book vs ereader for the beach

E-Book vs Paperback: What’s The Better Choice To Read At The Beach?

One of my favorite summer activities is to lie on the beach with a book and the sound of ocean waves crashing on the sand in the background. But the big question is, which is better to read at the beach – an e-book or paperback book?

The debate about e-reader vs physical book can divide many people in day to day life, even though they’re still agreeing that reading books is something they like to do. Even my own family is divided on this question!

So let’s look at which is better to bring to the beach for your summer reading, and pros/cons of each choice.

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Why You Should Bring An E-Reader To The Beach

E-readers are amazing with how many books you can bring to the beach in just a little tablet.

For example, I love my Kindle and can store thousands of books on it at once. If I’m not feeling a certain book, I can easily switch to a different one, or if I’ve finished my read, can easily move on to the next one.

  • Portability: E-readers are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry in your beach bag. Unlike paperbacks, which can be quite bulky if you’re planning to read more than one, an e-reader can hold thousands of books while still maintaining its slim profile.
  • Ease Of Use: Whether you’ve got a Kindle, Kobo, or other tablet, these all stay open on their own. You don’t need to worry about the pages staying open when you lay it down, and can turn pages with a single touch of the screen.
  • Adjustable Brightness: E-readers have adjustable screen brightness, making it easier to read in the glaring sun. This overcomes the problem of traditional books where the reflection of sunlight makes it hard to read the text.
  • Affordable Books: E-books tend to be slightly cheaper than their physical counterpart. It’s also never been easier than right now to get digital books from your library straight onto your e-reader.
kindle vs tablet brightness and glare

Cons Of E-Readers

(Keep in mind that every type of e-reader is different, and some will work much better at the beach than others)

  • Brightness Issues: Even though e-readers have adjustable brightness, this can vary greatly with which type you have. (My Kindle Fire from 2018 was not easy to read). The glare on the screen can still be an issue under intense sunlight.
  • Theft Risk: E-readers are valuable gadgets. Leaving them unattended while you take a dip in the sea increases the risk of theft. In comparison, a paperback book doesn’t attract the same level of interest from potential thieves.
  • Battery Life: E-readers require charging, unlike paperbacks. Although many e-readers have excellent battery life, if you’re planning a long day (or several days) at the beach, you may find yourself without power. You also need to ensure they’re charged before leaving for the beach. With paperback books, you don’t need to worry about running out of power.

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Why You Should Bring A Physical Book To The Beach

paperback book 53 women you don't know yet

The smell of a physical book brings a certain sense of nostalgia, and brings me right back into some of the stories I’ve re-read the most. And that feeling of an actual book in hand can be wonderful. especially while at the beach.

  • No Major Risk of Theft: Unlike e-readers, a paperback book is much less attractive to thieves since it’s not an expensive item.
  • Easy To Read The Pages: Paperbacks are still the easiest way to read when in direct sunlight. The glare that can occur with e-readers doesn’t happen with paper books, so you won’t have to worry about strained eyes while trying to make out text on the page.
  • No Battery Required: As long as you have enough light to see your book, you’re good to go all day long!
  • Easy to swap with friends: With physical copies of books, it’s really easy to trade books with your friends when you’ve finished the book!

Cons of Physical Books

  • Take Up Space: Paperbacks take up a lot of room in your beach bag, and if you’re planning on bringing several books with you this can be an issue.
  • High Risk of Damage: The beach is not the ideal place for paperbacks due to the sand and water that can damage them easily. You’ll likely end up bringing at least a bit of sand back with you in the book.
  • Have To Hold It Open: You’ll need to also make sure you have something to hold the book open if you want to be able to read hands-free.
  • Should Not Bring Library Books: It’s not recommended to bring library books to the beach due to the risk of them being damaged or ruined.

The Verdict: E-Reader or Paperback?

At the end of the day, it all depends on you and your personal preference when choosing what type of book to take with you to the beach. But I prefer my e-reader to paperback books. It takes up less space, and I can bring as many books as I want!

My Recommendations

I highly recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. Compared to other tablets or any other electronics, the Paperwhite is the best for seeing even in direct light. Rather than other electronics where you have to turn the brightness up to the max and still deal with glare, the Paperwhite is backlit, so there’s no glare issue or max brightness required.

kindle paperwhite saying turtles all the way down from john green

With a Kindle, you can get access to so many books through a prime membership, kindle unlimited membership, or your local library membership.

Many libraries around the world are connected to Libby, and with that, access thousands of books for free and support your library.

If you want to take a physical book to the beach with you, I’d suggest picking up a good book from a local bookstore or checking out your local secondhand book shops or see if where you’re staying has any books to borrow.