Physical Books vs. E-Books: Which One Should You Choose?

There’s no debate — classic paper books and e-books both entertain and inform us, readers. Both mediums are also an important part of our lives today. At that, the conversation should not dwell on which book is more superior. It should look into which suits the intention, needs, and habits of the readers.

If you’re still standing in the middle and can’t pick one side, here’s are a few points to help you decide:

Choose the printed books if…

You need to read without distractions.

Are you working on your focus? Do you need to digest key passages in the book critically? When reading an actual book, you almost instantly get immersed as there are no notifications, advertisements, and other pop-ups that may divert your attention and break your focus.

You love the unique experience.

Respondents in various research on print and digital reading experiences agree that print media gives a certain feeling, thanks to the unique sensory experience only physical books can provide.

If you love to live the moment as you smell of pages, enjoy the feel of ink when pressed against the skin, and are delighted when flipping pages, then printed books are in your favor.

You want to retain what you have read.

If you need to work on your reading retention, consider getting a printed book.

Several studies shared that research participants who read with printed books scored higher on post-reading questions than the other group who read the same story on electronic devices.

Researchers said that this could also be because e-book versions lack “spatiotemporal markers” and have unbroken strings of text. With physical books, readers can mentally flip back to specific information and recall where it could be found in the book (example: I remember reading the quote on the page’s upper part and on the right-hand side).

Choose the e-books if…

You enjoy reading at night

Reading at night is quite advantageous. But one of its cons is dim lighting, which could quickly tire your eyes, especially when reading a poorly printed book.

With ebooks, however, the screen itself functions as a light source. Most e-reader gadgets and apps have screen settings. You may adjust it according to your preference or environment. You may decrease or increase the font size or change the font style. Most even include a ‘Night’ feature to avoid straining the eyes.

You love to multitask.

Do you love to do several things at once? Perhaps you enjoy reading while listening to music or sharing quotable lines with your online friends as soon as you see one? If the answers are all yes, then e-books are suited for you.

You don’t have to carry one device for every interest as everything is easily accessible in one gadget.

You read several books at a time

Some readers just want to read at least one page of everything that’s on their to-be-read (TBR) list.

The e-book is a practical choice if you’re the kind of reader who loves to switch from one genre to another or want to have a ready back-up in case the book you’re currently reading doesn’t tickle your interest. It’s also best to choose electronic books if you want to have your thick educational books ready in case you want to study for a test.

The media or kind of book you prefer is often secondary, what matters most is that you learn from the experience and above all, you have a good time reading!

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Kumon is the world's leading after-school enrichment program. We offer two subjects: Math and Reading in more than 300 Kumon Centers nationwide.

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