Digital Reading vs. Print Reading – [PROS & CONS]

Screen Vs Print

Print Reading vs Screen Reading | Online Reading vs Offline Reading | Digital Reading vs Print Reading | E-Books or Print Books | Traditional Reading vs Digital Reading

Everyone wants to know, Is it better to read on paper or computer? Is it better to read a book online or to read a book on paper? What are the disadvantages of eBooks? Are digital books better than paper books? Reading medium matters. You should know the pros and cons of ebooks and paper books. This article will deeply describe and cover all aspects of this topic.

We are living in the modern age of IT. It has made our lives easier. But on the other hand, there are some bad effects of using this digital equipment. Using technology in the wrong way can leave negative effects on our mental and physical health. When we talk about reading on mobile, tablets, laptops, or computer screens, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages.

Digital or eBook reading is faster than paper book reading in many perspectives. People learn more things by using e-books on mobile or laptops as compared to printed books. Reading a printed book is an old and natural way of reading. But paper book reading has its own advantages as it is last living in your memory. Digital reading can cause harm to human health as compared with hard copies.

We need to know about the effects that happened while reading from different sources. In this article, I will explore all advantages and disadvantages of reading digitally and printed books. Good and bad effects of screen reading and their solutions.

Digital, eBooks, or Screen Reading

Screen reading is a digital/electronic/soft copy of text/images. Books in the soft form are known as e-Books or electronic books, and we can store and carry them on our smartphones, laptops, tablets, or USBs.

Printed or Paper Reading

Printed books are conventional physical books as hard copies that we can touch. We can hold it in our hands.

So let’s discuss the topic of ebooks vs printed books in detail.

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Digital Reading vs Paper Reading:

Advantages of Print or Paper Reading (Pros)

1. You Absorb More Information

Readers of printed books absorb and remember more information than readers of e-books on a screen. The reason is that a printed book is fixed in physical views and dimensions. When you read a line of text or see any pictures in printed form, it sketches in your mind.

You may don’t agree but, when we seek information from a printed textbook, we memorize it because we know it will not available every time and everywhere. But when we search for any information on the internet, we mostly don’t try to memorize it, because we think that we will search for it again if needed. Paper reading can help better to recall the previous lesson.

2. You are Less Distracted

Reading from printed books, you are less distracted by the other functionality as compared to screen reading. Our mobile phones and laptops also have thousands of other features. We have interesting games, movies, and songs which can attract us. When we are reading from digital devices, we can distract easily. There is no internet connection, notifications, tunes, or chats in the printed books. e-Books are also connected to the internet and they can also distract readers.

3. No Worries About Eye Problems

Printed paper reading is more comfortable to read and easier on the eyes. Study shows that mobile and laptop screens have bad effects on the eyes. So, experts suggest not using such devices for long hours. Also, blue light from your screen can harm your eyes and can affect your sleep. On the other hand, printed books don’t have any reflection of light.

4. Keeps Your Privacy

Every activity you do on the internet is being captured. The online website and companies that share free content in the form of e-books, news updates, social media apps, or any other way of delivering content may record and capture your privacy like location, passwords, system requirements, camera, and mice, etc. They use this data for marketing and analysis purposes.

5. No Misuse Issues

When we are reading from printed books, we don’t need any internet connectivity. And when we are connected to the Internet or using a digital device for reading, we can distracted and misuse it. There are thousands of eye-catching ads and pornographic material is available online to everyone. So, studying printed books have no risk of misuse.

6. Real Feeling

It amplifies the joy of reading. You have books in your hand and you can arrange and decorate them on the shelf. People often develop personal connections to the physical books they engaged in.

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Disadvantages of Print or Paper Reading (Cons)

1. No Access Anywhere at Any Time

The first disadvantage of printed books is that you can’t take them anywhere you go. It is very difficult to carry books at any time and any place.

2. Requires Stocking Space

Printed books require stocking space. If you are a book lover and reading books is your hobby, you will have hundreds or thousands of books at your home. You will feel a lack of storage space. But soft copies don’t require additional physical space to store.

