Return to BFSMedia | Return to


Printed Book Vs. Ebook: Which Should I Buy?

Printed Books & E-Books: Advantages / Benefits of Each Format

Important Notice: Benefits / advantages, as well as availability / content / images / etc. concerning any items indicated / pictured herein may vary. Items herein are not comprehensive, may be subjective, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Items may appear herein in any order. We cannot guarantee any particular advantage(s) / benefit(s) from any book type / format or for any item whatsoever. We make no guarantee whatsoever regarding any item herein. Use of all material herein is at your own risk.


When selecting books, the choice whether to purchase printed or digital versions is a very personal decision that may vary based on an individual's preferences / needs / limitations / etc. Both printed and digital books offer a number of unique advantages that should be matched against one's individual circumstances & needs. As applicable, and for the most benefits, it may be useful to purchase both versions of a book. Again, this is a personal decision that will necessarily vary among individuals, and even by book. Below are some examples of possible advantages for various book formats, starting with possible advantages of printed books (part 1 - click here) & ending with possible advantages of ebooks (part 2 - click here). We hope you may find this information useful.

Part 1: Some Potential Advantages of a Printed Book Over an Ebook...

* Printed books may offer tactile benefits (e.g. pleasant feel of book, some readers may have a preference for actual physical page turning vs. tapping / scrolling / etc.)

* Purchaser may have feeling of 'getting more for one's money' with a tangible book

* Navigation (e.g. backwards, forwards, viewing a specific page) may be easier with a printed book, especially on smaller devices where multiple taps may be required to advance a single page, or where the 'go to feature' requires multiple steps or doesn't use page numbers

* It may be easier to skim / flip through a printed book

* A 'soft book' (e.g. paperback) may feel more comfortable to hold than a hard device

* An Internet connection is not required to acquire / read a printed book

* There is no need to sync a printed book

* Printed books may be more private (e.g. potentially more private when purchasing, more private since use isn't tracked by the seller, more private because notes/highlights/reading time/etc. are not shared with others)

* It may be easier to go back & forth from one physical book to another physical book than it is to switch from one ebook to another ebook on a device

* The physical presence of a book may serve as a reminder to read it (or a reminder of the content that one has already read)

* Physical books are not subject to data loss

* Physical books don't require someone's website to be functioning to download

* Physical books don't require that the seller remain a going concern for continued use of all features

* A functioning, charged device is not required to read physical books (excluding, of course, special needs cases)

* It may be easier to see one's reading progress at a glance with a physical book

* It may be physically safer for the reader to read a printed book in certain areas (e.g. around liquids, in the tub, in bed, in high-crime areas, etc.)

* Depending on the device, it may be easier to read physical books in bright outdoor lighting conditions

* It may be easier for those not technically savvy (or those not comfortable with a device) to read a printed book

* One's reading experience of printed books is not affected by software changes over time

* The display of a printed book is not limited to the screen size of small devices

* Printed books don't tie individuals - or their libraries - to a specific type/brand of device/reader

* In printed books, there is no losing one's place due to accidental pressing of embedded links

* With a printed book, the reader can more easily view two non-contiguous pages at once

* It may be easier to return to one's place in a printed book after looking ahead/behind

* It may be possible to take printed books to places where digital books can't go (e.g. where it is not allowed or safe to bring digital devices)

* With printed books, there may be less concern regarding theft (e.g. less concern over loss of a single printed book vs. the loss of an entire device)

* Printed books offer the ability to have two or more (full size) open books at one time, which can be useful for research and comparison purposes

* Features of physical books are stable and are not dependent upon functioning devices or changing versions of software, and there are no concerns about future compatibility regarding printed books with respect to subsequent devices or future software

* With printed books, one can have as many unrelated, separate libraries as desired and all books do not need to be kept together by their original sellers

* No batteries or charging is required to read a printed book

* Reading a physical book cannot be uninterrupted by an embedded phone, alarm, email app, etc.

* Physical pages may be easier on the eyes than lighted pages appearing on one's device

* Printed text is a 'permanent reference' and 'can't be changed without your knowledge'

* A physical book does not have the potential for removal from one's library by the seller like an ebook has

* Printed books take up actual, physical space in libraries, in contrast to digital books which may be 'so far down the screen' that they can seem almost hardly noticeable in large libraries

* Physical books occupying space on a shelf in one's home / work / etc. may not be as easily forgotten as digital books hidden away on one's device

* It may be easier to skip past - or even remove - unneeded content in physical books (e.g. one can quickly/easily jump forward multiple pages at a time with a physical book, tear out pages, cross out text, etc.)

