The Pros and Cons of E-Books

Books have finally made their way to the digital age. The introduction of e-books has completely transformed the way that people read and publish books. An e-book is an electronic version of a book, typically read on an e-reader. If you are writing a book, plan to hire a ghostwriter or are considering self-publishing, it is important to decide if you will make your book available in electronic format. While e-books have made some aspects of reading easier, they also have drawbacks.

Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of e-books.


Easily Readable

Because e-books are read using a computer or e-reader, their format is more fluid than that of traditional books. Readers can alter the size of the font or zoom in on specific sections. This makes the format ideal for young children and people who have trouble seeing. In addition, readers don’t have to worry about the lighting conditions. E-readers provide a lit background so that books can be enjoyed easily no matter where you are.

Cost Effective

These days, newly released print books can cost $30 or more. Companies such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble make e-books available at a much cheaper rate. This is because the reader is not paying for the printing and shipping costs that are associated with traditional books. In fact, most e-books can be purchased for $10 or $15, or even cheaper on sites that carry older titles. While the initial investment in an e-reader is substantial, it quickly pays for itself by making millions of books readily available.

They Double as Audiobooks

E-books are easily shareable because most of them instantly transform into audiobooks with the click of a button. Whether using a computer or the latest e-reader, users can hear some of their favorite stories out loud, even if they’re alone. This is something that simply isn’t possible with print editions.


Readers who opt for the e-book format can easily carry hundreds of books with them. This is ideal for people who travel often. Rather than picking just one book to bring along, readers can choose from a variety of e-books.

Environmentally Friendly

The introduction of e-books has drastically reduced the number of pages that are actually being printed. E-books are environmentally friendly because they do not require any paper or ink. If you’re an eco-conscious reader, you can still have an extensive library and not feel guilty about it. 



The introduction of e-books has added yet another challenge to copyright law. This played out on a national level when Amazon removed copies of several books, including George Orwell’s Animal Farm, from users’ libraries because it did not have the authorization to sell them. This example highlights the fact that e-book readers do not actually own the books in their e-readers, even though they’ve purchased them.

No Physical Copy

One of the reasons some people resist e-books is that they value their hardcopy libraries. Many readers feel that nothing can replace the feeling of holding a physical book, turning its pages or even taking notes in it. In addition, electronic copies leave your entire library collection open to computer glitches and bugs.


Authors and publishers are now facing a problem similar to the one directors and music executives faced in the ‘90s. The sharing of files becomes very easy when they are in electronic form. Therefore, people who have not paid for e-books are still getting a hold of them. This makes it even more difficult for authors and publishers to be profitable. For the reader, it can be frustrating that it is technically no longer legal to “lend” your favorite book to a friend.

Formatting Issues

Digital Rights Management (DRM) has become a big problem when it comes to e-books. Each e-book publisher provides its books in a different format and has put up safeguards to prevent users from changing that format or reading the book on a different device. For example, if you purchase a book for Amazon Kindle, but later buy a Nook, your library may not transfer over. 

While e-books have many advantages, they also have a number of drawbacks. Because e-books are a relatively new medium, their future is uncertain. If you are writing a book, plan to hire a ghostwriter or are considering self-publishing, it is important to follow the trends of e-books. This will help you stay informed about your best options when it comes to publishing. 

Related Links 

Resources for Free E-Books 

More about E-Readers 

Self-Publishing E-Books 

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