In the book community, we can all agree that books are awesome. What’s harder to come to a consensus about is the best way to get books. Some say that libraries are the best, some only buy their books, and some prefer to read on an e-reader or another electronic device. And there are some bookworms (like myself) who like some combination of the three! Of course, I had to throw my two cents into the pot, so in this post, I’ll be giving you all the pros and cons of all three options. Perhaps you’ll be able to figure out which method is best for you! Why compare these three things even though I just said I like a combination of all of them, you may ask? WELL THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION, BUT I’M GOING TO WRITE THIS POST ANYWAY BECAUSE I LIKE MAKING LISTS.
(Before we start, I’d also like to acknowledge my privilege here, as I can afford to buy books and I also have a really great library in my neighborhood…unfortunately, not everyone has this, which sucks.)
- SHINY NEW BOOKS (Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks of Moana now every time I say the word shiny.) Seriously though, the feeling of holding a brand new perfect book is so precious!
- You can keep your books forever! It’s nice to be able to keep your books if you really liked them because then you can reread them whenever you want.
- Supporting small businesses! I have an amazing indie bookstore in my area and I love being able to support them.
- The vibe—I just feel so at peace when I’m in a bookstore, and it’s basically my life’s goal to live in one.
- Having beautiful bookshelves is always fun.
- Fear of ruining books—the flipside of being able to get new books that have never been read before is that it makes me really scared to bend a page or mess up a dust jacket because NEW BOOKS ARE JUST TOO PERFECT.
- What if you don’t like them??? It really stinks if you spend money on a book and then you end up disliking it.
- Speaking of money…EXPENSIVE. Books cost a lot of money, especially new hardcovers!
- Books can be kinda heavy! They take up a lot of space and can sometimes be a pain if you’re bringing a large book with you everywhere you go. (Definitely not me…haha.)
- Library books are free!! This is seriously the best thing ever.
- Libraries tend to be really nice places to go. I love wandering around in the library, just looking at books. The environment is so homey and pleasant! And usually, there are chairs and things so you can sit and read or do homework or whatever.
- Sometimes libraries sell old books for like 25 or 50 cents!
- Did I mention library books are free???
- There are due dates—it’s not fun if you have to return a book before you’re finished it, and you have to pay fines if you don’t return a book on time.
- Sometimes library books are messed up—I’ve checked out books before that had missing pages.
- You can’t keep library books forever! (Unless you just don’t return them, I guess, but don’t do that.) If you want to reread, you have to check the book out again.
- Sometimes other people check out the books that you want and you have to wait. (I’ve had Leah on the Offbeat on hold for such a long time and I’m still fifth in line for it.)
- Depending on how good your library is, probably at some point you’re going to try to find a book, only to discover that your library doesn’t have it. (Gasp!)
- Libraries aren’t open all the time. At least I haven’t heard of any 24-hour libraries? That would be pretty cool.
- Libraries are more environmentally friendly—twenty people reading the same copy of a book uses less paper than twenty people getting their own copies, so less paper!
- CONVENIENCE. With e-books, you can basically fit all the books in the world in your pocket.
- E-books are generally cheaper than physical ones.
- You can get e-books immediately at any time—you don’t have to go out like you do for a store or a library.
- THE BEST OPTION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. Libraries are good, but e-books actually don’t use paper at all, so hooray for less deforestation. (Although I guess charging a device uses up energy, which contributes to climate change, so idk??)
- Reading e-books just doesn’t feel the same. Some people are totally cool with e-books, and for some, reading is just a completely different experience than holding a paper book in your hands.
- Depending on the device you use, the print can be really small. Sometimes when I read on my phone I have to zoom in every time I turn the page because it’s too tiny.
- Looking at screens for longer than necessary is probably not the best for your brain. It also makes it harder to go to sleep if you’re on your phone right before bed
- People might misinterpret what you’re doing. Especially if you’re a teenager like me, people tend to get annoyed when you look at your phone, even if they have no idea what you’re doing. You run the risk of having an adult get mad at you if you read an e-book in front of them, much more so than if you were to read a physical book. It’s not fair, but people (mostly adults) often jump to the conclusion that if a teenager is on their phone, they must me looking at social media or doing something else that they disapprove of.
- You have to charge devices, whereas actual books do not need to be charged.
All in all, I enjoy reading books in a combination of these three mediums, as they all have good points and bad points. Let me know in the comments: do you prefer bookstores, libraries, or e-books?