3. Difficult to Carry

Printed books or notes are difficult to carry with you. You need extra space and energy to take it in your hands and bag. There are chances to lose, burn, or tear a book.

4. Requires Light to Read at Night

You can’t read a printed book at night without external lighting. There is proper lightning required to read. Dim or high light can harm your eyes.

5. Fix Content

The content of the printed books, notes, newspapers, novels, or any other papers is fixed. There is no update or improvement possible. We could not get a new version instantly.

6. No Customization

Printed hard copies have no functionality for customization like zooming, changing font sizes and styles, coloring schemes, brightness control, changing dimensions, etc.

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7. Costly than Soft Copies

Hard copies are more costly than soft copies. Soft copies just required Ctrl+V and Ctrl+V commands. If you buy printed books online, they will cost higher than e-books.

8. Reading at night could disturb your partner

As there is required proper lighting for reading printed books and you have a roommate. It can disturb his sleep at night.

9. No Backup

You can’t take a backup of printed books. No copy-pasting option is for hard copies. You need to buy a new book as an alternate or in a situation of loss.

10. Time Consumed on Purchasing

Whether you purchase hard copies online or go to a bookstore, it takes time to have them at your home.

Advantages of Screen/E-Book/Digital Reading (Pros)

1. Easy Accessibility

e-Books or Soft copies are easy to access anywhere at any time. All the time we have our mobiles in our pockets means we have reading material in our pockets. We can download it on our mobile phones, tablets, or laptop computers. Whenever we have free time, we can open e-books on our mobiles and can start reading. When traveling on a bus or train, waiting for someone, walking in a park, or resting on a bed.

In order to carry hundreds of printed books from one place to another, you may require transportation. But with soft copies, you don’t need even an extra device to store them. You already have a mobile or laptop with up to GBs or TBs of storage and online access to millions of sites. You can access a book containing thousand’s pages with a single click.

Some e-Readers for e-Books come with the option of offline accessibility. This allows us to read it even when there’s no internet connection available. eBooks are portable and lightweight.

2. One Device, Many Books

Another great advantage of reading e-books on digital devices is that we have to arrange only one device and we can access and read even millions of books on that device. There is no limit to reading books on one device. After reading, we can delete old books and can download another.

3. Huge Collection on Storage

Today, mobiles, laptops, and other storage devices come with GBs and TBs storage space. E-book sizes are in Mbs. Mobiles can store hundreds of books at a time. On other hand, there is no limit to online reading articles and books.

4. Never Out of Stock

e-Books are in digital form. There is no chance of a shortage in stock. We can make any number of copies of one book.

5. No Extra Light Required to Read on the Screen

Screen Reading doesn’t require any light. Screens already have their own brightness. We can read in dark even on our blanket without any light on.

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6. No Physical Space is Required

Digital books are in binary form. So it doesn’t require space on a shelf or on the table. It can be stored in our mobiles, laptops, tablets computers, or in e-book readers.

7. Easy to Search and Jump to Specific Parts

Electronic book readers have the functionality of random searches and indexes. We can search any topic, line, or word easily from a search box. We can jump to a specific page number by hitting a single button.

8. Affordable Cost

No paper cost, no paper printing cost, no packaging cost, and no shipping required. So, digital content is very cheap to buy. Most books, newspapers, magazines, and websites are free for the public. We can read or download it free of cost.

9. Easy to Backup and Share

e-Books and digital content are easy to share with other people. We can take online or local backups. We can copy some text or pictures and can make our own notes easily without self-typing. Sharing a book with other friends from a distance is no issue.

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10. Easy to Customize Look

It is possible to customize the look of the screen. We can increase the font size, zoom out or zoom in on the page, can change font style, adjust brightness and change the background of applications.

11. No Extra Time is Required for Purchasing

We can purchase e-books or can read articles without requiring any extra time. We can download e-Books in a matter of minutes. As you are reading this article free of cost, you can read information online without any cost and waiting. We don’t have to go to the store to buy them or wait for delivery.

