The Only Appropriate Responses to the ebook vs Print Book Debate

There are so many opinions on ebooks vs print books. Like, so many. Every so often, on one of my librarian or bookish Facebook groups, a silly meme about the alleged superiority of one over the other pops up. Members of the given group take sides, inevitably, championing for either team ebook or team print book. I’m surprised no one has printed raglan shirts proclaiming their side yet.

I’ve given up on really engaging with these conversations. There’s no use. I should know—I used to be staunchly against ebooks and touted my superior opinion around with a higher degree of holier than thou than there are pages in War and Peace. I finally came around to them on my own. It started with commuting in Washington, DC and using my iPad as a reading device on the train because it was lighter than most books and I was carrying it with me, anyway. I soon became tired of the glare on the screen and the weight of the iPad became an issue when I tried to hold it one-handed, standing, and stuck between stations because of God-knows-what catastrophe-of-the-day (trust me—DC’s metro system is a mess). So I asked a friend to check out their Kindle Paperwhite and was pretty blown away by it. I bought my own a few days later.

Now, I switch happily between print and ebooks. My Kindle has made borrowing books from the library inexpressibly easier, despite the fact that I work at a library and therefore am at one almost every single day. Ebooks are also easier to handle at the gym, I’ve found. It’s generally better for traveling. On the other hand, I can more easily annotate print books, still enjoy how they feel in my hands and the way they smell, and the process of browsing a bookstore’s or library’s print book collection is much more enjoyable to me than an ebook.

So if you find yourself in the comments section where two opposite sides rage at each other over ebooks vs print books—as if the preference of someone else here matters so much to everyone else—I give you the following options with which to respond:

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Throw one of these babies into the comment war and you’ve basically created world peace.

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