The literary world has changed. Quite frankly, the entire world has changed. Technology has completely permeated and eclipsed our culture… It’s everywhere! Something as traditional as reading can now be done with computers –I know right, madness! But seriously, it brings light to a question: what’s better? An e-reader or a good old fashioned book? Whether you’re a purist or a child of the postmodern age, perks can be said for both. So, before you buy your next read have a think about the medium you’re using: paper or paperwhite? 

It’s true, nothing can really compete with a traditional paperback book. I mean it looks good, it feels good –it even smells good! That new book smell will only ever be attributed to one thing: a new book. No kindle, e-reader or smartphone can ever provide you with the simple homely comforts of a physical paper novel. With that being said there are a couple of issues with strictly buying paperback novels in the twenty-first century. 

Environmental Issues 

It’s no secret that the good old fashioned paperback book can cause a lot of harm to the environment. First there’s the matter of the paper which traditionally requires trees to be cut down, which eventually leads to less trees, and less trees is bad for everyone, humans included! In recent years paper manufacturing has become more environmentally friendly with paper industries using recyclable materials and utilising less harmful ways of generating the raw materials. However, that’s not all. Paperback books also need to be printed and this process can be just as harmful to the environment as chopping down a tree. Ink can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere which can harm animals and cause astatic issues amongst humans.       

The Space

I’m not trying to shame the purist, because truth be told I am one. I love the feel of a traditional book, but I have started treating it as a luxury recently. Books also take up a huge amount of space, library’s aren’t exactly small buildings and I couldn’t fit half the books I want to own in my flat… It just wouldn’t fit!  

So as you can see this leaves us with a dilemma. We can’t possess the space or quite frankly the raw materials to only own paperback books, but don’t worry this is the twenty-first century after all.  

E-readers, Phones & Audiobooks 

There is so much technology out there now, technology which can actually change the mediums of literature. When you think about that, it’s actually quite remarkable. Whether it’s an e-reader, an audiobook or simply just a smartphone, reading has never been as accessible as it is now. Amazon kindle has become the Netflix of the literary world, a library in your pocket. 

An e-reader or phone never feels good to read on, at least it’s not the same as having that juicy paperback. I’ve devised a theory however, an idea that allows me to buy paperbacks but also make sure I keep my flat tidy, and of course look out for the environment. I’ll try and read a book for the first time via electrical means, through kindle or play books or indeed any other method of accessing the book without buying a physical copy. If I love the book and I’m sure to re-read it I’ll treat myself to a paper version of the novel which I can keep. I find it makes the book feel special too. I guess it also makes me sound a little elitist too… Only the best books are worthy of a place on my bookshelf!     

What do you think… should we read on paper or on a kindle paperwhite?    

What are your reading habits? Let me know down in the comments. Are you a paperback purist or do you love the flexibility of something like a kindle? I’d love to know!