What’s better: physical books or ebooks?

There seems to be a great debate going on. Or maybe it’s just me. I don’t know anymore. What’s better: a physical book, an ebook, or an audio book?

I come down firmly on one side of this debate: whatever you’ll read!

Here is why I’m making the shift to ebooks.

Take up less space

Let’s be real: most of our houses aren’t big enough for huge libraries. If you have an office or built in book shelves, maybe a library is right for you. But anymore, bookshelves are for decoration, not books.

Also, huge libraries never get read. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to browse and pick out a book, but huge book shelves mean a lot of books don’t get read. I’ve tried to kill this habit in my life by not putting books on the bookshelf until they’re read. But this means I also have stacks of books… all over.

By eliminating book shelves and putting books on the kindle, they’re in one spot, and you’ve opened up so many more possibilities with your home and while on the road.

Can be taken anywhere

Now with my kindle I can take the book wherever I like. Before I was forced to make a trade-off, now it’s easy to carry along. On trips it use to take me longer to make book decisions than it actually did to pack my clothes (granted, this might be because I pack my clothes in minutes). Now, this anxiety is gone! Too many times on trips I wished I had the “other” book.

Also, no matter your days plans, a kindle is small enough to take along. Have a commute? Take your kindle. In a waiting room? Perfect for a kindle.

Save Money

In the past I’ve thought I wanted to physical book in case I wanted it for further research or to pass along to someone else to read. But, reality is, this rarely happens. What I’ve decided to do is when I really love a book, I might still buy the physical copy to share or display on my bookshelf.

If on average an ebook costs $3 less than a physical book (and there is research out there that shows it’s usually a much wider gap), you could buy 1 out of every 5 books read twice and still spend the same money. And if you’re eager to buy 1 out of every 5 books, you probably need to look at your reading strategy. Sure, you’re reading good books, but are you really reading intelligently? Reading intelligently means challenging yourself.

So, what books should you buy? Only buy books you want to loan. Only buy books that are conversation starters. Only buy books you want to wear out. How many of those are on your bookshelf? If you’re honest, maybe a handful (a literal handful).


I think many of the articles and discussions on this topic make super far reaching assumptions and conclusions. I think we’ve focused on all the wrong things in the discussion and it should really focus on what will get you reading more.