Ask the Readers: Do You Prefer Ebooks or Printed Books?

By Ashley Jacobs on 11 February 2014 (Updated 18 February 2014) 108 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Ashleigh, Elizabeth, and Lynda for winning this week's contest!

There are many great things about ebooks, and there are many redeeming qualities of a printed tome. Ebooks are relatively cheap, paper-free, and easy to take where you go. Traditional books, as physical objects, are easier to share — and many people simply enjoy the tactile experience. It really depends on how you like to read.

Do you prefer ebooks or printed books? What are your reasons? Are there certain situations where you would grab a printed book, and others where you would download a digital version?

Tell us how whether you prefer ebooks or printed books and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For extra entries:

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Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, February 17th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 17th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Mary Happymommy

I prefer printed books.

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Giang Nguyen

Definitely ebooks! So light and easy to carry around. They are also cheaper!

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Glen

I do most of my reading it while traveling, so ebooks are superior.

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SerenityNow

Printed! I'm a library and bookstore fanatic.

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Lauren

printed books always! i love having a book collection.

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Jennifer

I like physical books because I'm very "out of sight, out of mind."

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Kristine R.

I prefer paper books. There is just something about holding a book in my hand that I enjoy.

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Guest

I've reluctantly weened myself off physical books. My current collection requires a full extra room of storage which is particularly expensive in the Boston rental market. I'm slowly weeding them in the hopes of eventually limiting myself to two floor to ceiling book cases.

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DK

I love my ebook! It allows me to have a variety of different reading material at my fingertips at all times. And is much easier and lighter to carry in my purse than books. The ebook that I own also has tablet capabilities which allows me to be connected when needed.

Cookbooks are another story....I prefer paper versions. I like having the book open to a recipe when cooking and enjoy the depth of photos that I do not see when viewing online.

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Gregory Palermo

Although I can appreciate printed books, and I once had hundreds of books in my, I now strongly prefer E-books. They don't take up valuable space in my home and I can carry dozens & dozens of books with me all all times, in my pocket, on my phablet. I can read at anytime and anyplace and never run out of reading material.

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Chris

I prefer the eBooks...less warehousing space taken and easier to transport.

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Cathie

I think I prefer real bound books, but lately all I've read is e-books (or books on CD.)

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Liz

I love ebooks, especially since I can get them from the library. That way I never have to actually go to the library or worry about late fees. Plus, they are so much lighter and convenient to carry around, so I find myself able to get a lot more reading done!

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lostAnnfound

I'm starting to lean more toward preferring my Kindle. I have had it for three years and it gives me the opportunity to take many different books in a small package with me when we are traveling. I do still go to the library to borrow books for my book club readings.

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noel

I prefer a real book for the sensory sensation of handling it

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Ashley

Honestly, both have a place in my life. I tried completely converting to digital books, but there is something about opening that regular paper book that excited me. So, I'd say 7 out of 10 books are digital and the rest are regular old books.

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Eboni Dunbar

I like both e-books and printed books. I think its a convenience factor for me. I own a hard copy of a Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and I own a copy of the ebook. I read on the ebook because I could read it anywhere. I can't cary ten different books around and start reading when I'm in line at the grocery store but I can easily download the ebook and read and sync my progress across devices.

I still love the printed word and generally thats how I prefer to read.

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katie

Both! I love ebooks for their portability, but I love handling printed books as well. As good as ereaders are, I'm having a hard time seeing how they could ever be as aesthetically appealing as a well-designed physical book.

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I prefer printed books. I like to have the physical book in my hand and I can easily take it with me, WIFI or battery power not needed.

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Susan

I prefer an actual book for long reading sessions, especially since I work at a computer all day. That being said, I have to say the convience of always having a library with me is great too and I use my Kindle every day. I also kids using more e readers than acutal books.

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Tricia Kolsto

I prefer my kindle over print books for convenience (I can carry 3500 books, patterns etc.) - however, one thing I miss about paper books is there is nothing quite like the smell and feel of a brand spanking new paper book.

Thank you for the opportunity to win!

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Nina

I like the physical feel of a printed book better but there are some instances where I would buy the ebook instead. Just the other day, I was at my local bookseller and they had a new fiction book (hardback) for almost 30 dollars. Needless to say, I went with the Kindle version instead.

