Printed versus Electronic Books

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11 Mar 2017 - General

Tablets and ebook readers have become a necessity for healthcare professionals these days. One of the main reasons for such need is the increasing popularity of ebooks. Ebooks have gained more attention since it allows us to have our precious numerous books in handy without lugging the weight. It enables HCPs to keep up with daily reading without having to carry multiple books. Moreover, a quick reference becomes available during times of need. Today we weigh the pros and cons of e-books and printed books:

Electronic book


  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to rid even with low light rooms
  • Search option saves time when finding keywords
  • Able to listen to music while reading
  • Allows use with multiple devices 


  • Battery life limitation
  • Does not give tactile stimulus when reading
  • Strains the eye
  • Prone for more distraction when connected to the internet

Printed book:


  • Allows writing and feeling the book (Many advocate using as many senses when studying to retain more information)
  • No battery needed
  • Allows more participation of ocular muscles 
  • Does not strain the eyes as much as ebooks


  • Heavy
  • Prone to damage
  • Only one copy of printed book as compared to multiple ebook copies

Personally, I prefer ebooks because one gadget is all I need for carrying all my books. Newer applications have also  incorporated highlight/annotation options and abiity to jot down notes. I have been using ebooks since the start of residency and it feels the same as reading printed books in my opinion. A word of caution for those who want to switch from printed to e-books though. It is very difficult to transition especialy for those who love the feel of printed material. 

For the MIMS community, would anyone prefer e-books or printed books? Do you have other pros and cons to share regarding these sources of information?

I like your very accurate and concise rundown of the pros and cons between e-books and printed books. When I was starting in the academe, I used to prefer printed books as it was what we were used to in college and I liked having a tangible reference when making lectures and something to highlight when looking up a topic. As more and more titles were made available via ebooks, however, I made the switch and opted for downloading ebooks versus hunting down their printed counterparts from the libr...
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I also prefer e-books because it is handy and light. Almost the same with the mentioned pros and cons above. I can have all I need in just one device and not to worry about carrying thousand of pages in your hands and/or at your back. Plus connecting to the internet may not be a distraction as long as you have the discipline to focus. On the other side, having a hard bound copy of the book also feels good. It gives you the feeling of satisfaction when you are really a book reader. This only appl...
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Madhubabu kaaja Thank you for sharing your choice and thoughts. Children should not be using ebooks early. I heard stories of kids who try to "swipe" printed books because they got used to using tablets. Children have to be trained using printed books first. Another reason for using ebooks is sometimes it is free. I agree that it is very helpful in our field to augment our knowledge without having to spe...
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