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eBook Reader Devices vs. Books

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/22/2010

The eBook reader devices vs. books battle is still raging with no clear winner in sight. Let's take a look into their advantages and disadvantages to see why the situation is a stalemate.

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    eBook Reader Devices

    The advent of portable and affordable eBook reader devices is making people think about abandoning traditional paper books and starting to read digital versions of books. However, in the battle of eBook reader devices vs. books, it's still not clear who is winning and who is losing. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each medium to see if there is already a clear victory.

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    Pros of eBook Reader Devices

    The most obvious advantage of using eBook reader devices is their portability. Not just of the device itself, but also of the eBooks. With an eBook reader device, you can carry around dozens, or even hundreds, of books wherever you go. You will literally have access to an entire library even when you're on the move.

    eBook reader devices also have features that let you do things to eBooks that you can't do to paper books. You can search for a particular block of text, copy and share an eBook multiple times with several people, and read eBooks even in dark places.

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    Pros of Books

    The primary advantage of old school paper books is the fact that they are familiar. For hundreds of years, we have been used to holding books. We are comfortable in marking our favorite pages or where we stopped the last time we read it. We already know where to find books. It feels natural for us to hold a book in our hands and physically flip pages.

    Paper books are perhaps turning into collectible items, and that makes them more special. They are not easily reproduced so there is an underlying feeling of rarity involved. This gives books the honor of being called "precious".

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    Cons of eBook Reader Devices

    A paper book's artistic feel is lost in eBook reader devices. Paper books were designed to be read with two pages opposite each other. We are all used to this perspective so an eBook reader that only displays one page at a time removes that factor.

    Annotation is a little harder to do on eBook reader devices than on paper books. On paper books, you can easily highlight certain pages or passages with special markers, bookmarks or even stickers. Some eBook reader devices allow you to highlight certain parts of an eBook but other annotation tools are absent. This is a real disadvantage that affects people who need to refer to parts of an eBook often.

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    Cons of Books

    Paper books are heavy and bulky. For serial readers who like to read a lot even when they are on the go, this is a definite disadvantage. They can only carry around a few books at a time as opposed to eBook reader devices that let them carry the entire libraries.

    Books need a light source. If you want to read a book without appropriate lighting, you're out of luck.

    One major disadvantage of paper books is the fact that they are easily damaged. Once it suffers a torn page or if it gets dropped in a pool of water, it most likely needs to be replaced.

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    Different people have different reasons of liking one from the other. Even if both sides debate on this for a long time, existence of individual differences is still the barrier to end this case. So far, the answer to the question of who will win the eBook reader devices vs. books battle is still up in the air.

    Which do you prefer? Do you use an eBook reader device or enjoy reading the "old fashioned" way with a paper book?