The evolution of printing has come a long way. In ancient times books were written on papyrus. We then got around to making paper books, and Johannes Gutenberg fundamentally changed the world with the printing press.
Today, technology has come so far that physical books can be viewed as a burden! Why carry a book when you can just have an e-reader?
The rise of the Kindle and other e-readers has led to a heated debate among readers. Purists cling to the idea of paper, while others are quicker to embrace technology’s presence.
But is one medium better than the other?
On the Twitter poll I posted the clear favorite was for paperbacks:
Let’s look at a few factors before jumping to conclusions on the Kindle vs. Paperback debate.
E-readers come out ahead here overall. 95% of books listed on Amazon will have a cheaper Kindle price than paperbacks. They also don’t require shipping.
Also, there are oftentimes deals where Kindle prices are dropped to $2.99 or so for promotional purposes, whereas paperbacks could never go that low.
The one caveat is used books. I don’t mind buying used books off Amazon, though it isn’t ideal. They are going to be significantly cheaper, as you can often get books for less than $1.
It’s amazing that technology has come so far that carrying around a paperback is a nuisance. But it is, relative to a digital book. It always boggles my mind to look at a Kindle, and know that it can store as many books as a home library.
Having a paperback or digital book at home is not inconvenient either way. If you need the book it will be an arm’s length away either way, but the advantage is that digital books don’t take up space.
Here at Masculine Books we don’t read for pleasure–we read for wisdom. When reading, we want to extract as much knowledge out of a book as we can. For this purpose, physical books are superior.
Reading a paperback is a better way to absorb information. An article published in the Guardian cited a study which found that, “readers using a Kindle were ‘significantly’ worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story.”
Physically having a book in your hands increases your immersion into the reading experience, and helps your brain to focus more.
Moreover, with a paperback you can write notes in the margins, attach sticky-notes to passages of interest, underline passages, dog-ear pages and more. You should definitely use my simple note-taking method too.
The value of a book is not solely based on cost. Rather, it is based on how much you get out of a book, relative to the time and money that goes into it.
It also includes the lasting effect of the book. For example, a physical book will always be on your bookshelf. You can whip it out at any time or loan it to a friend.
How long are you going to have your Kindle book? Will you transfer it to each subsequent device, and will the notes transfer?
It’s also a pleasure to just stare at your bookshelf, look at a book and think about the experience of reading it. Especially those massive books like War & Peace.
And the Winner is….
It’s a Tie!
I had no intention of choosing a definitive winner to this debate. Both mediums have their merits.
Kindle: Perfect for light reading and for traveling purposes.
Paperbacks: Great for dense, non-fiction books that you want to deep dive into.
I love my Kindle. It’s an amazing device that has helped me read a ton over the last five years. It stores hundreds of books and articles that I can bring with me anywhere in the world. But after reading some paperback books lately its clear Kindle is just not the same.
There’s something inherently powerful about reading a paperback book. It’s not a spiritual thing, but it’s that mental connection.
My recommendation is that you should buy a Kindle or an e-reader of some sort. I don’t think reading a phone is suitable, but if you get the Kindle App (Free) you can read on devices like an iPad.
With the increasing mobile world we live in, a lot of people are choosing to travel often. Whether it’s a commute by public transport to work or a plane-trip around the world, having a reading app is a convenient way to get more reading done.
But to really get the most out of a book, you need the physical book. So, if you’re going to read an important paperback book I recommend getting a paperback book.
One option is to buy the Kindle version first, then get the paperback. Mike Cernovich said he did this on a recent Periscope video. That’s something I may consider in the future. You should too.
(image via NewsDay)