Which Is Better A Book Or A Kindle?
assorted-title book lot placed on white wooden shelf
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Which is Better: A Book Or A Kindle?

Jennifer Prince January 15, 2023

This one is for the bookworms out there, you (yes, you!) who wishes they liked to read, and those finding themselves deep in a very real reading slump.

The debate of Kindle versus good old-fashioned book has strong arguments for both sides. You might have already made your mind up, but if you’re deliberating making the plunge into the world of e-readers, read on! Although I wish I could say turn the page to find out more, below are the pros and cons of the traditional book versus a kindle e-reader – from someone who has tried both.

Just like with a novel, let’s start at the beginning.


The traditional staple of recording knowledge, stories, and just about anything else you could ever think of, books have been around for a long time, and for good reason. The first known printed book takes us as far back as the Tang Dynasty in China in 868 AD. Holding a physical book simply feels right for a lot of people, even if they can’t quite put their finger on why.


  • Books are affordable and therefore accessible. Especially when buying second-hand or borrowing from a library.
  • It means some time away from electronic screens that seem to dominate 21st century life.
  • Buying local means supporting independent book sellers, keeping them very importantly open.
  • The community around bookshops and libraries is a social aspect often overlooked.
  • No chargers are needed; books are useful anywhere and everywhere.
  • Book shopping or sharing is an excellent pastime, especially when you get to gift a book to a friend or relative, and even better if you can give them one of your favourites.
  • Pencil notes in the margin – need I say more?
  • Two words: BOOK COVERS! Who doesn’t want a pretty bookshelf?
  • Secondary to the last point come bookmarks, which are nice opportunity for some craft or personalisation.
  • The cosy smell of a new book – this one is rogue, but if you know, you know.


  • They are more difficult to read in the dark.
  • For the War and Peace fans out there – they can be much heavier and bulkier to transport. Remember, every kilogram of holiday luggage counts.
  • One font size fits all: if you book has small font you might end up with your nose, quite literally, in the book.
  • Books are easier to damage, especially when well-loved. If you aren’t a fan of dog-eared books or broken spines, maybe it’s time for a switch-up. That being said, when looked after, books can last a lifetime.

See also: Top University Libraries In The UK

Now for the new (ish) kid on the block…

Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash


Designed to make reading more practical, e-readers such as Amazon’s kindle have become increasingly popular. First appearing in 1998 with the release of the Rocket eBook, e-readers are a common household item. Especially popular with commuters and those that travel often, lets see whether the pros outweigh the cons…


  • Accessibility is a huge plus for the kindle, with the option of an audio narration and customisable text size, they have the adaptable features books lack.
  • Light an easy to carry, a kindle is like having a library at your fingertips.
  • Lots of books can fit on one device, or one Amazon account, so you can book shop without leaving your cosy bed.
  • Just like a bookshop, you can get all manner of texts on an e-reader, from romance novels to biographies to recipe books.
  • Kindle’s book wishlists are also great places to keep track of your ‘to be read’ pile.
  • Easy to hold, and backlit for reading in the dark, it is so simple you don’t even have to turn the page or switch on a lamp. And for those of you that hate breaking the spine of a book; you don’t have to!
  • Star ratings and book previews mean you can see what others thought of a particular book and even read a sample yourself before committing to buying it. After all, life’s too short to waste time on bad books.
  • Annotations, highlighting, and underlining words or sections is still possible, just in a neater way (so it feels less sacriligeous).
  • No bookmarks can fall out and lose your page. No folding over of page corners either!
  • It is much harder to damage an e-reader than a book, at least in my experience.
  • Personalisation can skill be king for e-reader owners. Think stickers, kindle cases, etc. My case is a Van Gogh design!
  • If you enjoy a book on a kindle, you can always buy it for yourself or a friend – feel free to enjoy both, you don’t have to pick a side.


  • There’s no avoiding it, e-readers are expensive! Although the books on them are cheaper, and eBooks tend to last around 5 years, it would still be more cost effective to buy second-hand books.
  • It might be dimmer, but the screen of an e-reader is yet another screen adding to the ever-growing world of technology.
  • They may have a long battery life, but a charger is still needed, which is another thing to remember on particularly long trips.
  • Kindle’s work in black and white, so coloured covers or images are not going to look as good.
  • Whilst it may not be applicable to all, some e-readers come with the option for internet searches or apps, which can be distracting. However, this is easily avoidable depending on the model you choose.
  • Environmentally speaking, there is some debate around which option is better for the planet. In short, book manufacture produces less CO2, and library books are undoubtedly the best option for an eco bookworm.
  • Amazon, the producers of the most popular e-reader, the Kindle, are increasingly under criticism, with the first UK strike of Amazon workers announced for 25th of January in Coventry.

Where does this leave us?

Honestly, this is a debate I still have with myself. As an English Literature graduate who used to *hate* reading texts from my laptop, I’m surprised by how much I like my kindle – it’s compact, straightforward and works for me.

This doesn’t mean, however, that I have given up with my trusty old books, oh no. I still have a small library of a bookshelf to be proud of!

I think my main attraction to a kindle was how easy it is to move, with a few too many books overflowing in not quite enough space, it was time for a change. And at the moment, if I really enjoy a book, am lucky enough to receive one as a gift, or just fancy a second-hand purchase, of course I’m keeping it. It has to be said though, I’m glad I can keep up my love of reading whilst maintaining my bookshelf to a manageable size. Although it might be a faraway dream for us Gen Z’ers (and millennials, we see you) to move out of home, it would be handy to be able to easily move my book collection with me when that day comes.

In short, a happy medium works for me, so while I’ll happily sit on this fence to read from my paperbacks and e-reader, what do you prefer?

Read next: What Were The Most Popular Books Of 2022?

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Jennifer is a Manchester-based freelance journalist and has been writing for Freshered since its launch in November 2021. She graduated in December 2022 from The University of Birmingham with a BA (Hons) degree in English Literature, where she spent much of her time writing and reporting for Redbrick Newspaper. A lover of variety, Jennifer covers topics ranging from university advice, live music and theatre reviews, to news and current events, but seeks to expand her work to cover sustainability and the climate crisis. Her aim is to make journalism more accessible to the everyday reader. As a GirlGuiding Volunteer in her spare time, Jennifer is never one to be boring. When she’s not writing she can often be found with her head in a book, trying a new craft, or on the dancefloor.