Books or digital gadgets? What's your preference when traveling?
■ Booklovers from any part of the world will vouch for the richness of their travel experience with a book by their side. It is usually a well known fact that an interest in reading often births a passion for traveling. In this day and age, where you have wi-fi most places you travel to, the moment the signal does not exist, you are lost. Picking up a physical book to read can be an ideal pastime.
Everyone starts in their life with a physical book. But after a while, we all look for alternate methods of reading, especially when we travel. It is so much easier to carry any e-reader, Kindle, Nook, even your mobile phone or laptop; instead of a heavy book. Reading is recreation, passing time or even indulgence for some. In spite of the ease of carrying a digital gadget, there are many booklovers who play the conflict game of whether to carry books, or simply download on their phone or e-reader. Today, let's help ease the problem for all of you.
Let's look at each resource in greater detail and analyze their pros and cons. We hope that the decision making will be much easier by the time we are done.
Case for Physical Books -
Let's start with all the positives of carrying a physical book and reading it/ them on your travel.
■ A physical book has the sensation of a real substance. It is something you can touch and feel, smell the leather binding, the pages, or the ink on them. There is nothing imaginary about it. It is solid, you can estimate how much of the book you've read, or how soon you're going to reach that climax of the story.
■ You can carry a book with you on your stroll at the beach, or to the top of the mountain after your hike, or on a picnic at the local ruins. If your book collects some sand, so be it, just shake it off and you are good to go. Getting a little wet is no issue either, it will dry up in no time. You do not have to worry about losing the signal bars or a low device battery, when you are reading your book during a simple hike or somewhere up in a remote mountainous location.
■ After you finish a book and put it back on a bookshelf, the accomplishment of completion is so valuable. Just touching the spines and browsing the books on a bookshelf in a library, public or home, feels comforting and may resurface precious memories related to the content or circumstances of reading the book.
■ Scientifically, diving into a good, crisp page-turner significantly encourages your health and happiness.
Now, it's time to explore some negatives of a physical book.
■ It is definitely inconvenient to carry many books around. Even paperbacks can get heavy to carry, especially if you're backpacking. Even if you are not backpacking, traveling with say five books can get cumbersome, and the weight limitations with airlines are another deterrent, particularly if you desire to travel light. Buying new books along the way also adds up. You might also be paying extra for the added weight at the airport.
■ Translations of books in different languages are often very difficult to find. When you travel to tourist locations and find a book that you really wanted to buy for a long time, but it is in a different language, it is such a downer. If you still decide to buy it, then you also need a dictionary to go with it, and that's an additional weight.
■ After frequently traveling around, books can easily get damaged.
Case for Digital Reader Devices
Again, as before, let us begin with discussing the positive reasons of carrying a digital gadget while on travel.
■ A small digital device can easily carry fifty 600-pages books in it and more. You can literally have your entire library travel everywhere alongside you in your travels. Many of the classic literature is even available for free. For those with eyesight issues, audio books are also available. Quantity (number of books) becomes a non issue.
■ All you need really is one thin little device that will carry all the books you want, the whole range. Depending on the mood, you can pick whatever suits your fancy, it's not that you're running out of space. Quality then, also becomes a non issue.
■ Translations are a non issue as well. Most readers allow you the flexibility of reading an unknown language book by translating, or providing dictionary lookups to the meanings of a word you tapped, or you could simply add a dictionary to your library. One more addition will not even cause a dent.
■ It is device independent. You could open your library on any device using the app. For example, Kindle books can be accessed and read on your mobile smartphone, your laptop, your desktop or your tablet. All the syncing happens in the background that you have no need to be aware of, and the right page that you were last reading pops up correctly. Also, if you accidentally lost your device, all you need to do is to buy another one or just read on the other devices in your possession.
■ It is getting easier by the day to find newer e-books to buy and download.
■ The devices also have a built-in backlight, which allows you to read anywhere, anytime, without disturbing anyone. Although, we do not recommend reading in the dark because of the bad blue light effect it may have on your eyesight.
■ It is also a small, light device compared to some books that are heavy to hold after a while.
■ Highlighting is easy, bookmarking is easy as well.
There are some negatives to this type of reading, of course.
■ Electronic devices can easily get damaged near water or sand.
■ These are expensive pieces, and can be a magnet for predators. It could get stolen.
■ Of course you pay for the device, the price of e-books add on top. You would think there's no shipping or manufacturing costs, so they should be much cheaper, and they are cheaper than the original book, but still eats into the cost.
■ Battery life can be an issue, the devices need charging.. Although, e-readers have a significantly longer life than smartphones. And, if your reader device is your smartphone, and you are reading directly off the internet, say bye-bye to battery life for sure. The network issues are another ballgame.
So, there we have it. Hopefully, it is now easier for you to decide what to carry with you on your next travel - a physical book or a digital device. Based on the above analysis, we believe curling up in your favorite armchair or your bed with a nice, crisp book is totally worth it. But, when it comes to travel, carrying a digital gadget is a better option. Just learn to keep it safe and charged and you have the luxury to carry your entire library with you. We want to leave all our Wanderers with a tip : Do not purchase an ebook that has been published recently. Wait for a few months, and the same book will be cheaper.
Share on social
More from Wander
Subscribe to Wander newsletter and get our "Making new friends on the road" guide