Hello everyone, I was asked to compare print books and e-books for a class assignment. It occurred to me that while I’ve seen lots of book bloggers compare the two based on their personal preferences, I’ve never seen a post compare them based on their functionality. I thought reformatting my assignment into a blog post would be a perfect way to change this.
Extra credit if you can figure out what subject this assignment was for. 🙂
Cover Vs. Cover
Paperback books have a spine and cover to tell readers what they’re about before opening the book. This is possible via books’ titles and illustrations. Books’ titles must summarize a book’s content in a single word or phrase. Books’ cover art must further their titles’ goal by conferring elements like a book’s tone and setting.
Spine vs. List
The books’ spines allow for stacking them side-by-side along a bookshelf while still being able to see a books’ title and a small segment of the book’s cover art. This allows many books to be displayed side-by-side at once.
E-books lack spines but their titles are often displayed side-by-side in a long list. This is similar to a bookshelf in that books are organized by titles, like at a library, and the title remains the first thing readers see.
Sometimes, books’ covers accompany their titles to provide the reader further information about a book. This display function is a better metaphor for when someone pulls print books off a shelf to examine their covers than a bookshelf.
Page Vs. Page
Both print books and e-books divide content into sections known as pages. Pages make it possible to read books without being overwhelmed by their length, while, in the case of print books, also providing yet another method of being easily stacked.
E-books don’t need to be stacked. Pages instead provide readers with an experience more similar to reading the print books they’re familiar with. E-books have limited screen space.
They can’t display the whole book at once because that would make the text too small to read. The e-books could have solved this in another manor, like scrolling on a webpage, but instead their designers chose to solve this problem through pages similar to a print book.
E-books often include arrow symbols. These symbols alert users to the need to click to the next page as opposed to the scrolling common in webpages. This might be confusing to someone who had only ever read things on the computer and never used a book.
Customization Vs. Eye Strain
Another feature e-books have added to print books is their customizability. E-books allow users to change aspects like the font, the text size, and the page color. This makes e-books more accessible to readers with accessibility issues like low vision, color-blindness, and dyslexia.
Before these readers would have had to rely upon large print and books with non-conventional page formatting, but now, they can use the same product as other users.
Audiobooks vs. Reading Aloud
E-books are also sometimes bought alongside audiobooks or have functionality that otherwise allows them to be read aloud. This allows greater functionality for both blind readers and those who enjoy multitasking or switching between formats.
Heavy Books Vs. Charging Time
E-books are great for those who would have otherwise needed to carry around large numbers of heavy books too. E-readers and e-book apps allow readers to carry around the equivalent of their entire bookshelf wherever they go.
Then again, print books do not require charging and can be less likely to cause eye strain. They also provide a print representation for avid readers to enjoy and treasure.
Personally, there are some situations I enjoy reading e-books, but print books have a definite appeal. Print books are beautiful, but e-books are great for a busy life where it’s a burden to have too much to carry.
As for functionality, e-books are in many ways more functional than print books. The exception comes when people do not have constant access to electricity. In these cases e-books are completely useless.
In other words, if it’s the apocalypse, print books are superior.
Best assignment ever, am I right? Okay, so I was kidding about the extra credit I mentioned at the beginning, you still won’t guess which class this is from. Print books or e-books?
Hope this wasn’t too technical. 😉 Share your thoughts in the comments!