The Pros and Cons of eBooks

A woman reads an ebook on a tablet
(Image credit: from Pexels)

As technology develops nothing remains untouched, and paper is no exception. The eBook is now well established, its downloadable files including everything typically found in the printed formats, including numbered pages, tables of contents, pictures, graphics and layout just like any other book. If you own any of the best tablets, you have a wealth of eBooks at your fingertips.

The advantages of eBook downloads are many, but there are disadvantages as well. Below are a few pros and cons to consider if you're still on the fence about jumping into the eBook revolution. And if you'd rather have books read to you, rather than read at all, we have a guide to the best audiobook services too.

Kindle Oasis

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Advantages

  • One of the biggest advantages of ebooks is the fact that they require no trees to create them. This is obviously an eco-friendly option that both reduces cost and lowers environmental impact.
  • Information can be obtained without leaving your desk! Need to do some last-minute research on a particular topic? Simply find a great ebook store, search for your keywords or phrases, purchase the book and you’re set!
  • Unlike paper books and materials, digital books only require one device to carry around with you. This means you can carry a library of various book genres for every mood.
  • eBooks can lower the cost of enjoying your favorite titles. With no shipping and handling costs, eBooks typically have prices that are 50-60% lower than their print counterparts.
  • eBooks are more flexible than paper books. For those who have trouble reading the typical book-sized font, ebook readers can enlarge the font size to make reading more pleasurable and easier on the eyes.
  • eBooks can contain multi-media elements not available with traditional books. Audio and video can be embedded to make reading a fully immersive experience.
  • Ever wonder where that great passage in your favorite book went to? With ebooks you can mark passages, save pages and search text before, during or after you read.

With all these advantages it is difficult to imagine what the disadvantages are, but there are some that have many folks concerned. If you're already sold, we've listed the cheapest prices for the Amazon Kindle below.

The other huge plus about eBooks is... you can actually create and publish your own. Even if you don't become a famous author, you can at least share eBooks among your friends, family, and any social media followers you may have. Check out our guide to the best eBook creators if you want to know more.

The Disadvantages

  • Piracy is the number one concern for both publishers and authors. While traditional books can be copied with machines, the time and cost of doing so typically keeps this type of piracy at bay. With ebooks, however, 'sharing' books that have not been purchased with others is as easy as posting a file online or, in some cases, copying and pasting the text from one document to another.
  • Many people still prefer being able to hold a traditional book in their hands. For those of us who enjoy reading a book in bed before signing off for the night, a cold hard digital device just won’t be the same.
  • While one advantage of ebook devices is their ability to enlarge fonts for easier reading, the fact is you are still reading off an LCD screen. Some readers have matte e-ink screens, but others give off a glare that can not only make reading inconvenient if the lighting isn’t just right, but may actually cause eye strain and make it more difficult to focus while reading.
  • With the wide variety of formats and ereader devices on the market, choosing which device is the right one for all situations can be nearly impossible. Though compatible formats have been introduced that should allow most readers to view purchases, many of these still lack proper formatting. Without proper page layouts and spacing reading becomes more of a tedious chore than an enjoyable pastime. With traditional books one simply buys and reads!
  • When is the last time you had to plug your paper book into the wall outlet? How disappointing would it be to find yourself right in the middle of a steamy romance scene while traveling only to have the batteries in your reading device die, with no way to charge them?
  • Currently, ebooks have an unreliable life span. Paper books last for decades provided they are well cared for. And besides, what good is a bookshelf if you cannot enjoy the look and smell of all your time-worn books, lovingly thumbed, crimped and read cover to cover, over and over again?

While some may find the transition from paper books to ebooks an impossibility, many have already embraced the technology as the status quo. Young people especially are finding eBook options as appealing and convenient. For those who find the advantages of ebooks more appealing than the 'old way' of reading there are several ebook stores reviewed on this site, such as Amazon Kindle Store and more, that can help users find the best bargains and options.

Ian has been a journalist for 20 years. He's written for magazines and websites on subjects such as video games, technology, PC hardware, popular (and unpopular) science, gardening and astronomy. In his spare time he has a pet tortoise and grows his own vegetables. He also has a passion for cameras and photography, and has written for TTR on these subjects.