Four bardback books on top of each other with the top one open

Make a Lasting Impression: Why Physical Books (Still!) Trump Ebooks

July 13, 2021

New Yorkers read a lot — we’re known to hoard our books. We use them to decorate our apartments. For some of us, our groaning shelves are more important than our television sets. And when you look inside our ebook libraries, we’ve amassed hundreds of volumes per Gothamite. We read as many as three to five books at a time — we are adept jugglers of fiction and non-fiction, career books, personal development, and inspiration, and maybe we squeeze in a poem between subway or bus stops. We dive into short stories during coffee breaks.

But are e-reader lovers missing out on advantages that come from physical books? Here are ten reasons that prove that physical books trump ebooks and why we at Bestype Printing NYC believe that paper rules.

1. Physical books are always “on”. Have you ever felt the anguish of opening up your e-reader or tablet and noticing that you have very little battery life left? Has your device’s battery died during your ride? Subway straphangers, did you remember downloading the book you wanted to read onto your device when you had wifi or enough bars before your train headed below the streets and into the tunnels? Is your transit wifi even working? Physical books never need to be plugged into a USB charger. They’re not dependent on wifi or a 4 or 5G signal. They are always ready to be read.

2. Physical books don’t emit radiation. Paper never emits eye-damaging blue light glare. Plus, while most people know that using screens before bedtime excites stimulation centers inside the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep, paper soothes. As we form words and hear our own unique voices reading into our imaginations, we enter a sleepy state of calm. Maybe turning each page invokes an ASMR-like response in us.

3. Pickpockets don’t steal paperbacks. Softbound or even hardbound books are not usually targeted for theft. You can feel safer reading print books on public transportation. Show off your book cover, but keep your personal electronic devices out of sight.

4. There are no speed limits while taking a printed book out for a test drive. Many studies have shown that if you’re a reader who skims and scans the page, paper is the only way to speed read. Speed-reading advocates think that human eyes scan electronic screens differently than how they interact with printed matter, making quickly absorbing facts more difficult when reading digital print.

5. Marked-up pages help the printed knowledge sink in. Even though most e-readers have ways of typing comments into a book’s file, it’s easier to recall ideas when they’re handwritten. There’s a long-understood mysterious connection that every writer and student knows — writing helps log information into both short and long-term memory. Underline text passages and argue with the author in the margins — it’s fun!

6. Physical book pages develop sense memories. If you’ve wrestled with the content and written notes in your printed book, your mind and even your fingers somehow recall where you’ve made your annotations. We retain tactile memory of the places in a physical book that we want to share with someone else. It’s easier and faster to find the point you want to make by thumbing through paper pages than trying to find your note in an e-reader search.

7. Nothing can replicate the smell of your favorite physical printed book. New books smell good. Old books smell even better (as long as they’re not moldy — store your older books well). E-readers don’t smell at all.

8. Ebooks can’t say “I love you”. You can’t thoughtfully inscribe a note inside an ebook’s cover. Instead, sentiments and enthusiastic notes are meant to be written across a printed book’s endpapers, preserved forever. Thus, books preserve precious memories of givers and gifts.

9. Ebooks are anti-social. There’s nothing shareable about e-readers. On the other hand, dust-jackets and paperback covers peeping out of bags on long subway or bus rides might introduce you to a new friend. Of course, you can always give your just-finished paperback to that new person you’ve just met!

10. Physical print books are easier to promote. Self-publishers sometimes have to resort to creative marketing tricks to get attention. You could subtly market your self-published book by cracking open its spine on the subway or in a coffee shop, holding it up at the perfect angle, and flipping through its pages. Look engrossed, surprised — laugh or cry! Your live interaction with your book in a public place might entice your future readers to buy a copy. This tactic won’t work with an ebook — dramatics will only create questions about your emotional health, not about what you’re reading.


Self-Publishing Books with Bestype

New Yorkers’ imaginations are always filled with ideas that can turn into many kinds of books. We know you have a book idea inside your brain. So, when you are ready to enter the world of self-publishing, there’s no local printing resource in NYC better than Bestype.

Our printing technicians are available at every step of your book project to make book publishing a breeze. When you’re ready to publish, we’re ready to print. So contact us today with your latest publishing idea, and let’s work together to bring your book to readers everywhere.


Image Credits: Unsplash @Creative Commons

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