I was recently asked to do a post about whether reading an eBook is a different experience to reading a physical book. At first, I was a bit unsure how I should approach this. I tend to stick to certain authors on my kindle and a particular genre (mostly commercial fiction) whereas my bookcase reflects a larger variety of books. So, I decided to pick a historical fiction book that’s been on my tbr list for a while and that I would normally prefer to read as a physical copy. Also, the fact it was 99p sold me immediately.
Considering, I finished this book in two days is only a testament to how much I loved the book but also just how your thought processing changes between the two formats.
This blog post will outline what I loved about reading this book as an eBook on my kindle and how I think it compares to if I had read it physically.
The Ebook Experience:
So to begin with, I purchased this book at around 1/2am. Honestly, I need to stop looking at books at the time because I always forget that I bought those books, until my postman is ringing off my doorbell and my Dad is shouting at me to get the door because he knows it’s probably for me. This time, however, it arrived in less than a minute. Knowing that I didn’t have to wait a few days immediately put me in a good mood to begin starting this book.
Small and Lightweight:
I could carry this book everywhere and not worry about damaging the pages. I’m sure so many people can agree that there’s been times, you’ve had to leave the book at home because it couldn’t fit in your bag. I know I have and I always regret it once I’ve left the house. However, I could read this book everywhere. Literally everywhere. On the train, at work, on my lunch break. Even in bed and I only tend to read in bed more when I’m reading an eBook and that’s only because I always end up dropping the physical books on my face.
This time, I could cradle my kindle in one hand and have my head on the pillow whilst reading. It made my reading experience so much more comfortable.
Adjustable Font Size:
It’s something so small but it really makes all the difference. I find that once I set the font to a size that allows me not to squint, I end up flying through the story. I’m sure there’s a correlation behind it but this is what makes eBooks so inclusive.
Easy Accessible Dictionary:
Sometimes I’ll be reading a book and I’ll stumble across word that I either can’t remember the meaning of or have never seen before in my life. Normally, I would have to pull out my phone and look it up online. But this time, I could get a definition in a matter of seconds as long as I was connected to wifi.
This is really something that only pertains if you own a kindle in all honesty but it’s worth mentioning. My screen adjusts depending on natural light so I especially love it at night when I’m reading with just my lamp on. And the change is so subtle that I never notice that it’s happening.
If I was reading this book physically, I would have spent a few minutes highlighting passages because there were so many quotes that I loved. Normally, it takes me a while because I make notes and tab the books as I read (it sounds like a lot but after studying English it’s almost a habit). I found that my kindle makes this so much easier. I could highlight passages and move on, knowing that there’s a whole section on my kindle dedicated to highlighted passages with the page numbers too.
I adored how I didn’t have to spend time bookmarking a page. I could literally turn off my kindle on whatever page I was on, knowing that when I switched it back on I would be taken to the same page I left. It cuts out seconds out of your reading experience and allowed me to get back into the book quickly.
What I missed about the Physical Copy:
There’s actually only a few things that I missed about reading this book as a physical copy and I’m still deliberating whether that was because I actually adored the story itself. I think it’s important to note that these are all huge things to me anyway.
I didn’t realise how much I adore beautiful book covers until I left university. I’m more likely to buy a book if the book cover is pretty. I like having my books on display whether it’s on a bookcase or not. My kindle robbed me of that experience even though it did provide me with a black and white version of the cover.
Easier to flick back and forth between passages:
This is another big thing that really bothered me. I sometimes read a passage and want to desperately go back to it once I finish a chapter or if I’ve noticed a link between something that happens later on to an event at the beginning of the novel. I personally find it harder to flick back and forth. So, I’m forced to make notes on what I think the link is and then once I’ve finished the novel, I go back and forth between the passages. I know that eBooks will always provide a table of contents but I can find them irritating and annoying to use.
Feels more personal:
Reading a book physically always feels that tad bit personal. Holding it in your hands and feeling the heaviness of the book is such an undefeated feeling. Especially, if I love the book. In regards to this particular book, I simply adored it and have accepted that I’ll probably buy a physical copy eventually.
New Book Feeling:
I mean, I personally feel that the excitement triples when you eagerly await a book to arrive from your postman or even walking into a bookstore. With an eBook, you get a brief moment of excitement/pleasure before you throw yourself into the book. But, I sort of prefer the anticipation.
So is it eBooks or Physical Books?
I think what became very clear to me is that eBooks feel almost like a prologue. They’re lightweight and easy to read because they’ve been designed to help us in any way they can. Technology is literally always changing so that it can speed up the way we do stuff and I don’t think a kindle is any different. That being said, I really did enjoy reading this book on my kindle even though I felt I flew through this book. I would have preferred to read it physically, not only because I loved it, but also because I could really take in the words slowly.
I also think there’s something to be said about the fact I could remember all the books I own physically but struggle to recall more than three authors that I have on my kindle. I can barely remember the names of books on there, which makes me question whether I’m processing these books properly.
However, this experience made me realise that I need to take more advantage of my kindle. Instead of spending money on fiction books and being unsure on whether I’ll like them or not, I should read them on my kindle first and then buy a physical copy if I really like them. I reckon it’ll save me money in the long run. Also, I say fiction because I need to read non-fiction books physically – it’s just about thought processing and understanding things visually.
I guess ebooks vs physical books comes down to your personal preference. I do like both but it is important to keep in mind that kindles/ebooks are designed to make your reading experience easier.
I know I prefer physical copies the majority of the time even though eBooks are designed to make your reading experience easier. That’s only because, for me, nothing beats that personal feeling you get by holding a physical copy in your hand.