* One can generally make larger & otherwise more obvious notes in (or on the edges of) printed books than in ebooks (and the notes don't require any extra effort to read in a printed book, and they can't be lost)

* A printed book offers potential highlighting advantages (e.g. it may be easier to accurately highlight passages with an actual highlighter than it is with electronic tools, there are no limits on color choices for highlighters in printed books, highlights / notes 'can't simply disappear' from one's physical book)

* A printed book offers potential bookmark-related advantages (e.g. potentially easier to see/use single - or multiple - physical bookmarks, including beautiful / 'fun' / magnetic / novelty type bookmarks that are clearly noticeable even without opening a book)

* One can store papers or other items (e.g. related materials, cards, sentimental items, dried flowers) in printed books, if desired

* One can hand write in a printed book (e.g. a gift note, a commemorative notation, etc.)

* A book's physical appearance (e.g. book size) may make it easier to quickly gauge effort/time required to read the publication

* Book wear (e.g. on paperback book spine) may help one see where one is / help one to not lose one's place / remind one that a book has (or hasn't been) been completely read

* Printed books typically contain pages numbers / it may be easier to locate page numbers in printed books

* Printed books may be preferable for gifting

* Printed books are useful for filling one's bookshelves

* Printed books offer the ability to keep related books (and only those related books) together physically

* Printed books are potentially more beautiful (e.g. gold edges / embossed cover text)

* Printed books potentially have more resale value

* There are no restrictions on lending printed books / printed books may be easier to lend (especially to those who are not technically savvy or do not have compatible devices)

* Printed books may not get as easily overlooked as items in one's digital library (especially in larger libraries)

* There may be a greater selection of printed books available for purchase / not all books may be offered as ebooks in one's desired format

* Physical books might be preferable for children or seniors (or others) for various reasons

* Printed books can be signed by their authors

* Legacy issues / printed books may survive the original purchaser's death and may be more easily handed down to loved ones (especially to multiple recipients)

Part 2: Some Potential Advantages of an Ebook Over a Printed Book...

* Ebooks can often be read 'instantly' after purchase

* Ebooks should have no actual shipping costs

* Ebooks weigh nothing, take up no physical space, and may be more portable than printed books

* One may be able to carry around a large number of ebooks, which may not be possible with physical books

* One can't lose an ebook like one can lose a physical book

* It may be possible to handoff reading an ebook on one device to another device

* Highlights / notes made in ebooks need not be permanent - than can both be deleted & changed

* Ebooks may be searchable - it may therefore be easier to locate information in ebooks

* Ebooks may contain active links for additional relevant content

* Ebooks are not subject to physical destruction or damage - they don't 'wear out', get warped, stained, torn, disintegrate, or have the potential for missing pages

* Ebooks don't require storage space

* Ebooks don't require maintenance/dusting/cleaning - they 'stay clean' without any effort

* Ebooks may offer the ability to sort/locate one's books in various ways that are not easily possible with printed books

* Ebooks may offer the ability to copy/paste/share text (where applicable)

* Book covers and dust jackets are not required for ebooks

* Ebooks may be more comfortable to read than physical books (especially larger books)

* Ebooks may offer readers more potential for accessibility features (e.g. audio narration)

* Updates to text of ebooks may be possible

* Where applicable, ebooks may be less expensive than printed books

* It may be easier to read ebooks rather than printed books in dark lighting conditions

* With ebooks, one may be able to sync to other devices & have the same book available on multiple devices

* Ebook devices may offer a variety of useful options not available for printed books (e.g. quick definitions, popular highlights, changing font type, adjusting font size, changing text/background color, adjust spacing, modify hyphenation, lighting options, etc.) and there may be potential for more options in the future as platforms evolve

* If one is able to lend an ebook, the lender may be 'guaranteed' to get their book back (and in the 'same condition')

- - -

For the most benefits, why not get both versions?

 BFSMedia & are divisions of B.F.S.

BFSMedia (TM)

(C) B.F.S., 2017-2024. All Rights Reserved.