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Why Digital Books Beat Physical Books


Photo courtesy of Glen Noble at Unsplash.com

I love to read. And I still hear the debate come up as to whether digital books are better than physical books. In my case, I love to read and I absolutely love digital books. Why?

I love to highlight phrases, sentences or whole sections. When I highlight I am thinking “if I was to read just the highlights of this book as a refresher, what would I want to know… what really mattered here.”

Now comes the great part…

You never know when you might want to recall your notes or where you will be when you want that information. Every highlight I have made is available from virtually any device. I simply login to my Amazon account (or Nook/Barnes and Noble for books I purchased there or on my original Sony Reader) and I can access the original texts with the highlights. Even better… to see just my highlights, I login to Amazon at https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights and, in a matter of seconds, I can be reviewing just my highlights from any book in my Kindle library. Brilliant!

If I want to make notes about sections or pages in the book I do so in Evernote or OneNote (especially when I want to write with a digital stylus.) I often paste the Kindle highlights into these digital notebooks and add discussion notes and questions if I am reviewing a book with friends. And the power of search makes even the handwritten notes easy and quick to find. In fact, the power of searching inside of notes, pdfs and documents has made the filing and tagging system less of a requirement.

When I read off my computer display I can easily zoom in or enlarge the text. This helps tired eyes. 🙂

And when I get tired of reading off a lit display and my eyes want and need a break… For this I am forever thankful for the E-Ink technology. Enter my Kindle Paperwhite (with the backlighting turned off, and in an area lit well enough to enjoy the “natural light on e-ink” view and not strain my eyes.)

Physical books are great too. I just find digital advantages outweigh them. And, speaking of outweighing them, the most dreaded boxes during our recent move were the ones labeled “Books”. Those boxes almost always outweigh the others in our move. My back was super thankful for the digital books. Our devices let us keep a massive library with us. The library and our notes are accessible on all our devices without adding an ounce to the load.

What about those of you who already have a big library of physical books and want to change them to digital? I know several who have repurchased their books in digital form. There’s a fairly new app called “Shelfie” that lets you take a picture of your physical books. If the publisher lets you have the digital version at low cost or no cost, you are then able to easily add it to your digital library. You can learn more here. You can get a free book when you sign up for Shelfie with promo code DAVJ1357.

From my first Sony Reader to my present Kindle Paperwhite plus the magazines I read on the Zinio app and everything I clip for reading in Evernote and OneNote, I am a digital guy.

Digital or Physical? What’s your preference and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter @DaveJaworski, Facebook or in the comments.

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