Spotlight Sunday: E-books vs. Physical Copies

Spotlight Sunday on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

It’s time for the very first Spotlight Sunday! It was hard for us to figure out what we wanted to discuss first, but we finally settled on a topic. Are you ready? This week our question is:

E-books vs. Physical Copies. What’s your preference and why?

This goes along perfectly with our brand new “Real” Book Challenge for 2014! Let the discussion begin:

Jaime: I love the convenience of e-books but my heart will always desire the physical copies. I’m almost afraid to tell you guys how many actual books I own. But one thing is for sure… if I loved the book, I always buy a copy. Always. I think it’s because nothing tops holding it in your hands and turning the pages AND what if you get the chance to meet the author? It’s not like you can have everyone sign your kindle or nook! And how can you loan it to all your friends if it’s trapped on your e-reader? So… while I usually buy an ebook so that I can satisfy my need for instant gratification, I tend to also buy the physical copy to satisfy my need to hold and look at the pretty things. Do you guys do that too? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Meg: I agree. It’s weird how this has progressed. Instead of having copies of everything, it’s become a status on my shelves. All of my favorites are there. Being able to have them signed is a bonus. I love looking at what and how an author signs. Plus, it’s usually an awesome reminder of some special event! (Signings, BEA, Tours, etc.)

Erin: Ha ha – yes! Like every time I look at my copy of Taken by Erin Bowman I think of us standing in her line at BEA…and the plan we had to get all the Susan Dennard things…always makes me laugh.

Meg: Do you have books that you have lots of versions of? Hardcovers, paperbacks, e-books, ARCs, etc.? I have some that I have all of the above for! Which is even crazier, but I love the way it looks on the bookshelf! 😉

Jaime: Yes! status! I mean you have to have an actual copy of the favorites!!

Kassiah: You might be surprised to know this but I’m sort of a hoarder. I’m like ya’ll and love the convenience of ebooks–I especially love being able to search quickly for something and being able to easily access my notes. The downside to that is that I find I can’t remember where things happen in books very often. I read the entire Harry Potter series so many times that I could not only answer pretty much anything anyone asks me, but I can pick up my book and turn to the page that it’s on–even after all this time. Since I primarily read ebooks now, I don’t have that sort of “page turning memory” and can’t remember when events occur. Or if I just made them up.

On the hoarding front, though, I do like to have physical copies of books. Favorites, TBRs, cover crushes–it doesn’t matter. I don’t have tons of book shelves though (I should get them this month!) so on the few shelves I do have, I’m like Meg. They’re filled with my favorites–the ones I would have to grab if my house caught on fire. If it’s especially a favorite, I collect as many formats as I can. I’m going to try to stop doing that though–except with some books LOL

Jaime: LOL Is it wrong to have more than one version of the same book? I don’t think so. I don’t think you should ever stop doing that Kass. Does anyone else do that? I currently own all the different versions of the same book, mainly because like Kass, I’m a book hoarder and also because of all the different, amazing covers!

Erin: It is definitely not wrong to have more than one version…mostly because I’m the same way. Either it is because I love it so much I want all the pretty things or I got one as an ARC and want the final copy. I agree – It is perfectly acceptable to do this and being a hoarder of pretty/good things isn’t bad!

Meg: I’m with everyone else. I think that book hoarding is perfectly acceptable. I’ll never forget watching the show Hoarders with Kass and her saying she could teach them a thing or two about how to organize their stuff and get more in there! Books, books, and more books!!

Kassiah: I’m going to remember that ya’ll said that when hubs complains about my hoarding tendencies.

Erin: I personally don’t really have a preference between ebook or physical book and I honestly love both. Not so much because I am holding a real book or not but because my job requires me to travel a lot. Having a book to read is critical to me being happy on an airplane and ebooks give me the convenience of having any type of book with me that I want to read without having to carry them all in my bag. With that said, if there are books I love as ebooks, I always buy them as real books so I can have them on my bookshelf – sometimes more than just one cover version. Plus, real books can be signed by authors and the ones with pretty covers make me happy. I almost always have a real book and an ebook started at the same time anyway.

