January 2, 2020 The Print Authority

EBooks vs Printed Books: Which are Better?

In the case of eBooks vs. printed books, have you ever wondered which are better? The answer may surprise you.

Some people might think that it is an open and shut case whether books or eBooks are superior. But then again, the fact that you are reading this indicates that there are two sides to this debate.

As a printing company, we certainly like books, but at the same time, we strive to innovate and embrace change, so this requires us to look carefully at the arguments both ways.

First off, in measuring books against eBooks, it is important to define what factors we are comparing exactly. The arguments over the superiority of books or eBooks seem to break into several categories:

  1. Convenience and Ease of Use
  2. Retention of Information/Learning
  3. Impact on the Environment
  4. Cost

Surprisingly, there are good arguments on both sides of all categories listed above. Without getting too academic, here is a short list of pros and cons for eBooks vs. books.

EBooks vs. Printed Books: Discover the Better Option

Ease of Use


eBooks can be used in most places so long as you can keep the reading devices charged. Most eBooks can even be read in the dark. It is also super convenient to download an eBook since you can have it in seconds so long as there is wifi or a good cellular signal.

Most eBooks will hold your place, so whenever you open your device, you can automatically see where you stopped reading. eBooks can also contain thousands of books at once, allowing you to carry an entire library with you at all times.


Books require no power to operate so that you can read them easily in any environment with light. You don’t need power to “recharge” a book. You can also easily write, highlight passages, or dogear pages in a book, although many book lovers may frown upon.

Many users report having more eye strain reading eBooks than physical books. In addition, it is much easier to work with multiple books and sources (for example, to write a research paper) when dealing with physical books. Is it also usually easier to keep track of specific pages or passages in physical books since the pages never change.

Retention of Information/Learning


There are some specialized situations where eBooks outperform physical books. Some of this depends on the personal preference of individual readers. In addition, some readers with physical limitations, such as poor eyesight or dyslexia, may find electronic text easier since they can magnify the font and enjoy some of the interactive features of eBooks.


Many studies confirm that reading comprehension is better with physical books than eBooks. Although young people may read more quickly on an eReader, the speed, along with the potential distractions of links, scrolling, and ads usually mean people remember and retain what they are reading better in books. Many readers also enjoy the touch and feel of holding and turning the pages of a book.

Impact on the Environment


Taking it at face value, you would think that eBooks win when it comes to the environment. However, evaluating the environmental impact of books and eBooks is complicated. For one, it depends on how many books you read on an eReader.

eReaders take a lot more carbon to produce than books do, so studies indicate you need to read between twenty-two and one hundred books on a reader to make it more environmentally conscious than hard copy books. In addition, you need to consider that eReaders need to be recycled properly, have to recharge regularly, and contain some toxic metals requiring proper disposal.


When you buy a book, you can get it new or used, and used books are certainly more environmentally conscious than new. Borrowing books from a library is even more environmentally friendly. In addition, when you are done with a book, you can sell it or gift it to the next reader…a feat, which is very hard to do with eBooks. Lastly, if a book reaches the end of its life or falls into disrepair, you could recycle the book.

Additionally, many printing companies who produce books follow “green” practices that prevent harmful chemicals or excessive amounts of waste from entering the environment.



Typically, eBooks are priced lower than buying brand new books. This reflects the fact that there are no printing costs with eBooks.


You don’t truly own eBooks when you buy them. For instance, if your eReader breaks or your account is shut down, you lose all the books you purchased.

Physical books can be borrowed, gifted, or sold. You can also borrow books easily from the library. Also, in the case of a book that has special value to a reader or is an antique, it can be retained for a lifetime without worrying about eReader compatibility or eBook formatting. Lastly, books have some decorative value as they are placed in bookshelves for later use.

Which Should You Use?

There are obvious pros and cons for both eBooks vs. books, and both media are in high demand. Interestingly, recent articles point out that sales of both books and eBooks are increasing.

Additionally, there are more new ways of printing and distributing books than ever before. Self-publishing is extremely common, and there are more niche publications than ever.

If you need help with design or printing a book, please don’t hesitate to contact us at The Print Authority. We have decades of experience and will be glad to help!