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Aaron

Definitely ebooks! Who wants to flip pages - what a hassle! :)

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Lauren

I prefer printed! Much easier, and more motivated this way!

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Gina

Printed books. I like the feel of paper and it's easier to tell where you're at in the book.

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diane conover

Used to be a big Printed Book reader now I have a Kindle so I'm a big Fan Of E-Books it's so easy to download and start reading right away !

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Ashleigh Gunter

I prefer both e-books and print books. I love e-books for when you are on vacation, traveling or even at the waiting room at the doctors. I love print books because I love holding the actual book itself and being able to place my bookmark in there til I pick it up again. I'm trying to get the same book in both print and e-book. Thanks for a great giveaway!

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I prefer printed to ebooks because you don't have to rely on variables beyond your control: power, wireless connectivity and a user-interface learning curve. With print, you just flip to the first page and read!

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Amanda

As the daughter of a librarian, I thought I would always only love printed books. But it turned out to be the librarian himself who bought me a Kindle and now I love reading on it. It doesn't disturb anyone else if I read late into the night. But if I especially love a book, I'll always still buy the printed copy to have on hand.

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Andrea

I prefer books when I'm home, but ebooks when I'm traveling. Best of both worlds.

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Diane

I like both. I prefer ebooks for reading novels. It's easy to carry my Kindle or ipad mini and always have a choice of many books available. It's easier on my eyes, because I can enlarge the print.

But for books where I'm trying to really learn or absorb something I prefer actual paper books. I'm not sure why, it just seems easier to tag certain pages & go back & forth from one thing to another. I know my kindle apps have that ability, but it's just not the same.

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Weston

Definitely E Books all the way. Got a Kindle as a gift almost 2 years ago. After spending a few days trying to figure out how to graciously return it I decided to give it a try. Got completely hooked. Love being able to carry around hundreds of books in one light device. Particularly since I am usually reading two books during the same time frame. One for pleasure and one for education/business.

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I nearly always prefer printed books. But when I was living a board a sailboard for a month, I was glad to have an e-reader. i wouldn't be strong enough to carry enough books for the trip.

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Kate

I love printed books. There is just something about holding a real book, turning the pages, and having the satisfaction of seeing your progress through a printed book that isn't there with e-books.

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Anu

I prefer printed books. It's much more comfortable to fall asleep on a paperback than an e-ink screen!

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Elizabeth D.

I love real books but the ease of getting a library book onto my kindle from home is great!

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Sarah

Love the ease that ebooks provide, but there's nothing like the smell of a printed book.

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Elena

I prefer printed books

Donna Freedman's picture

I prefer printed books because, well, I'm old. But I won a Google Nexus at FinCon13, so I expect I'll learn to like reading e-books when I travel -- makes the suitcase lighter.

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Robynn

I love the feel and smell of paper books, there's just something so much more enjoyable about them. However, since I move a lot and can't take them with me, I only buy ebooks now. It's nice to have a huge collection on the go, but it's not the same as curling up with a thick paperback.

Donna Freedman's picture

The Rafflecopter won't let me in, so let me say that I am a Facebook fan.

Donna Freedman's picture

And since the Rafflecopter widget won't let me enter the tweet I just sent out, here it is:
https://twitter.com/DLFreedman/status/433313744488116224

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J. Pario

Printed!

Although I will use on-line versions of public domain texts for research. It's much easier to figure out where the swamp reference is in Middlemarch via searching a Gutenberg plain vanilla text than re-reading a thick Victorian novel!

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Kay

I love reading a printed book in bed. Or while drinking a cup of tea. Or at the beach...

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Andrew

I prefer printed books. However I am enjoying my new Kindle immensely and am slowly coming over to eBooks. I definitely love the portability and the space it saves on my already overcrowded shelves.

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Megan

I prefer printed. I love holding a book and physically turning pages.

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Pellehcim

Definitely printed books. There is something I love about turning actual pages and the smell of the binding..... And it is a magical feeling I get when I see all the books I have read lined up on my shelves.

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Denise

I prefer ebooks most of the time.

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Guest

I love both printed books and eBooks some Authors you just have to have the printed ones and also the eBooks and then for driving I love them on CD. So I would have to say I love them all

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A Florida Mom

Printed hands down. I have my nook that i take while traveling to fulfill my need to read.... BUT there IS NOTHING like holding a book in your hands while getting to the "good" part,..then rereading it again! Sigh...

