Why I Prefer E-Books Over Physical Books

It’s been years since I bought a hardback or paperback novel. Almost one hundred percent of the books I read are in e-book form for the following reasons. I thought this topic would make for an interesting post and possible jumping off point for a group discussion.


Book covered in cobwebs and dustIt’s pretty difficult to keep physical books in pristine condition.

Wet pages can easily provide a nice home for mould or mildew to grow. Even a mildly damp environment can give books a musty smell after a while if no one notices and dries them out in time.

Being stored in a dusty place affects books, too, even if they’re eventually brushed off.

It’s hard to completely prevent these things from happening, especially in humid climates or in houses that are difficult to keep dry and clean for other reasons.

Since I’ve been an avid patron of public libraries since childhood, this is something that has cropped up for me even more often than it might have if I bought everything I read.  The idea of many people using the same book instead of everyone buying their own copy and maybe only reading it once appeals to me from both an environmental and minimalist perspective.

But there were multiple times when I reach the top of a huge waitlist for a title only to realize that the book the library sent to me was dusty, musty, beginning to mould, or otherwise was going to be an allergy issue for me.

E-books never have this problem. That’s a big part of the reason why I switched to borrowing them instead of physical books from the library.


Person facing away from the camera. There's an e-reader in one of their back jean pockets and they're attempting to put a novel into the other I’m not the sort of person who enjoys carrying around a purse, backpack, or bag. Most of the time, I try to leave home with only the items I can fit into my pockets.

There are very few books out there that will fit into a standard-sized pocket…especially since I’m a woman and nearly always buy my clothes in the women’s section of the store where designers have yet to realize that pockets can be practical instead of merely decorative. (But that is a rant for another day).

While I could technically carry around a few physical books, it’s so much nicer to have free hands and not have to keep track of anything extra when I’m out and about. This isn’t even to mention the fact that my cellphone can hold countless e-books without weighing any more than it would if I only had one or two of them downloaded onto it.


Man holding a smartphone and looking down at itI find it much easier to keep track of a quote I want to save from a specific page when I read that story in electronic form.

When I was in college, I had a professor who spent a big chunk of our first day in class that semester talking about the importance of looking up unfamiliar terms instead of guessing their meanings.

Some of my previous teachers had encouraged us to infer the meaning based on context clues, so I’d slid into the habit of guessing what a word meant instead of being certain.

That professor changed this habit of mine for good. Even though I haven’t been her student for years, I still insist on looking up any word whose meaning I’m not 100% certain of.

My e-reader can do all of these things with a swipe of a finger. There is no pen or piece of paper required to take note of something I’ll want to remember for the future or look up a word I need a definition for.

When you add in the portability and lack of allergens factors, I can’t imagine reading books in any other way.

What format for books do you prefer? Why?


Filed under Personal Life

25 Responses to Why I Prefer E-Books Over Physical Books

  1. I don’t mind either, but I value ebooks for their portability and convenience especially when you’re commuting to work and have a bag full of way too many things. I think ebooks tend to fit with life more than books sometimes

  2. You may have noticed my recent post about how I prefer physical books BUT totally respect that people are different. I love that you get the book experience you enjoy and need from ebooks, for me I’m old fashioned in loving the sensory experience of a physical book- but then I’m lucky enough to have the space and a decent quality of home to keep them in and damp free (apart from if I read them in the bath!!)

  3. My issue is that I have really awful carpal tunnel and I honestly can’t hold a physical book for more than ten minutes, tops. E-readers have made my life so much nicer.

    So yeah, e-books are my go-to!

  4. Frederick Schoch

    I prefer physical books, their batteries never run out, I never have to get lost if I shake too much and accedently touch the screen when waiting to turn the page, I never have to worry about dropping and breaking the book.

  5. I how love the ebooks, let me count the ways…
    It’s easier to publish in this format. You can set the font and text size which helps reduce stress on tired eyes. It’s also magical. Yes, magical. When my wife is fussing about doing things and I’m waiting for her all I have to do is start reading and poof she appears ready to go. Works in doctors offices too.

  6. I just like books. I used to be a “paper only” person, but then I got into audiobooks. And then I learned that ebooks are great for specific situations. And now I will read all of them. I don’t see me ever giving up my paper “keeper shelf” books, but I’ve also been borrowing ebooks from the library and love the way that works.

  7. All great points but paper books have soul. I’ve probably only read five ebooks in my life. The used kindle I got from my son no longer talks with the system my library uses. Don’t know when (if ever) I’ll make the switch.

  8. Maggie Jean

    I like them both, and everything you say about paper books is true. Still, a book is something special, dust and all.

  9. You are so right about the benefits of ebooks, but the big problem is, I cannot display ebooks. I suppose I can (and do!) still collect them, but it’s just not the same as being able to look at it and hold it! Though I absolutely agree that I’d a million percent borrow a digital book than a physical one- it skeeves me out thinking of all the other hands that have touched a library book!

  10. Missed this post during the year, but yes — very much agreed on the latter two. Keeping books in good condition isn’t a problem with me, unless I leave them in the car. But as someone who veers toward minimalism, I like that I don’t have to worry about decluttering ebooks, and the fact that I can carry multiple ones with me on a trip…without adding a single bit of weight to my bag!

  11. I’m happy with ebooks for fiction but there are certain kinds of books where physical is better for me, cookbooks, for example. I won’t scream if a splash of sauce hits a paper page. But there also seems to be a lot of to and fro flipping pages when I’m making a recipe and I can’t work with that using an ebook.

  12. As my eyesight deteriorates with macular degeneration, I SO appreciate being able to change the font size on my Kindle. And, like you, I also appreciate being able to look up the definition of a word with a mere touch and hold.

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