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12. Options For Enhancability of Knowledge

  • Easy to Update: Digital content is easy to update, there is no need to destroy a page and rewrite it for updating.
  • Built-in Dictionaries: e-Books contain built-in dictionaries to translate.
  • Comment or Complain about a Mistake: We can comment online and can complain about a mistake. It could be solved for everyone, called update.
  • Translate into Different Languages: e-books and other online content translations are easy. We can translate text to our desired language for reading.
  • Text to Speech or Speech to Text: Kindles have the functionality to speak the text. Kindle is a series of e-readers designed and marketed by Amazon. We can listen to news, books, articles, and blogs online. Text-to-speech is a great advantage for blinds.
  • Delete, Highlight, Shrink or Expand No fixed content size and display. We can delete any line without affecting pages, and highlight and mark some parts of the text.
  • Can Watch Videos About the Topic: e-Books have enhanced opportunities for learning. We can watch a video on mobile or laptop for better understanding.

Disadvantages of Screen Reading E-Book/Digital Reading

1. Distractions

As e-book readers, mobile phones, laptops, and PCs have other functionalities and apps, one can be easily distracted. Interesting games, social media apps, and online websites can attract us while reading. Distraction is the main disadvantage of screen reading.

2. Misusing

Mobile and other devices could be misused. Especially for teenagers, it is very dangerous. There are a number of misleading apps and other activities available online for misusing and wasting time. We need proper caution to handle such situations while using digital devices.

3. Deletion Issues

If we don’t have a backup and our important notes and books are deleted permanently, it becomes difficult to recover.

4. Internet Issues

If we read books or search for knowledge online, we need good internet service. When we don’t have internet, we will have no access to online content.

5. Eye Problems

Reading from computers and tablets can damage our eyes and muscles that support them, causing eye strain, fatigue, and headaches.

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck and Back Pain

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3. Safety Tips to Reduce Eye Strain from Screen Reading

In this age of technology in every department, there are uses for computers. People work on laptops for long hours. It is impossible to stay away from computer screens. As there are some disadvantages, we can control this by using it with caution. So, here are some suggestions for using the screen.

Control the brightness and contrasts: The most first tip is that you should control the brightness of your mobile, laptop, tablet, or other e-book readers. Brightness affects our eyes. When the environment light is bright, your screen brightness should be high. And when you are in dark, your screen’s brightness should be dim.

Use the eye-comfort option: Use eye comfort on the mobile and laptop. You can auto-set it for the night hours.

  • Take Regular Brakes.
  • Don’t use it while laying.
  • Look away from the monitor for 30 seconds, after every 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Keep at least 1.5 feet distance from the screen.
  • Use glasses if your eyesight is weak.
  • You can use computer glasses. Buy glasses that block blue light.
  • Use appropriate font size.
  • Zoom in and zoom out according to your comfort.
  • Minimize glare. Glare from light reflecting off walls and finished surfaces.


Is reading on paper better than digital?

Yes, a 2018 study involving over 171,000 readers found that it is better overall when people read printed books rather than digital texts.

Is it better to read a book or read online?

Current research suggests that reading online books and kindles is lower understanding as compared to paper books.

Is it better for eyes to read on paper or screen?

There is no doubt that paper books are the best option for your eyes if you want to avoid computer vision syndrome. You should not feel fatigued from reading print books as long as you’re reading in good light.

Why paper books are better than digital books?

First of all, they are eye-friendly. The second benefit is that they provide a more fulfilling reading experience that connects the reader to the book. There is no need to worry about glare. It is better of notes taking. Additionally, they require no battery power.

Is paper better for learning?

Yes, a book written by hand on paper is better for learning and the most effective way to study and retain information.

Is Dark mode better for your eyes?

Indirectly, a dark mode can reduce eye strain, but it can also provide some relief. When the light is dim, a bright screen is harder on the eyes.

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