In this blog post I’ll compare printed resources to digital ones from a reader’s and student’s point of view.
If we start where everything starts (or ends) for a student: money. E-books are definitely cheaper than printed books. You also don’t have to worry about P&P. They are all easily accessible, either through online stores (printed, e-books) or through a local bookshop (printed), however e-book downloads are instantaneous and you have to wait (at least) a couple of days for the printed book to arrive. If you like to read books while travelling or commuting, e-books would be more appropriate. Having a digital reader such as kindle or a tablet saves space in your bag (but don’t forget to charge it!) and makes your bag lighter, especially if you used to carry more than one book. According to Pew Research Center’s (2011) study, when sharing books with other people or reading with a child, people prefer printed books.
As a student I often have to do research prior to writing my lab report or an essay. I find digital articles more easily accessible, they are easier to find and most importantly, you can use ‘the search option’. This helps me identify if article is relevant to my research and saves me a lot of time.
However, when I use books for studying I prefer printed. I can put multiple books side by side on my desk, paste sticky notes on them, label relevant pages etc. This is much more convenient than having multiple windows opened on my small laptop screen.
I don’t think anyone should take sides when it comes to comparing printed and digital resources. The best way in my opinion is to use whichever you like the most or to take advantage of both.