E-Readers vs Books: Which Is Better For Business Travel?

11 June 2015
Read Time: 2.4 mins

Words by Carlie Tucker

The good ol' book: a stalwart companion that has provided reliable travel entertainment since passengers first graced the florescent-lit hallways of airports around the globe. For many, it was a must-pack item that sat at the top of carry-ons to be pulled out and cracked open at first chance.

These days, technology has taken over.  Aside from iPads and smartphones in the hands of every passenger at the gate, portable e-readers have become an ever popular choice for those that still wish to catch up on their reading when they fly. But which is better? Before you dismiss the humble book as past its time, there is a case to be made for both when it comes to reading on the road.

The Book


  • It's a classic
  • Flexible and easy to replace


  • Not conducive to saving space
  • Can't carry multiple books

For those that love to read, there is nothing like the feeling of opening a new book. The smell. The pristine pages. The uncracked spine. Breaking in a new book is all part of the reading experience.

This is especially true of a good book, one that warrants multiple reads with creased pages and a cover with a perfect curl. You know, that curl that comes with wrapping read pages around the back of the book, giving it the perfect shape to hold and read whether you're kicking back on a beach or crammed into a tight economy seat on the plane.

That curl also happens to make it even easier to jam into your bag or grab and go in a rush to get to your flight. Curled into your palm or tossed into your bag, a worn-in paperback can go anywhere. And, if you happen to leave it somewhere, it's easily replaced the next time you're at the book store.

The romance of the book is undeniable, but what about the practicality? This is where the book loses a few points to technology.  These days, when bag space is such a high commodity, fitting a book into your carry-on isn't always the most practical idea. Especially when you consider the sleek and lightweight e-readers that can slip into your purse or briefcase.  

The E-Reader


  • Quick and portable
  • Allows you to download a huge range of reading material


  • Significant initial cost
  • Expensive to replace if lost or damaged


When it comes to business travel, it's best to simplify every aspect of your trip. This includes your airport and onboard entertainment. E-readers allow travellers to do just that.  Whether it's an app for your tablet or a dedicated e-reader, you can download and purchase books on the go.

Why limit yourself to just books? E-readers also allow you to purchase yearly magazine and newspapers subscriptions. Gone are the last minute stops at the airport newsagency in search of your favourite mag. Also gone is the embarrassment of sitting through a flight holding up the brightly coloured covers of the latest celebrity gossip rags. You can read what you like without the prying eyes of your seat neighbours casting judgement.

Though, if you're venturing off the beaten path, the convenience of an e-reader starts to fade ... along with its battery life. Great for reading in airports and hotel rooms, these e-books aren't so great outdoors. Screens are hard to read in the sun and if you throw in any kind of elements such as sand, water or dirt, tablets don't fare as well as books. Plus, if you leave it somewhere, you're looking at a hefty replacement price tag.


While the seasoned reader in me is tempted to always side with the book, the truth is that both have their place. And, when it comes to business travel, e-readers slightly win out.

On a quick trip, you need a quick option. E-readers fulfil that. Especially if you're using an app on your tablet that allows you to have everything you need on one device. Chances are you're not going to have time to hit the beach to finish off that book you've been dying to read, but if you are on a business trip with a little leisure time, you may just want to throw a good paperback into your suitcase. Just in case.