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Are e-readers better than printed books?
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E-readers are more durable, easier to care for, and last longer than paper books

E-readers prove to be the lifeline for avid readers as they last longer and require less care compared to physical books. Because of their composition, e-readers are less anxiety-inducing than paperbacks.


The current generation all but lives on the internet. As a result, to keep up with the times, technology is advancing at the speed of lightning, making everything available at the click of a button. Books are no exception. E-readers, like Kindle, allow for the storage of an average of 2000-3000 books at any given time, which is logistically not possible with physical copies, unless with reference to a library. While it not possible to lug around an entire library, the books within it can be read immediately on a kindle, making it a much more viable option for readers than a physical copy. With the battle between E-readers and physical books constantly in motion, the debate arises about which one is more durable.

The Argument

Books offer a break from reality. It’s a safe haven, away from the routines of life; this is one of the most common answers received from book lovers when asked about their passion for reading. Moreover, most readers prefer to have a physical copy of the book they are currently reading in their hands to love, cherish, hold and in some cases, even smell. But the 21st century has not proved to be favorable to physical books for several reasons, a major one being its shelf life, allowing e-readers to swoop in and grab hold of the market. Physical books made of paper often tend to age alongside their readers. They, too, show signs of neglect when left unattended for long periods of time, reflected through the tearing, crumbling and yellowing of its pages, cracked spines and in extreme cases, even booklice. E-readers, usually composed of metal and plastic, do not face any of these issues, which infinitely increases its sustainability. Most of them are even waterproof, easing any fear of water damage, allowing for a comfortable read on the beach, should anyone choose to do so. Because e-readers are so durable, they last longer and are much easier to care for than paper books. A reader doesn't have to worry about ripping pages or tearing up the covers of their books by throwing them into a bag or carrying them around. One can simply buy a protective cover for their E-reader and toss it in a bag without fear. Their durability, longevity, and easy maintenance make them far superior to paper books.

Counter arguments

E-readers like most other electronic smart devices are vulnerable to viruses and hacks. If an individual’s e-reader were to have a virus, it could result in the loss of numerous books which have been bought. For a more serious case, it could affect the device itself, which would be a much greater loss. Hacking of the e-reader could cause sensitive and private information of the owner, like credit/debit card details to be leaked which would put the individual at a huge risk. These problems do not arise when dealing with physical copies of books.[1] E-readers are also just as prone to damage as physical books; just in a different way. For example, a cracked screen from a fall can render thousands of e-books unreadable in a single stroke, as opposed to only one physical book receiving minimal damage, if any, from such a fall. Age and prolonged use can also wear e-readers down. Not only do electronic devices tend to become outdated very rapidly in this day and age, they can also get bogged down with the more data that is added, which slows the device and can even cause errors. So e-readers are not necessarily more durable or longer-lasting than physical books.



[P1] E-readers do not age like physical books. [P2] They are a much more sustainable choice.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] E-readers age just as quickly, if not quicker than, physical books. [Rejecting P2] E-readers are susceptible to viruses, hacking attempts, physical damage, becoming outdated, and digital errors.


This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 19:48 UTC

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