Students are aware of audio, digital and even free PDFs of books that can be found while searching for textbooks for a class. Of course, you can go into the library or bookstore for physical copies. Despite the high volume, demand and many benefits that e-books provide, they take away from the satisfying and immersive experience that a physical book provides.
Audiobooks and digital books are convenient to use, as everything is consolidated onto one device. In just two clicks, you have a new book to read. But is it better to use a Kindle or Nook to read over a physical book? Although online reading is easy and convenient to access, it does not offer the quality time of sitting down and seeing the pages you are reading. There is satisfaction in flipping the pages. Suddenly, one side of the book is heavier than the other, and you experience the accomplishment of almost being done with a book.
There is also the collector aspect of physical books — being able to collect each book and having them aesthetically displayed on a shelf can serve as a hobby and showcase part of one’s identity.
Physical books are timeless. There is nothing like the experience of going into a cute bookstore to see the variety of different books, in comparison to scrolling and scrolling endlessly, just like we already do on social media platforms. Physical books allow us to submerge ourselves in an experience without the need for technology.
Many benefits come from reading a physical book. First, they are eye-friendly. Many strain their eyes from reading on the computer or their electronic devices. We already look at our screens all day. If we add e-books to that list, our eyes are doomed to be strained.
Many people think physical books are better than e-books and their reasoning ranged from the appearance down to the smell of the paper, according to paper manufacturer StoraEnso. The survey conducted by StoraEnso concluded that in “March 2022, 65% of respondents wanted physical books, versus 21% who preferred e-books and 14% audiobooks.” Even in our generation, which is accustomed to the digital age, I am not the only one who enjoys a good, old-fashioned book in my hand because from the ages 16-24: “70% said they preferred physical books over e-books.” And older generations say we Gen Z kids don’t appreciate the little things.
Furthermore, during the pandemic, one of the few positive byproducts that came about was the digital cleanse. Many people participated in a cleansing of social media since being inside for months on end was beginning to transform us into couch potatoes. Because of this, people turned their attention to reading books as a new hobby to obtain instead of using digital devices.
The study also said “a majority of respondents (63%) said they read more during COVID, including nearly 70% in the UK and the U.S. In the youth segment, 64% said they read more and, notably, 76% of young people in the U.S. and 73% in the UK.”
E-books and audio or digital books may be convenient, especially for the average college student with millions of textbooks to “read.” But, as convenient as it is to have everything one or two clicks away, many people prefer physical copies of books. Hard copies are timeless and can be stored and passed between friends without needing Wi-Fi or account switching. You can read a book without worrying about battery life; it is just you and the books.