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Print Books vs Ebooks: A Long Battle for Existence

Print books vs Ebooks: a long battle for existence



Abstract: One of the most significant human achievements has been the invention of books. When things are tough, we turn to books for comfort. As the pages turn, books open a secret gateway to a previously unknown universe. They give us solace when the going gets hard and work as an escape from reality. Thanks to technological advancements, paper books are no longer the only format available to readers worldwide. E-books have taken the world by a storm since their inception and continue to enthral readers with various advantages. But the ebook vs. printed book issue is far from finished, and it's just getting more difficult as time goes on. It might be difficult to choose one over the other, and the battle between digital and traditional books appears to be far from over. But which is better, e-books or printed books? Will future readers flip pages or swipe?


Keywords: Digitisation, Readers, Libraries, Technology, Publishers, Bookworms.


E-books provide readers with a wider range of options than they would get in a bookstore. Books can be downloaded anywhere, anytime without going to the bookstore. They are made available in the native language of the reader anywhere in the world. Instead of the hassle of carrying multiple books, one e-reader can carry dozens of titles.


Though the question pops up that are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly as we did before the rise of digital texts and technologies? Why does text read on a screen differ from text read on paper in our brains? The truth of such concerns is questionable. Therefore, should we be concerned about dividing our attention between pixels and ink? According to laboratory research, surveys, and consumer reviews, many people miss certain tactile aspects of reading on paper that current screens and e-readers don't fully replicate. More crucially, they don't allow people to easily navigate extensive texts. Reading comprehension may be hindered as a result of difficulty locating information on a map. In addition to draining our mental resources while reading, screens may also make it more difficult to recall what we've read after we've finished. Another part of the research examines people's views on various forms of media. If they're not aware of it, many individuals approach computers and tablets with a mindset that is less conducive to learning than the mindset they bring to paper. Paper and ink may still be superior when it comes to reading long passages of plain text. There are more ways to read than text.


According to the 2019 annual report of the Association of American Publishers, publishers of books in all media generated over $26 billion in revenue in the U.S. in 2018, with print accounting for $22.6 billion and e-books for $2.04 billion. According to Meryl Halls, managing director of the U.K. Booksellers' Association, despite the fact that digital media has disrupted businesses such as news publishing and the music industry, consumers still enjoy owning real books. There is nothing like the scent, feel, and feeling of sitting down — with no electronic devices in sight. Those who love to read also like to flaunt what they've read. They enjoy keeping track of the books they've read. Print publishing still has a lot going for it – books never run out of batteries. Besides, they can be passed along to friends when done reading.


Publishers and authors feared that cheaper e-books would eat away at their print revenues, and retailers were struggling to stay open. In reality, the end of print books never came, at least not on time. Since e-books were predicted to overtake print books by 2015, digital sales have actually decreased sharply. Digital book subscription businesses like Netflix and Pandora have failed to convert bookworms into digital binge readers, and as a result, several have folded. A tablet and Smartphone use has led to a decline in sales of specialised e-reading devices. Young readers who are digital natives, on the other hand, prefer to read on paper, according to several studies.


There's nothing like a printed book; the weight, the woody scent, the feel, the look. ― E.A. Bucchianeri


As per the Adverts & Media Outlook, ebook usage continues to lag far behind that of printed books around the world. For example, in the United States, where ebooks are still quite prevalent, 23 percent of the population is reported to have purchased an ebook last year, versus 44 percent who bought a printed book. All formats will stand the test of time when it comes to the future of books; e-books will not be the death knell for printed books but rather a complementing product.


JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye author, who died in 2010 at the age of 91, detested the idea of his books being interpreted in any medium beyond the page and often turned down requests to adapt his writing for the stage and the big screen. The estate of J.D. Salinger has declared that the author's infamously limited body of work would be made available as ebooks for the first time after years of the author's estate refusing to allow publishers to digitise his writings. In February 2019, Matt Salinger, son of JD Salinger, revealed that decades of unpublished writing by his father will be released over the next 10 years, predicting that it will take five to seven years to finish assembling.


Stephen Fry, an actor, in 2009 tweeted, “One technology doesn’t replace another, it complements. Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”


The metaphor can be applied to ebooks and printed books as well. It's just a matter of time before print media succumbs to a similar fate to the internet-enabled mobile phones and laptops that are already threatening to overtake the market. The old-fashioned sheet and adhesive books, despite all of this, continue to exert their impact in society. In the same way that digital notes cannot replace handwritten pencil and paper ones, looking at words on a screen is just not the same as reading them on paper. Nothing will ever replace the thrill of holding a book made entirely of hand-lettered ink on pulp-pressed paper.



1.     American Scientific, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens”, (accessed on June 20, 2022). 

2.     CNBC, “Physical books still outsell e-books — and here’s why”, (accessed on June 20, 2022).

3.     The New York Times, “The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead”, (accessed on 28 June, 2022).

4.     Statista, “E-Books Still No Match for Printed Books”, (accessed on July 5, 2022).

5.     The Gaurdian, “Matt Salinger: ‘My father was writing for 50 years without publishing. That’s a lot of material”, (accessed on July 5, 2022).

6.     Twitter, “Stephen Fry”, (accessed on August 2, 2022).


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