Where Should I Read My Books? Digital vs. Physical? Kindle vs. Apple Book? Paperback vs. Hardcover vs. Market Mass Copy? Here’s Our Recommendation

I’m a book lover like most English graduates and because we live in a digital era, there are so many ways to read books. Nowadays, you can read books on apps, online, in audio with audiobooks, e-readers, and the old fashion way, through physical books. There are so many ways to read a book that it could be a bit overwhelming. So without much delay, here is what this English graduate recommends.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.

George R.R. Martin

Digital books vs Physical books

My personal opinion: both if you have the money for it. I personally love it when I’m reading a book and I happen to have both the digital and the physical copy. Depending on my schedule, I can start reading a book with a print copy at home, and then I read my digital copy while I’m in line at Starbucks, or before class, and on my lunch break. Having it on my phone makes it easier to skip the pages without the risk of damaging a print copy. It’s also easier to carry when it’s on my phone. But! And it’s a big butt, I love the smell and holding a physical book. So I carry both.

Digital books could also be cheaper than buying the physical version. There’s always a bestseller in every genre in the kindle or apple book store on sale for as low as 2.99 or even lower. I subscribe to Bookbub, and I recieve a daily newsletter on ebook deals. Also most New York Bestsellers are $16.00 on Amazon when the digital copy goes for 9.99.

Physical copies could also be a cheaper option than the digital option. Most digital copies when they aren’t on sale go for 9.99 and the print copy could go for 8.00. This happens when publishers print huge quantities of books and fulfillment centers are forced to lower their prices to get rid of stock. Most public libraries also sell mint to good condition used books as low as .50 per book. A bargain! The other day I bought Their Eyes Were Watching God, Steve Jobs, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, all for .75 at my local books store. BAR-GAIN!

If you need to read a book IMMEDIATELY, the digital copy is seconds away versus minutes or hours away to your nearest bookstore.

Did I mention public libraries? Public libraries are free and a useful tool to take advantage from. Use their online database, place your hold, and pick it up when it’s available. Most public libraries also have digital book databases where you could borrow a digital copy for 3 weeks at a time. Is anyone as pumped up as me?

Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.

Stephen King

The Pros of reading Digitally:

  • It’s cheaper. Digital books go as low as .99. Also if you visit the Kindle store or Apple books, they have bestselling books retailed monthly on sale starting at $1.99. Also, there are hundreds of free books at your disposal.
  • You can have a full library of books at the tip of your fingertips. Digital books don’t take a lot of space on your smartphone or e-reader (2MB to get technical). After you finish a book, you can quickly buy the next book in the series within seconds.
  • Portability. You already love your smartphone, so why not read it there? Or even if you have e-reader, they are much more light weight and easier to read with bigger font.
  • Night mode. Most e-readers have night mode where they use a black background and white font. This helps you read better at night, without affecting your sight.
  • Highlighting. I can easily highlight my favorite quotes without damaging my book and also easily find my highlights.
  • Discretion. You could be reading Fifty Shades of Grey in public and not be embarrassed!
  • You now also borrow digital books from your local library. Ask your library if they offer this feature.

The pros of reading on a physical book:

  • Focus. Printed books give you focus while digital copies offer links and videos that could distract your reading. Or if you are reading on the Kindle app, you could be interupted by a notification.
  • Feel your progress. You could literally feel your progress as you pass each page.
  • Used books. You could buy many good condition used books for $1-$5 online or at your local thrift shop.
  • Batteries not included. They don’t require charge to be reading a book.
  • Studies show, you absorb more information with physical books. Until I find the actual study, not the article that speaks about this study and doesn’t provide a works cited page, I call this bullshit.

Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.

J.K. Rowling

Now that you told me books vs. e-books, which one? Kindle books or Apple books? Paperback, Hardcover, or Mass market paperback?

Kindle Books

Kindle books is good for those who have a kindle. If you have a kindle, you can not only read it on your Kindle but also on your computer, tablet, and your smart phone. Once you start reading the book, no matter the device, it will automatically ask if you wanna start reading where you were last on. 

The kindle app on the other hand, has a better user interface than any other app on the market in my opinion. The Kindle app tells you how long a book will take you to read when it measures the rate in which you read. The kindle app also has a unique program called X-Ray. X-Ray is a tool that organizes the plot, characters, locations, and terms used in the book. The kindle app also has a notebook option where it organizes all of your highlighted passages in one place. My favorite tool: Insights. This tool tells you how many hours you read on the app. 

Apple Books

Apple books is a simpler version of Kindle apps without the features of X-ray and typical time to read. Although, what I like about Apple books is that within the app, you can purchase the books without leaving the app. On the kindle app, you don’t have access to the kindle store, only the prime books that come with your membership. I also enjoy the user interface for Apple books. It’s simpler and easier to use.

Apple books is more for people who are in the Apple ecosystem and could benefit from having the Books app pre-installed and signed in.

Paperback

  • The feel. I love feeling of a paperback book.
  • It’s always cheaper than the hardback cover.
  • What I hate about this version, is that it’s easier for the pages and the cover to be damaged. If a paperback book is ever going to be in the bottom of your backpack, good luck!

Hardcover

  • The look. I love the way a hardcover book looks, but when it’s in your hand, reading might be a bit uncomfortable. Publishers also spend the time and money to make the hardcover design underneath the jacket, sleek and beautiful.
  • Hardcover books are also always less likely to damage itself in a backpack or when it’s dropped.
  • It’s also a lifesaver. Hardcover books have always been a layer of armor that could save you from gun bullets. I don’t want to jinx anything, but anything could happen.

Mass Market Paperback

These are the small 6×5 books that are sold at grocery stores, bookstores of course, and airports. These books are super convenient for portability and the low price of 4.99. The only downside of this is that they are too dang small for my liking.

Who’s the winner?

In conclusion, it doesn’t really matter where you read. What matters is that you are actually reading. Don’t worry too much about where to read from. Try reading a book in every way, and see which one you like. Also, don’t read books from lists of bestselling books online or on the newspaper. There are many brilliant authors who aren’t on the bestselling book lists. Read books that interest YOU.

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami

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