Why Do I Prefer Reading Digital Books?

I find that I am out of step with my wife and most friends regarding the choice of format for reading a book. They prefer a print book either hard-cover or paperback. I prefer reading a book on my iPad or my iPhone.

Price. The price of a digital book can be a half to two-thirds of the price of a print book. Many digital books are free, especially those where the copyright has expired. Promotions can result in prices of $1 or $2 per digital book.

Highlighting. This can be done with the touch of a finger on the words of a digital book. No need to carry or find a pen or pencil. The colour of the highlight can also be selected.

Notes. These can be made and saved using a pop-up keyboard. A mark or icon is inserted on the page where a note is made. A touch on the mark or icon brings up the note after it is saved.

Font. The size of digital print can be adjusted for old eyes. Types of fonts are usually offered along with several background colours and screen brightness. Adjustment of line spacing is also available.

Bookmarks. These can be added to any digital page with the touch of a finger.

Dictionary. The touch of a finger on a word brings up the meaning of a word.

Search. The whole of a digital book can be searched for a word or words.

Portability. I carry over 150 digital books in my shirt pocket on my iPhone. The same books are on my iPad. For some reason digital books tend to use very little of the storage capacity of my iPhone or iPad. No longer do I have to pack print books to read on trips.

Record. If needed, a complete list of all highlights, notes and bookmarks for a book can be generated with a finger touch.

Weight. My iPhone and iPad are lighter and more portable than most print books.

Availability. Using WiFi, a digital book can be downloaded in seconds.

Block and paste. Portions of a digital book can be blocked and pasted into an email or a text message or saved as a note.

Lending a digital book is not possible. This may be a blessing as some people fail to return a print book.

I have not changed my wife’s mind. So the above may be of interest only to those considering digital books.

I rest my case.


  1. David Collier-Brown

    I find a Kobo has a superior screen (very fine-grained black and white) to my phone and laptop, and the prices are often better.

  2. I concur with these reasons from Huffpost:

    Print books are:

    nice and soft to the touch
    better at conveying information
    yours for life
    physical reminders of your intellectual journeys
    great to share
    [bookmarks etc actually better in print]
    have jackets
    fairer to writers
    better for your health


  3. I suspect that the experience differs, depending on the type of book in question. I think it is unwise to conflate the reading of fiction and consumer titles with consulting and researching using law books. The choice of ideal device might also be determined by the type of content being consumed.

  4. There may be some ergonomic reasons to prefer book to read dense text…in context and also faster to see the whole page in 1 screen. An iPhone is not that great to look overall, detailed technical drawing if it’s highly detailed and dense with markings, text.

    Quick checks for overall “look and feel” vs. constant zooming in and out for checking fine details can be useful, vs. just a large print out or huge digital screen.