E-Books vs. Printed Books: Which are Better?

The ongoing discourse between printed books and digital books is a subject that has persisted through the ages. Within this ongoing conversation, there exist advocates for both the tangible allure of printed books and the convenience offered by electronic books, also known as eBooks. This split is driven by diverse preferences and perspectives, making it a topic that continues to captivate the literary world, and now, let us delve into the difference between both.

What Is A Printed Book?

Printed books encompass the physical manifestation of literary content, consisting of pages or sheets of paper bound together within a cover, often made of cardboard. [1] These books contain a diverse array of fictional and non-fictional works, incorporating information, narratives, poetry, and related content. Essentially, a printed book represents an extended and formally published composition of literary material.

Structured within a specific arrangement termed a ‘book’s layout,’ a printed book typically comprises a front cover, a back cover, and the main body content. The front cover prominently features the book’s title, subtitle, author’s name, and the publishing house’s identity. The inner part of the front cover is commonly left blank. In contrast, the back cover includes essential elements like the book’s ISBN (International Standard Book Number), an image of the author, along with their introduction. Additional details such as a barcode, pricing information, and excerpted reviews might also be incorporated.

Printed books are accessible both through online and offline channels. They can be acquired from local bookstores, markets, and libraries. Furthermore, they can be procured from various e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and others. After utilization, readers also have the option to resell the book, often at a favorable price.

What Is An E-Book?

When a book is made accessible in a digital framework, it is classified as an eBook. In this context, the term ‘available’ refers to the book being presented, stored, distributed, and read in an electronic layout. An eBook encompasses textual content, graphics, tables, and more, all of which are designed to be legible on flat-panel or touchscreen devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, or eBook readers. It is a non-editable literary work characterized by a reflowable layout, suitable for reading on diverse electronic devices with adjustable viewing displays. These can be effortlessly obtained by downloading them from the internet.

An eBook is equipped with a hyperlinked table of contents, facilitating users to navigate by clicking and instantly accessing specific pages of interest. Moreover, the eBook reader, commonly found in the form of software applications for PCs or laptops, is an interface that provides a touch-sensitive screen and integrates various features to enhance the reading experience. [1] This platform also mimics the appearance of traditional paper, making it comfortable for reading in well-lit surroundings. Additionally, the brightness levels of the eBook reader’s display can automatically adapt to ambient lighting conditions.

Furthermore, in the realm of eBook readers, software applications and dedicated e-reading devices are available. For instance, Microsoft Corporation offers a reader application for use on computers. Furthermore, prominent eReader devices like Amazon’s ‘Kindle’, Barnes and Noble’s ‘Nook’, and Nuvomedia’s ‘Rocket eBook’ offer similar functionalities and are dedicated platforms for digital reading experiences. 

Differences Between A Printed Book And An Electronic Book (E-Book)

The following sections will elaborate on the distinctions existing between printed books and eBooks:

1. Layout Format: Printed books are bound by a static layout that remains unalterable once the printing process is complete. Conversely, eBooks feature a reflowable layout, meaning that the text dynamically adjusts its formatting to fit the device’s specifications, user preferences, and the reading application. As a result, eBooks grant readers the flexibility to tailor their reading experience according to their individual requirements and choices.

2. Book Material: A printed book takes on a physical form, encompassing text, images, graphs, and more that are directly imprinted or typed onto paper. In contrast, an ebook is the electronic counterpart of the familiar printed paperback, configured as a digital file that can be read using an eReader device or within a compatible application.

3. Cost-effectiveness: Compared with printed books, ebooks tend to be more cost-effective; nonetheless, the upfront expense for acquiring an eReader device surpasses that of traditional printed materials. Research has also unveiled that e-readers come with a higher price tag, signifying a premium cost that consumers must shoulder. Furthermore, additional expenses might be associated with e-readers, such as certain annual charges.

4. Protective Covers: Printed books are equipped with a back cover that serves both protective and reader-engaging functions. These covers can take the form of hardcovers or softcovers (paperbacks). Conversely, ebooks feature a front cover that is prominently showcased on online shopping platforms to captivate and entice potential visitors.

5. Footnotes and Hyperlinks: Footnotes serve as an avenue for providing supplementary information in a printed book, elucidating the content under focus. On the other hand, ebooks utilize hyperlinks that whisk readers away to endnotes, where they can delve into the accompanying details and seamlessly return to their original place within the text.

6. Speed of Access: Once purchased, you can instantly engage in reading with printed books. In contrast, ebooks might entail a brief loading period before you can commence reading.

7. Storage: Printed books, due to their physical nature, necessitate designated spaces for storage. Conversely, ebooks find their repository within the confines of devices or applications, alleviating the need for physical storage arrangements.

8. Weight and Portability: Printed books can exhibit varying weights based on their volume. In contrast, ebooks maintain a lightweight presence in comparison to their physical paperback counterparts, making it feasible to hold them comfortably for extended durations.

9. Sharing and Reselling: Printed books can be easily shared among friends, acquaintances, and family members. Additionally, they can be resold after use. However, in paid ebooks, access is generally restricted to a single account, limiting its sharing potential to the extent that sharing login credentials becomes necessary for the purpose.

10. Searchability: Locating specific information within a printed book can prove challenging, often requiring searches through the table of contents or glossary. In contrast, ebooks facilitate effortless searching through a simple device-based query, promptly generating a comprehensive list of all relevant mentions.


Both printed books and electronic books exhibit notable distinctions across various key factors. Printed books evoke nostalgia and a sense of romanticism, whereas e-books address the demands of contemporary readers. The surge in e-book popularity can be attributed to their accessibility and convenience in obtaining information. Conversely, the ongoing discourse highlights individual preferences in expressing one’s passion for reading and in time allocation. E-books offer instantaneous access to knowledge, diverging from the emotional attachment linked with physical books. This discussion underscores the intricate interplay between tradition and innovation within the realm of reading.


[1] https://keydifferences.com/difference-between-printed-book-and-ebook.html

[2] https://kitaboo.com/top-10-advantages-of-ebooks-over-printed-books/

[3] https://leverageedu.com/blog/ebooks-vs-printed-books/

[4] https://theprintauthority.com/ebooks-vs-printed-books/

[5] https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0812/e-books-vs.-print-books.aspx

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