Books vs Kindle

Are eBooks better than physical books? It's an debate that many readers are having, with some in favour of the digital age and some fighting for the traditional paperback's survival. Tech Advisor journalists Ashleigh Allsopp and Karen Haslam are on opposite sides of the argument - Ashleigh siding with traditional and Karen siding with digital. Here, they present their top 10 reasons for and against reading eBooks.

Karen Haslam: 10 reasons why reading books on the iPad/Kindle is best

I love books, and being a commuter they help me while away the journey. I'm also impatient, I like being able to read the next book in a series as soon as I finish the first, I also like to switch books as the mood takes me. Reading books on my iPad lets me do just that.

  1. It's easy to buy books – so easy in fact that the minute you finish one you can purchase and download the next (presuming the author has written it of course!) AA: But then you don't get to go to the bookshop! See point 5 in my 10 reasons against.
  2. Never be stumped by a phrase or misunderstand the meaning. If you don't know what a word means you can tap it to get a definition. Plus, eBooks benefit from direct links to the internet if you are online and want further verification. 
  3. It's simple to make notes and highlight things so you can easily find them later on. I love highlighting quotes and then browsing through them to relive the best bits after I finish a book.
  4. You will never be weighed down by a heavy book – or books – again. You can bring your whole library with you on holiday, and students no longer need to lug humungous textbooks with them.
  5. Really long books are less daunting when you don't see how large they actually are. AA: But they're also less satisfying to finish.
  6. Digital books are cheaper – in fact you can pick up classics for nothing! A great excuse to brush up on your English Lit. AA: Not always! See point 6. Also, libraries let you borrow books for free, and so do friends and family.
  7. If you want a travel guide for your holiday download it – it's much better than an app, lighter than lugging around a book, and it's easy to highlight and bookmark the things you want to do.
  8. You can read at night without needing the light on, so you won't disturb your partner and you are more likely to drift off than you would if the lights were on. Plus you can increase the text size and change the background colour to avoid straining your eyes. AA: You can get AWESOME book lights though. And they're not shiny like the iPad so you don't keep catching your own reflection.
  9. You'll never have to battle to keep a book open on a page again - no more hand strain trying to hold the book open.
  10. It won't get dog-eared, the binding won't break, and you will never lose a book you love because a friend 'borrowed' it. AA: I love a dog-eared, worn out book. Not a lost one, though.

Ashleigh Allsopp: 10 reasons I hate the idea of reading on an iPad or Kindle

I'm a huge book-lover, and I'm also a lover of technology (being a tech journalist and all). But I hate the idea of reading on an iPad or Kindle for many reasons, including the following.

  1. Books don't run out of battery, but iPads and Kindles do. You certainly don't need to make sure you've remembered to charge up your paperback before you leave in the morning. KH: the battery in my iPad lasts for weeks - probably because I only really read books on it…
  2. I can't get enough of that new book smell, and I love physically turning the pages rather than swiping. KH: I remember the musty smell of books recovered from the loft, not so nice
  3. Books have amazing covers, but you hardly see them on a Kindle or iPad, especially if you're using one of Amazon's black and white Kindles.
  4. I love having shelves full of books in my home. They're a talking point when friends and family visit, and my ultimate dream is to have a library in my house one day.  
  5. I love browsing bookshops and libraries, and I really don't want them all to close in the struggle against the digital age. KH: But it's the authors who we really care about, isn't it, and we need to give them the chance to sell their books in a way that is sustainable
  6. You can get cheap second-hand books from charity shops, libraries and more - eBooks aren't always cheaper.
  7. In the future, when electricity is no more (if you've seen Revolution or Book of Eli, you'll understand this fear), we'll still have books. KH: As long as the books don't get burned in the revolution (or for heat)…
  8. But even if there is still electricity and technology in the future, it'll probably be so advanced that the current eBooks won't work any more. Books will always work.
  9. You can lend people books and swap books with friends. Many of the books I read have been lent to me by friends who recommend them. KH: Think of the authors! It's like sharing music…
  10. I stare at a digital screen all day; I don't want to do that when I'm reading too.

Which side are you on? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.