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What’s Better: Printed Books or The E-books?

When tablets and e-readers came into our lives in the early 2000s, many people scoffed and said they could never replace the sensation of turning the pages of books as we had known them for centuries. But a couple of decades later, e-books are even more popular than ever. They have become more affordable and accessible worldwide.

However, despite being a growing favorite, more people can read than ever before, the debate about which is better, the old vs. the new, rages on. Which one is the best?

Environmental consciousness

Proponents of e-books will be first to argue that reading in this format is healthier for the environment than their printed counterparts. At first glance, this concept rings true since book printing requires paper. Paper comes from trees, which the planet desperately needs to function as its lungs. However, according to the difference.guru, looking at the matter objectively, each book form has an environmental impact. 

Tech gadgets like e-book readers contain minerals mined from beneath the earth’s surface that, unlike trees, are not renewable resources. These substances include cobalt, tungsten, and tantalum. They are often mined under horrific circumstances, with laborers facing significant health and safety risks to retrieve them.


With so many e-books stored on one device, you would be forgiven for thinking that they will last longer than regular books. However, this might not necessarily be true. Think about it this way: if that device were to be damaged or stolen, an entire library of books would be lost. Alternatively, should the device become obsolete or damaged, the same fate might follow. 

People are far less likely to have a printed book stolen or ruined because it got wet. That being said, keeping a library of printed books consumes much space. Nevertheless, they seem likely to outlast e-books given how many centuries old some manuscripts are. That is, of course, unless the dust they accumulate does not upset your allergies.


This word might sound strange to use in conjunction with books, but printed book enthusiasts insist that there is something warm and intimate about feeling the pages as you turn them. An e-book comes across as cold and clinical as it robs the reader of this feeling. 

Printed books also tend to hold more memories for readers. Sometimes, holding a book brings back a flood of memories, such as those from the first time you read it. It could transport you to a distant chapter of your life, like carefree school days or a time you went backpacking or traveling overseas. 


As mentioned before, owning a library of printed books requires space and frequent cleaning. Books are inclined to be dust collectors and a nightmare for those with allergy-driven conditions. If you want to prevent a book collection from getting too dusty, it might be better to pack it in sealed plastic containers.

E-books themselves might not present any potential health risks to readers. However, the devices they come on do. The blue light emitted from e-reader screens and tablets is proven to be harmful to people’s sleep patterns and should be avoided at least a couple of hours before sleeping.


Studies conducted in different countries prove that people retain more information from printed texts than writing on a screen. Our tendency with printed words is to read and absorb them. In contrast, the human brain tends to skim and scan what the eye sees on a screen.

Undoubtedly, some people prefer reading printed books because it is a welcome break from staring at a computer screen at work all day. A screen becomes associated with work and does not represent relaxation.