Printed Book or eBook: How I Determine Which Format to Buy

Last year I was gifted a Kindle. I've never had an eBook reader before. Obviously, I needed something to read on it, otherwise what's the point of having one. And that's when I first encountered this problem. How do I determine which books I should buy as an eBook, as opposed to a printed book?

There's pros and cons to getting either format. But that's not what this post is about. In this post I want to share the criteria I use, to determine whether to buy a printed copy of a book, or the eBook version of it.

That criteria revolves around the contents of the book. The question I ask myself is, “Are the contents of this book subject to change in the future?”

For instance, fantasy books like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, the Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series of books, the contents of these books are static. Meaning they are not going to change decades from now. These are the kinds of books that I want to buy a printed copy of.

On the contrary, books that are subject to change in the future, should be bought as eBooks. The best examples of these are books on the topic of Software Development and Health/Nutrition.

Software Development is an ever evolving profession. Every couple of years, we get updated versions of programming languages (if not new programming languages), new frameworks, new design patterns, new development stacks, etc... A book that you have now on say, ReactJS or .NET 6, will more than likely be obsolete 10 years from now. In fact, .NET 6 is already being replaced by .NET 8 which came out recently.

It is the same thing with medical books, or books on Health and Nutrition. There's almost always something new in the field of medicine and nutrition. Hence, an authoritative book that you buy now, might become outdated when new discoveries are made years into the future. Which is why, I buy the eBook versions of these kinds of books.

So, there you have it. An easy way to determine whether to pick up a printed copy or eBook version of a book. Buy the printed copy for books whose contents will remain static. Buy the eBook versions for books whose content are subject to change in the future.

Tags: #Books #Reading

Discuss... or leave me a comment below.