To Read or Not To Read (E-books). Are Paper Books Cheaper than E-books?

Everybody errors my sister and me for twins. Some individuals even suppose we’re the identical individual. (I’ve tons of tales.) However in contrast to everybody else, she and I see loads of variations.One main distinction is our studying habits. I’m a lover of paper books with pages I can flip and margins I can write on, and he or she’s a fan of e-readers with sufficient space for storing to carry lots of of books at one time.

In one in every of our many discussions about e-books versus print books, I spotted one thing. We all the time take a look at e-books from a comfort perspective, however what a few price perspective?

Are print books actually cheaper than e-books?

Because of some traditional sibling rivalry, I plunged into the world of digital bookstores and ended up with a price comparability of e-books to print books that will help you discover the very best route in your finances and studying fashion.

What I did

In my comparability, I targeted on 16 in style on-line sellers and 6 best-selling books.

For getting e-books, I select Amazon’s Kindle retailer, Apple’s iBooks retailer, Barnes & Noble’s NOOK retailer, the Google Play Books retailer and the Kobo bookshop. For renting e-books, I seemed into Overdrive, Venture Gutenberg and Hoopla.

You should purchase e-books at a lot of different websites, after all, however in terms of worth, these are a few of the finest.

For print books, I checked out Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, Alibris, Higher World Books, Thriftbooks and E book Depository. I additionally seemed into my native library’s choice.

Then, for every vendor, I researched the price of six books: “Prepared Participant One by Ernest Cline, “Educated: A Memoirby Tara Westover, “Little Fires All over the place by Celeste Ng, “The Solar and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, “Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and “Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Moreover protecting a variety of genres, every ebook ranks on both the New York Instances Greatest Sellers checklist or on the Amazon Greatest Sellers checklist.

What I Found

A woman reads an e-book on an Kindle
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Earlier than entering into the nitty-gritty price evaluation, let me announce that the award for lowest costs goes to… each!

Generally, neither e-books nor print books are cheaper than the opposite. Of the six books I in contrast, e-books gained the award for the bottom worth 3 times, whereas print books gained 3 times additionally. I’ve to confess, I used to be fairly stunned.

E-Books Have Value Consistency

Right here’s the place issues get attention-grabbing. E-book costs are extra steady than print books. Costs within the e-book market are extremely aggressive, since e-books offered by Kindle, for instance, aren’t usually appropriate with, say, NOOK units (though some sources say it’s potential).

So, all 5 e-book sellers offered “Prepared Participant One” for $9.99, “Educated: A Memoir” for $12.99, “Little Fires All over the place” for $13.99 and Fahrenheit 451 for $11.99.

Print E book Costs Differ

Print-books costs are much more erratic. Not one of the print-book sellers that I consulted matched costs on a single title. And the distinction in prices fluctuated by as a lot $5 in some instances.

However of the three titles that print books gained, the costs have been considerably cheaper than their digital counterparts. For instance, “Little Fires All over the place” price $13.99 as an e-book and $7.96 (new with free transport) as a print ebook from E book Depository.

E-Books Can Be Cheaper

This element gained’t shock you, however I feel you’ll prefer it: E-book costs minimize out transport prices and the eight % further it prices to publish a print ebook. These cuts give new releases their aggressive costs throughout e-book sellers.

Take “Educated: A Memoir,” for instance. It ran $12.99 for the e-book however doubled, in essentially the most excessive case, for the brand new print ebook.

The identical applies to books within the public area. Whereas previous print books price at the least 1 cent plus transport for a used copy, e-book retailers can provide the identical ebook without cost.

For “Frankenstein,” a number of e-book sellers listed free variations, whereas the most affordable secondhand version I discovered price $three.98 with free transport.

Beware Additional Print E book Prices

Used print-book costs may be deceiving (on-line at the least). At first, they might appear considerably cheaper than each new print books and e-books. However tack on transport prices, and used books can price as a lot or greater than their new counterparts.

This isn’t all the time true, although, so don’t rule out used books altogether. Simply watch out.

Don’t Overlook Your Library

Libraries are missed too typically these days. Sure, they’re restricted of their number of latest titles or they’ve lengthy ready lists, however you’d be stunned at what gems can be found.

However I’m not speaking about going to the precise library constructing. Chances are high, your native library system provides assets like Hoopla, Venture Gutenberg and Overdrive. Utilizing Hoopla, which requires solely your library card, you may lease “The Solar and Her Flowers,” for instance, without cost for 21 days.

So if you happen to don’t have a library card already, get one!

I didn’t neglect…

A woman holds a stack of books and a Kindle
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

You’re most likely questioning why I didn’t point out discount websites and thrift shops, however right here’s the factor: Their choices and costs fluctuate an excessive amount of to pin down.

As a substitute, I’m going to counsel that if you happen to select the e-book route, you try gold mines just like the Kindle Proprietor’s Lending Library, Prime Studying, BookBub or the Cut price Bin at Higher World Books.

Wherever you select to get your books, scour the location, the app or the shop for discount sections.

Disclaimer: Like thrift shops, these on-line low cost sections take a while and sweat to look by. The rewards are completely price it, although. I promise.

Right here’s the Backside Line

As a result of the outcomes are tied, I can’t say flat out that print books are cheaper than e-books, or vice versa. However what you can do is decide which route fits your studying preferences finest.

When you learn solely the latest or oldest books in the marketplace, e-books are the very best deal for you. Since latest releases aren’t up for secondhand buy instantly, the aggressive pricing of e-books will save your day. And people actually previous books within the public area will do the identical.

When you’re on the lookout for something in between, print books are the best way to go. Whether or not on-line or in-store, you will discover unbelievable offers on secondhand and low cost books. E-books are extra handy, however with a bit of effort, print books could make your pockets smile.

When you’re an all-around bookworm who enjoys previous, new and in-between books, use each strategies. Put money into an e-reader or e-reader apps and begin having fun with the very best of each worlds (and offers).

The selection is yours. Which route will you are taking?

Sarah Dunlap is a contract copy editor and all-around bookworm who’s studying to like e-books as a lot as print books. When she’s not studying, she’s most likely enhancing one thing in her favourite espresso store or rewatching an episode of “Twin Peaks.”

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