Debate Time: eBooks vs. Printed Books

Hello, my name is Rachel E. Kim, and I am an intern writing on behalf of the Fairfax Library Foundation. Welcome to “Debate Time: eBooks vs. Printed Books,” a blog comparing the advantages and disadvantages of ebooks and printed books. Let’s dive in.

Despite today’s technological revolution, printed books still dominate literary material sales. Why is this so? Despite printed books costing more and depreciating natural resources through the use of ink and paper in production, the feeling of nostalgia and tangible pleasure that comes from reading a physical book leaves readers wanting more. Additionally, while most ebook users are unable to share their book collection with other users, printed books can be shared with anyone, maybe even be given to someone as a meaningful gift. Moreover, the experience of buying a printed book is not only a lasting memory for the reader but also keeps the lifeline of retail book shops pumping.


Regardless of the advantages surrounding printed books, some readers prefer the ebook for solid reasons, such as easy accessibility and the ability to store hundreds of books in one ebook device. Unlike with printed books, readers of ebooks can choose the font size and type, a feature beneficial for the visually impaired, as well as take advantage of the audio options, a feature helpful to the hard of hearing. Additionally, ebooks contain reader interactive features such as linking, bookmarking, and highlighting. However, despite these advantages, some users claim they get easily distracted by their ebooks’ diverse variety of features and access to the internet, and complain about visual fatigue from staring at a light-emitting screen for an extended period of time. Moreover, some older users complain of the complexity that surrounds navigating through ebooks as well as the need to constantly charge their devices.


Everyone has their own unique way of reading books. Regardless of how you read your books, Fairfax County Public libraries cater to all preferences. Visit your local library and select from a variety of both physical and electronic books today!

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