Now that you’ve read some of our thoughts, let us know what you’re thinking in the comments below! We’ll be back next week with a brand new topic and lots more to talk about.


  1. What a great idea you guys. Really liking this new ‘feature’. 🙂

    To answer the question of the topic… well, it’s kinda hard, lol. Personally, I prefer ‘real’ books. I just love the feel of it, the smell. Love paperbacks in particular, and how they show how ‘read’ they are, with their folded pages and all around ‘wornness’. Love. Them.

    However, I’d say that pretty much 90% of my books are in e-book format and the reason is because I don’t live in the U.S. Almost everything I read is in English so it’s a million times easier to find said books in the U.S. Shipping is crazy expensive to where I live so it simply is not worth it, unless I buy a shit-ton of books. I could ask U.S. friends that come here to get me some, but that happens every couple of years. So, I gave up and buy pretty much everything from Amazon now.

    So, in terms of preference… physical copies. In terms of practicality… e-books.

    • We’re so glad that you like the new feature!!

      It’s funny you mention the “wornness.” I love that about books. That you could look at someone’s shelves and see what book(s) are their favorite!!

      I can see why e-books are so much more practical for you. Sometimes I feel that way and I live in the US. E-books are more economical when I can’t afford a spendy hardcover, then I make the decision to buy a hardcover depending on how much I love the book!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!!

  2. I really, really, really like my paper books. I like picking them up and flipping through pages. I like real bookmarks! I like seeing my favorite titles on my bookshelves, including a first edition copy of MANDY by Julie Edwards (Andrews). I have a Kindle app for the mini-iPad, and I do use it for NetGalley and ebooks that I get on sale. But I’m not in love with it. If I have a choice & there isn’t a huge price – like $1.99 versus $10.99, I go for the physical copy. Plus, sometimes there are different “incentives” to purchase one versus another based on marketing strategies by the publishers. So, that will influence my decision too, depending on if I really like the author.
    Thanks, awesome ladies, for a great topic! xxxx

    • That’s such a good point! I love bookmarks and the little page stickies you can put on all your favorite parts.

      Plus, I’m a chronic book smeller. I can’t help it. 🙂

      • I’m Lol’ing over your smelling of the books! You both know I’m a sticky junkie!! I like to mark my fave parts and get to them quickly especially when we are talking swoony boys!


        • I can’t help it! My mom says when I would go in to the library with her in the summer to work I would sit with books over my face smelling. I’M A WEIRDO!!!

          Oh, the stickies! You’ve made me a sticky addict too. I look for them everywhere. I have quite the collection now.

  3. I think I’ll always love physical books over e-books. There are a lot of things I love about the convenience of e-books (vacations, reading during workouts, etc.) and the price can’t be passed up sometimes, too. 🙂 But I agree with you all about missing page turning and actual bookmarks in e-book reading. For some reason, I like to be able to SEE my progress as opposed to looking at a percentage, too.

    Great feature, by the way! And I love the Real Books Challenge idea! I just joined. 🙂

    • Great point about seeing the progress! I always huff when I have to switch my status updates to % on Goodreads. I’m not sure why… but it bothers me.

      So glad you are joining us or the “Real” Books Challenge!! We’re so excited about it and it’s even better that other people are too! 🙂

  4. I’ve shared this article with and would love everyone’s comment at my blog. It perfectly explains for ‘kindle’ readers why e-books don’t cut it for us. For paper book lovers, I’ve gone into a much deeper explanation than we knew how to say before. If anyone bugs you about your choice, quote me! Carolyn.

    P.S. I can’t find your reading challenge linky for January. I’m on dial-up and it isn’t convenient to sign-up for e-mail notifications but if review pages could be shown on the sign-up site, that would make it easy. Thanks! 🙂

  5. Shenita I says

    I prefer ebooks because I love the convenience of sneaking in a chapter or two if I’m at work or waiting for something while out. I have no problem getting a paperback if it ended up being one of my favorites though. Lately I’ve taken to getting physical copies if the ebook is over $7 and the paperback is under $12.

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