Dec 17 2012

Why Paper Books and E-Books Can Peacefully Coexist [#Infographic]

E-books solve some problems but create others, leaving room for paper books to prosper.

Will e-books put libraries out of business?

In all likelihood, the answer is a firm no. Readers of e-books tend to be more avid readers of paper books, according to this infographic from

It is likely that print and digital books will coexist for the foreseeable future. Neither type satisfies all of the needs of today’s college students, and the notion of a battle between paper and digital for supremacy is largely nonexistent. Yes, print sales are down and digital sales are up, but if the expression “A rising tide lifts all ships” is true, then more people are reading now than ever before, regardless of the medium.

This tongue-in-cheek comparison of paper books and e-books examines some of the “specs” of a paperback’s hardware:

The specs of a paper book

If you take a moment to think about a paper book as the technological object that it is, you can quickly see plenty of advantages over e-readers. The list of "specs" for your standard paper book gets surprisingly long when you expand your definition of technology to include elements that don't require a computer chip.

  • Readable with any form of light
  • Very high contrast display
  • Requires no battery power
  • Depending on model, lasts anywhere from five to five thousand years or more
  • Immersive and non-distracting user interface
  • Offers a spatial layout for immediate access to random information
  • Conforms to the standardized "page number" spec for easy reference
  • Supports direct interaction via pen or highlighter
  • DRM-free for easy lending and resale
  • Standards-based system not controlled by any single corporation or entity
  • Crash-proof and immune to viruses (though vulnerable to some worms)
  • Easy to learn user-interface consistent across most manufacturers
  • Supports very large number of colors and also black and white images
  • Compatible with a wide variety of note taking systems

Read Sorry iBooks, paper books still win on specs on The Verge.

E-books and Paper Books Infrographic

This infographic originally appeared on