Electronic Books vs. Traditional Books: A Battle to the Death?

Posted by – September 18, 2014
Categories: Literature & the Arts

Since ebooks first appeared, people have debated whether or not this new media would come to replace traditional books, arguing over the advantages and disadvantages of each. The seemingly polarized dispute can sometimes make readers feel that they have to choose one side or the other, but is this really the case? Will the rising popularity of the ebook necessarily lead to the death of its predecessor?

These days, four out of five publishers produce both electronic and physical books. Why? Because an ever-increasing number of people switch between the two. According to a 2014 study, while 56% of adults read ebooks, only 6% do so exclusively—meaning that traditional books are not in any danger. The same study also showed that readers who use ebooks, as well as those who prefer them, both tend to read more than people who favor print versions. Similarly, Pew Internet found that in a year, people using both formats will read an average of 24 books, while those who don’t read ebooks will average only 15.

So it turns out that the digital revolution in publishing isn’t phasing out physical books, but simply allowing audiences to read more! Instead of the “battle to the death” scenario that many people are fearing, what we’re actually seeing is a new form of publishing that complements the traditional one. It appears that the cherished physical book will survive, though now alongside digital technology, which is constantly developing and improving, making books available in a wider array of formats.

Today, 50% of Americans own either a tablet or an e-reader, but even without these devices, people can still read digitally. Free apps, such as Kindle and Nook, allow audiences to access ebooks from a regular computer, and some readers even use their phones. And if none of these options is available, finding physical books should never be hard!

So instead of asking, “Will ebooks replace traditional books?” shouldn’t we be wondering why readers would choose between the sensory advantages of print and technological advantages of ebooks when both are in reach?

In honor of International Read an Ebook Day, North Atlantic Books is offering 50% off ebooks from now until next Friday! You can browse through our selection of fictionwellnessculture, and other genres, as well as new releases in the “Shop” section of this site.

About the Author

Marina is the Marketing & Digital Programs Coordinator at North Atlantic Books. After living in New Orleans and Amsterdam, and exploring a couple of continents, she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at NAB. She's passionate about astrology, nonfiction books, and sustainable living, as well as all things metaphysical.