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Physical books have benefits, e-books do not

Published: Monday, December 2, 2013

Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 17:12

The end of the semester is finally here. The time when we have to make sure to return textbooks we rented by the due date or try to sell the textbooks back only to end up getting  a fifth of the original price.

However this may no longer be an obstacle for college students. It is no secret that more digital books are being sold. 

There are multiple benefits of e-books. They are cheaper, easier to buy because they can be downloaded in an instant without leaving the couch or even toilet. All the e-books are stored in a small device rather than carrying a bunch of books around. 

Adults then would not comment on how heavy my backpack is but I am not ready to give up on print books. 

I am not criticizing e-books, tablets or e-readers. It is uniquely convenient that they are little electronic portable libraries. 

I am just reminding people of all the great features physical books have that might be overlooked in the tech age. A lot can be done with a book than with an e-reader.

I do not like having a book I cannot physically hold in my hands. I still want to turn actual paper pages that take more than a swipe of the finger on a screen. Reading books digitally hurts my eyes. 

With a physical copy there is no way it can un-download itself. Anything can go wrong with lovely technology. That means downloading books can be troublesome. 

I will always be more excited to get a book from a bookstore or the library than on a device. Unfortunately, since I started college I think I have bought only textbooks from the bookstore.

I am slightly annoyed that I have a stack of textbooks collecting dust at home because I was not able to rent them or sell them back. I did not want to take the majority of the classes the textbooks were required for so I obviously have no desire in reading the textbooks in my spare time.

 The experience of physically possessing books I do enjoy reading is very important to me. Getting a book at a bookstore or library is simple. After getting the book, I can go sit down, make myself comfortable and start reading away.

I see the use of digital books growing but there is something about a bookstore or library that digital books cannot compare with. 

Bookstores and libraries have a calm and unique atmosphere. There is the ability to walk around and touch the books, which cannot be done with any device. 

A conversation can be started after spotting the title of a person’s book. Try doing that with an e-reader and it will result in a mean glare “How dare you be looking at my screen.”

A book can be given as a gift and with a thoughtful or funny note written on the inside of the front cover. The owner of that book will think of the gift giver every time he or she opens it. An e-book will just be ruined if sharpie is written on the screen.

A physical book can be treasured for years to come. Take the Bible for example. A favorite part of a book can easily be found and reread.

One thing e-readers will definitely never have is the new book smell of fresh neat pages, or the aged, musty, smell of old classics. No matter how many font types, highlight colors and other magnificent, spectacular features e-books may have, they just do not stack up to real, physical books.

So buy a real book or check one out from the library. Read it. Gift it. Share it. Donate it. Smell it. Talk about it with other people.

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