Two Reasons Digital Readers Are Better Than Traditional Books

As someone who loves to read, this is a question that has come up for me in the past. Are digital books really the wave of the future, or are they just another passing fad? Books in their current form have been around for hundreds of years and seem to work pretty darn well. Are digital technologies like the Kindle and Apple’s iPad really going to supplant paper books as the preferred reading method for most people?

Here are a couple of my impressions about the advantages that digital readers have over traditional books after reading regular books for decades and digital books on my Kindle for about a year:

1. Digital Books can be Free

This was one of the main reasons I bought a Kindle about a year ago. I love reading the classics, and these books are largely in the public domain. When you buy an old book, Moby Dick for example, what you are really paying for is the service of having that book printed up in a readable format for you. If you have a digital book reader, you don’t need that service anymore.

2. Highlighting and Note Taking

When I read, I like to mark up my books. This means I’ll underline, highlight, take notes in the margins, and bookmark pages. Digital book readers let you do this too, but I think there is a distinct advantage for them here. When I have highlighted dozens of passages in a book, I can usually find them in a snap on my digital reader. With a regular book, I have to waste several minutes flipping through the pages one by one until I find the underlined passage I am looking for. You can also export all these highlighted passages to your computer in a text file. This is invaluable for quoting large passages.

So there you have it. I’m not saying that digital book readers are better in every way, but those are two distinct advantages that I have found.