E-books or Physical Books? Pros and Cons for Young Readers

Encouraging young readers to read helps them develop a fundamental skill. It also introduces them to an enjoyable activity, and with the wide selection of titles, genres, and reading materials available, children have plenty of options to choose from. However, this abundance of choices can make it challenging for families who are trying to find relevant and appropriate content for their young ones. 

In the case of reading materials, parents can pick between giving their kids e-books and physical books. Both options have their respective advantages and drawbacks that can affect young readers’ comfort and overall experience. That’s why it’s worth probing these pros and cons before making a final decision. 

If you’re wondering what’s the best option for the young readers in your life, explore the advantages and disadvantages of each format.

The Pros of E-Books 

Reading e-books has become very popular, and rightfully so if you consider its advantages. This includes portability, additional features, affordability, and more. Here are more details about them:


One of the pros of reading e-books is their accessibility. They can easily be downloaded and read on various devices, like smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and computers. The models of these devices aren’t an issue either. As long as they're designed for digital books, even the cheap phones Singapore has to offer are good enough for many readers. 

For young readers, the versatility of where they can access e-books means they can always read their favourite books, no matter where they are. 

Interactive Features

Many e-book readers come with interactive elements such as animations, audio, and games. These can make reading an engaging and immersive experience for children, as they help bring stories to life. These additional features can also pique a child's curiosity, encouraging them to read more. 


With e-books, kids can customize their reading experiences. That’s because many e-book readers offer the option to adjust font sizes, change background colours, highlight text, or make notes. Such personalization can be helpful for young readers who have difficulties processing visual information. These features can help them read more efficiently and make the activity more enjoyable.

The Cons of E-Books 

While reading e-books offers plenty of benefits, there are several downsides to the digital option. Here are just a few disadvantages that you should take into consideration:

Eye Strain

When kids read e-books, they’re also exposed to the glare and blue light emitted by screens. These can cause discomfort, dryness, and fatigue in the eyes. To mitigate this effect, make sure your kids take regular breaks. You can also adjust the screen's brightness and contrast settings and consider using blue light filtering apps or screen protectors to reduce the risk of eye strain when reading e-books.


The same devices that make e-books accessible can also be a source of distraction. Notifications, games, and other apps can divert a child's attention from reading and comprehending the texts. In such cases, parental control and supervision are necessary to ensure a focused reading experience.

Technical Dependencies

E-books can only be accessed on devices like tablets and smartphones. So if the device malfunctions or runs out of battery, young readers may be left without access to their e-books. This technical dependency can be a disadvantage, as it can limit your child’s reading experience if they only have e-books in their collection.

The Pros of Physical Books 

Reading physical books has some unique advantages. Some of these can be beneficial to a child’s eye health and development. You can explore the pros of physical books more here:


Physical books offer a sensory experience to young readers that they can’t get from e-books. They can hold the books, flip through the pages, and even smell the scent of the paper. This tactile engagement can foster a deeper connection to the story and create a sense of nostalgia.

Reduced Screen Time

Physical books provide a screen-free alternative for entertainment and education. With physical books, parents can reduce a child's exposure to screens. Eventually, this can have positive effects on their eye health and overall well-being. 

Enhanced Information Retention 

Some studies suggest that reading physical books may enhance information retention. The tactile experience of turning physical pages can lead to better focus and memory retention. The act of physically bookmarking pages, underlining, or jotting down notes in the margins can also aid in comprehension and retention. For young readers, this can be especially beneficial when it comes to academic reading and learning.

The Cons of Physical Books 

Physical books can have disadvantages too. Before you make a choice, it’s best to find out about them. 

Cost Considerations

Purchasing physical books can be expensive. This can be a challenge if you plan to build a substantial library for your young reader. The cost of purchasing new books regularly may be a factor to consider for budget-conscious families.

Limited Portability

Physical books can be less convenient in terms of portability. Carrying multiple books, especially while traveling, can be cumbersome. Some books are thick and take up space in a bag while some literature can weigh a lot, making them heavy to carry. 

Limited Interactivity

Physical books lack the interactive features found in e-books. While this simplicity can be appealing to some, it might be less encouraging for some children to take up the activity if they’re accustomed to digital interactivity.

While there are many appealing benefits for young readers to read e-books and physical books, the choice ultimately depends on their preferences and needs. If you’re guiding kids through the wonderful world of reading, consider their specific needs first. You can also opt for a balanced approach and let them access both e-books and physical books. This fosters a love of reading and ensures that the young readers in your life get the best of both worlds.

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