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Susan D.

I prefer printed books. Ebooks are more difficult to gloss; I'd rather use a pencil in a physical book. Besides, paper and print please me.

That said, I use my ereader quite a bit--for free books, samples of books I'm interested in, and especially, for magazines--I love not having stacks of magazines around the house!

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Cheryl

'Ain't nothing like the real..thing..baby...'

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Anne

I like them both for different things. Ebooks are more convenient to carry around, and easy for reading novels or stories. I love my e-readers for reading stories on my lunch break at work, or for travel. It is heavenly to see dozens of books just waiting for me to read or re-read on my e-reader. But if you want to browse cookbooks and look for recipes -- nothing beats a real cookbook, that you can leave open on your counter, and not worry too much if you splash things on it, or worry that it will go to screen-saver just as your hands are full of bread dough or chopped veggies. Real books are also better for anything with pictures or maps or craft project instructions, you can't follow knitting instructions on an e-reader as easily, and it's tough to photo-copy your one working copy from an e-reader for your project, so that you can then scribble notes all over it. And really, nothing can beat a cheap paperback book to take along on a canoe trip or camping trip, you don't have to re-charge a real book. And perhaps it is old-fashioned, but I dearly love the feel of turning real pages in my hands as I snuggle into bed for the night. They both have their place in this world . . . I can't pick a favorite.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

I prefer whichever is cheaper!

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Jennifer

I prefer printed books. I like the feel of them in my hands plus if I fall asleep reading, they don't break if I drop them. My husband has a Kindle and loves it.

I buy most of my books from Better World Books online. They have great prices and support literacy programs with a portion of my purchase. I like that.

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Kim K

I'm a book collector so I don't just read books but like to keep them on the shelves. I like to be surrounded by books. There is nothing like the feel of turning a page. And I never have to recharge the book. Plus there is plenty of stuff that is not available electronically, the sort of stuff I collect.

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Jamie

For general reading the ease of an e-book cannot be beat. However, I prefer to have a hard copy of any reference or how-to book because it is much easier to look something up or prop open the book while working on a recipe/project!

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Jen

Printed. I've never even tried an e-reader and don't care to.

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Kim D

Can't beat the feel of a printed book!

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DMC

E-Books. I just don't have the space for keeping printed books and I rarely re-read a book although I do get them from the library on occasion. I have 1500 or so on my Kindle and I only bought a handful of them. There are TONS of freebies available. I have been known to buy a new book, read it, then sell it again. That is something I can't do with an e-book.

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Helen

I prefer printed books 100 %. The actual page design, type and cover, the foreward, dedication, background info, are part of the experience of reading a good book, and it doesnt require a machine that needs charged and powered up! Nice and FREE from the local library.

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OFG

I still prefer the real thing.

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Burkleigh

I'm in training to be a librarian, and I read mainly print books. There is a lot of historical importance that can be found in print books. I still think that ebooks are a great invention; they're often cheaper than print books and good for traveling!

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Monique

I like both types of books, but right now I give the edge to printed because they're easier to find at the library and to find cheap used copies. Ebooks definitely win when it comes to portability and convenience though.

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Jason

Printed Books!

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Barbara Yakich

I like both, but find it easier to read ebooks when I am on the go. It is easy to carry my iPad mini in my purse and read while waiting. Or when traveling , ebooks are lighter to carry. I still like the printed book, but have come to enjoy choosing books from the library and downloading them to read without leaving home! Cookbooks need to be print!

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emily

Printed. It weirds me out that in the future no one will be able to borrow a book from a friend or stumble upon a random book at a thrift shop.

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Betty

I'm a huge reader, but I need a paper copy of my book. I can browse on my ipad all night, but I need a physical book to end the day. Love my library! #WBAsk

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Kat

VASTLY prefer real books! E-books have certainly saved me from overweight baggage fees, and I love that I can take a thousand books with me on long, dreary international flights, but they do not hold a candle to real books. You can't read them in the bath without worrying, they are never quite as comfortable visually, and if you drop them it can get terribly expensive. Not to mention that infuriating pop-up dictionary that ruins the reading experience again and again. I do love that they are so much better environmentally, and that they are so easy to highlight. I really wanted to love them with my whole heart, but no. Real books still rule.

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Bethany

Since I don't have an eReader, I'd have to say printed.

