Thursday, 24 October 2019 Digital vs. Traditional: Why ebooks are here to stay, but paperbacks aren't going anywhere either

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Ebooks vs. Paperbacks: Digital vs. Traditional

There's a few things about reading a printed book that nothing else can hope to replicate. That feeling of flicking through the pages, wafting that 'new book smell' as you do... It's hard to beat. But what about ebooks? Can digital editions of books compete with the physical alternative?

Ebook downloads rose to popularity a few years ago promising to revolutionise the way we consume the written word by offering new levels of convenience, accessibility and space-saving efficiency. But how have they fared a few years on, as traditional books seem to have remained so popular?

Ebooks vs. paperbacks

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the 'ebook bubble', and whether or not it has already popped after its surge into popularity just a few years ago. Kindle, Kobo and other mobile e-readers were at one point an incredibly fashionable accessory but it seems nothing can quite beat a physical book. Recent data has shown that physical books continue to out-perform digital alternatives even now, in a decade otherwise dominated by digital innovation and gadgets.

Ebooks do remain popular, though. They're a handy way to read on the go and offer a perfect solution to the age-old problem of having to limit the amount of books you can take on holiday. For avid readers the issue of bookshelf real estate can quickly become a pressing matter, but storing thousands of volumes on one tiny device is a neat resolution.


Some authors have spoken out about their reluctance to release their work to digital editions. However, beyond simply the modernity of it all, ebooks solve some very practical problems. The estate of J.D. Salinger, for example, has just recently decided to allow the publication of the author's work in digital editions after recieving a letter from a reader who's physical disability made it difficult to handle a traditional book.

Lots of ebook readers also protect your eyes by using technology such as e-ink, which mimics ink on paper to avoid eye strain. For those of us with poor eye-sight, there's always the option to increase the font-size too (a slightly more dignified alternative to holding a book uncomfortably close to our face to make out the words!).

It's worth mentioning that almost all of Lion Hudson's books are available in digital versions. Simply search for a book and click the ebook version. You can find over 800 Lion Hudson ebooks here.

If all this talk of paperless books has you worried, browse our latest and greatest paperbacks here!

Traditional books in a digital world

In 2019 we're always looking for ways to develop new and interesting technologies that improve our lives, increase accessibility, or make things more convenient. More than anything, new technologies are fascinating - often surpassing the Bladerunner-esque dreams we might have had a few decades ago.

Even the Vatican is embracing technological change by developing a 'Click to Pray eRosary' device that tracks prayers and encourages the tech-savvy faithful in their spiritual endeavours. But why do printed books maintain such a strong market share?

Despite the many benefits of ebooks, it is worth mentioning a few of the reasons that people continue to love reading the printed word.

1. We're all trying to show off

Meryl Halls, Managing Director at the Booksellers' Association, told CNBC recently that she thinks one of the most significant selling points for a paperback or hardback is being able to display is in our homes after reading it. In fact, I would wager that we've all got a few books on our bookshelves that we've never actually read past the first page!

2. Judging a book by its cover

Going to a local bookshop and flicking through the first few pages of a book is a wonderful feeling, weighing up its value from the look of its cover and the first few words that catch your eye. It's all part of the process, and something quite unique to the printed book.

3. Books are sticky

Getting locked in between the pages of a book is the perfect way to switch off, forget the rest of the world for an hour, and get completely lost in a story. Good books are notoriously 'sticky' - once we get reading its difficult to put them down. There's a few less distractions than when reading on an iPad or mobile phone. In a world where everything is connected to everything else it's often a blessed relief to disconnect and go 'offline' for a moment.

4. Take a book, pass it on

Sharing is caring, and it's no different when it comes to reading. Recommending a book is a great way to introduce friends to new ideas and new authors. Recieving a well-thumbed copy of a friend's favourite is a wonderful thing.

How to find your next favourite ebook

Whether you prefer a paperback, a hardback, or a digital edition, it's hard to deny the convenience of an ebook. And it's even easy to find an ebook that you'll love, with all of them listed online for you to browse and download at any time.

At Lion Hudson we're proud to offer over 800 ebooks to be downloaded and read on-the-go! You'll find all of them on our website here, or by searching for them on your favourite ebook store.