or a digital bookworm, let’s explore some of the popular devices Americans use to get their e-reading fix.

Amazon’s Kindle Series

If you’re talking e-books, it’s impossible to ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Amazon’s Kindle. The original Kindle launched in 2007, and it quickly changed the way we think about reading. Fast forward to today, and the Kindle lineup includes several models like the Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis, and the basic Kindle. These devices are specifically designed for e-reading, offering features like E Ink displays for better visibility in sunlight, long battery life, and reduced eye strain.

“Kindle can be described as the iPod of the book world,” notes tech journalist David Pogue. Indeed, the Kindle ecosystem offers a seamless experience, complete with a gargantuan library of books available through Amazon.

Apple’s iPad

While not a dedicated e-reader, the iPad is a multi-faceted device that does a pretty good job with e-books, thanks to its Retina display and the Apple Books app. The iPad’s multitasking abilities make it a popular choice for those who want to do more than just read. Whether it’s the iPad Pro, iPad Air, or the budget-friendly iPad, Apple’s tablet line has something for every reader and budget.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook

Not to be outdone, Barnes & Noble has been in the e-reader game with its Nook devices. While they haven’t captured the market quite like Amazon, the Nook GlowLight 3 and the newer Nook GlowLight Plus have their following. They offer E Ink displays and integration with the Barnes & Noble bookstore.


If you’re looking for an alternative to the Kindle-Nook duopoly, the Kobo is worth a glance. The Kobo Forma and Kobo Libra H2O offer waterproof designs and large screens, and they support a wider variety of file formats than most other e-readers.


Let’s not forget the device you carry with you all the time—your smartphone. Apps like Kindle, Apple Books, and Google Play Books turn your phone into an e-reader in seconds. According to Pew Research, as of 2018, about one in five Americans read e-books using their smartphones; it’s a convenient option you already own.

Laptops and Desktops

Some people prefer the larger screens of laptops or desktops for their digital reading. While not as portable or comfortable as other options, these devices can be a good choice for reference books, academic texts, or interactive e-books that include multimedia elements.

To Each Their Own

So, whether you’re the type to savor the tactile thrill of turning a paper page or you cherish the convenience of tapping through chapters, the good news is there’s no wrong way to read a book in America. In the end, the love of reading is what truly matters.

Are you a dedicated page-turner or a digital aficionado? Whatever your preference, you’re in good company. The real question is, what are you going to read next?

Happy Reading!

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