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Verygarza

As a librarian and advocate of reading in general, I have to admit I prefer print books. Most of my day is spent in front of the computer and I find it soothing to curl up on the couch with a print book and get some sort of (weird) satisfaction seeing my bookmark work its way towards the end!

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KF

Definitely ebooks. My kindle is light and I always have multiple books at my beck and call.

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Laura Larkin

I love my e-reader because it's convenient and I can keep multiple books on it to read whenever I have to wait for an appointment,and I can read it at night without turning on a light. But I have to say, that I love having all my favorite authors in hardback and nothing beats print books when it comes to cookbooks!

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Thrifty Writer

As much as I love printed books, ebooks have seriously saved my back. It's so easy to carry books now to read while commuting, and it will make moving easier the next time I have to move. I also love the ease of borrowing them from the library - I never have to worry about returning them late. I wish the Kindle had been around when I was in college, or better yet, high school, when I seemed to be carrying the largest backpack EVER because of all my ridiculously heavy textbooks.

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Tova

I prefer printed books at home and ebooks on the road.

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Stephanie

I strongly prefer printed books, though I have and use a base-model Kindle and check books out from the library on my iPad.

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Sweta

I don't have a preference. If a book that I want to read is available in ebook format through my library then I'll download it to my iPad. If it's not available as an ebook then I'll check out the printed book.

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Amy M

E-books! I love having a whole library available while I travel or commute, and my Kindle (older model) only needs to be charged every few weeks, so battery is no issue. I fill it with ebooks from the public library!

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Sable W

I still prefer good old printed books! :) I actually (*gasp*) still do not have a Kindle/Fire/iPad/etc. I check books out at the library and if I can't get them there, I'll buy from Goodwill (& donate it right back if I don't ADORE it) or eBay. :)

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MELISSA HANSSON

I prefer printed books, but I've learned to love my Kindle, too. It's fun to get a free book each month from my Prime subscription, plus a free loaner book every month & lots of free & cheap books every Friday. I'm kinda hooked!

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Lisa Jones

i refuse to read any e-book on any tablet. i want paper in my hands. i want to feel the page. i refuse to give in to technology on this point. i already gave up landlines, cassettes, and LPs....i just need a physical something.

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Lynda

i prefer actual books but i admit that e-books are definitely more convenient

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Happy Love

I prefer hard copy books, but I do buy ebooks if they are significantly cheaper.

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wendy clark

printed book

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Guest

I still prefer printed books but am slowly getting used to reading ebooks. I'm an author and currently have books published in both formats. I have an use a Kindle, but continue to purchase paperbacks as often as I can. I'm sure I'll gravitate more and more to reading ebooks. I just finished Gone With the Wind in paperback and it must weigh five pounds, so the ebook version would have been much easier to handle.

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cwaltz

I prefer books. Nothing beats the feel of turning pages on a good book to find out what happens next.

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Jayash

Printed Books

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DeeDee

This is a tough one, each has merit. I'll have to go with ebooks since there is some much available for free.

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Donna

I prefer e-books for it's convenient. I can keep several books on me without having to decide which one I'm in the mood to read first. Also, it's on my phone so it's always with me.

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An

Sometimes. Especially when traveling I do. Easier to carry and keep up with

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Liisa

Definitely printed. :)

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Ash

I can see the novety of e books. There are easily accessible and can carrry multiple e books on a small tablet but I love my actual books. To be honest, I carry both: my Nook and a library book.

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Melanie

Printed books! ebooks if I was on a long trip.

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Margaret Davis

I love my ebooks and the many digital books I can read for free! That being said, when I find a book that I know I will read and re-read over and over, I prefer to invest in a "real" book.

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Kristina

Definitely printed!

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Ginger

I prefer Printed Books

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Xu

Although ebooks are more convenient, I still prefer to read printed books. It motivates me to read it more and I like seeing my book shelves with books that I have read in it.

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Ernest S.

I love ebooks, especially when traveling! Plus, the integrated dictionary and adjustable settings are really convenient to use.

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Guest

I prefer printed books. I read all day on the computer for work and don't want to pleasure read electronically. I know there are advantages to e-books but there are so very many more with printed books.

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Meggez

Books. Typically courtesy of the public library. I read gifted books on vacations, because I usually don't love them enough to keep them anyway. (I have one shelf for books that I play like a zero-sum game.)