Books vs. E-Books || An In-depth Comparison

Ebook in Stars

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. 🙂

Bluejay Feather

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.

Conclusion

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.

Bluejay Feather

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!

 

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2016 Reading Statistics

I loved making this post last year and seeing everything I read that year in visual form, so I decided to do the same for 2016. This will exclude most of the statistics already listed in Goodreads’ beautiful “My 2016 in Books” feature.

Age Groups

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In both 2016 and 2015 I read more young adult books than any other age groups, but the amount of books I’ve read in other age groups has grown a lot relative to last year.

Genres

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Like last year, the overwhelming majority of books I read were fantasy. I’m somewhat embarrassed that not one of the books I read in 2016 fit into the contemporary category (though one got very close).

Contemporary is far from my favorite genre, but I like to try to read at least a few books from it. Guess this means one of my reading goals for 2017 is to read at least one contemporary novel.

Where Books Take Place

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Like last year, I read more books taking place off of Earth than any one place on it. This year the portion of books seems to have grown enough that a little more than half of the books I read take place on Earth, unlike last year where I read more books taking place in fictional locations/in space than on Earth.

The portion of books I read in places outside of the US has also grown a little, though not by much. Like last year, most of the books taking place in a European setting took place in the UK. So many, I considered making it its own category both times, but ultimately decided against it.

Note that this chart doesn’t comment on the accuracy of how these places were portrayed, only that the book in question had at least one significant scene set in this location. This also means, therefore, that some books fall in multiple categories.

The book with no location is nonfiction.

Conclusions

I didn’t read as much in 2016 as I did the two years before. (I read 63 books in 2016, 73 books in 2015, and 77 books in 2014.) However, I’m okay with that.

I was much busier in 2016 than I was in 2015 and 2014. I wanted to still read a significant amount of books in 2016, but focus on reading what I wanted to read. I knew that otherwise I would never find the motivation to read. I feel I have succeeded in these goals.

Note: Charts made with onlinecharttool.com.