Genki paperback vs ebook

Kickin’ around getting Genki, but I noticed it’s mainly available in paperback. I swore off of physical books several years ago and don’t really want to go back, but I’m wondering if there’s any reason I should cave in and go physical copy for this (or any other grammar book for that matter). Legality isn’t an issue as I intend to pay for the books no matter which medium I end up choosing. The only argument for the physical copy that I can think of is for doing the exercises, but I don’t intend to write them anyway (you guys are probably sick of hearing me reference The Art and Science of Learning Languages but that book recommends doing exercises mentally and immediately checking the answer key, rather than writing.) What do you guys think?

Maybe I’m just an old man, but I will forever pick physical over digital. Just ‘feels’ better. Can’t explain it, but digital is not nearly as enjoyable.


I usually go digital, but not for textbooks where I might want to flip back and forth between two pages really fast to compare things.


I don’t think there is a real benefit of either over the other. The book is the same either way, it’s more about what you prefer. I absolutely prefer a physical copy for several reasons; I like to be able to take notes directly in the book, I like being able to easily go back and forth between pages, and I can concentrate better with a book in front of me rather than a computer screen. What works best for you though, only you know.

1 Like

I‘m very much a digital books only person. I bought a lot of paper books to read in Japanese because that was the only form that they were available or because I thought the idea was a nice change and I would really sit down, away from a screen for once, and read them. But it almost never happens, I‘m just a digital person and I prefer ebooks and now I have this mountain of books that is waiting to find a new owner ( I think I‘ll just get rid of them all next year).

However, there is one big exception for me and that is textbooks. Highlighting passages, making notes, being able to quickly flip through all pages again… I just reeeally like having paper books for this one purpose. I had initially started with a digital version of Genki but bought the paper version later (I could have skipped the workbook and answer key though, doing the exercises on paper was not my thing; too much trouble than it was worth it for me).

I travel to Japan twice a year and try to travel light but I once left Genki at home and regretted having only the pdf. So now I carry these ridiculously large and heavy books with me (this time it is AITIJ, currently at chapter 5, hoping I can get to 8 before I go back gome) and I have 0 regrets. I am also not planning on giving away Genki I, II, AIATIJ and Tobira. I think it will be nice flipping through the pages every once in a while. And it will be a nice tangible reminder to an earlier learning phase and nice to see how far one has come.


When did Genki become available as a legal ebook?


I like the idea of having a digital textbook, but a physical workbook. I would have to see samples of the digital first though before I committed to that idea.


Depends on what you like better. For me a screen is almost always a source of distraction for me, so I never get a whole lot done. A large portion of my entertainment is from a screen and I have a hard time focusing while looking at one. If that’s not a problem for you, then it’s certainly more convenient to have an ebook.

I also just like holding a book in my hand and seeing my bookshelf grow larger. I just don’t get the same feeling from seeing a list of ebooks.

Manga though, I definitely am switching to digital only. I’ve started reading enough series that space is going to be a serious problem if I continue.

1 Like

I was gonna either buy the hard copies and get an illegal e-version, which I’m ok with as long as I paid for the hard copies. Or I was gonna buy the hard copies and use (@irrelephant that might be a solution to your mountain of books)


I’m with you!

E-books are fine, but for textbooks I’d personally avoid them. You cannot physically write in them, make notes to yourself and or corrections…there will always be some little mistakes. While you can do this electronically it doesn’t (for me) stick as easily. In addition, what happens when you lose access to your digital version…do your bookmarks/highlights remain…sometimes yes sometimes no…it’s guesswork. Heck there was one site that I can’t recall the name of but a lot of folks used it for e-books and it was taken over by yahoo recently. Also dead batteries, broken screens, internet down, on and on and on…If I want to just read a book in peace paper beats all! Other than fire, flood, theft, etc…

And yes you could lose the physical book too…and…while there are exceptions…in general, replacing a single book is cheaper than replacing a lost e-reader. There is nothing you need to do other than find a comfortable chair or desk and some peace and quiet. :open_book: Now if the neighbors dog would shut up :rofl:


I keep mine on Google. If Google gets taken over by Yahoo…well…the world as we know it has probably been destroyed and we all have much worse problems to worry about. (Just in case I have them backed up on my own drives too.)

Haha no worries… Please don’t take it as the only way to do it is my way… Wasn’t suggesting that…when you’re experienced and you’ve lost stuff even though you’ve backed up or you find a file format that’s guaranteed to be forever (trust me it never truly is… Try to open a file from 20 years ago… Unless it’s a text file you might have some serious trouble… Oh the stories… I digress)

I do use ebooks but only for things I am not the least bit worried about wanting to save. I do like ebooks for the convenience… And being able to carry a large library without collecting a huge bookcase makes them awesome. But if I want to read them while on a long road trip or camping… I can’t always rely on internet electricity etc.

1 Like

If you can buy it, buy it

This comes from a guy who used to study with pdfs in his cellphone and do the excercises and add notes in a notebook.

The main issue, for me, is practicality. Sure you can get used to work with your textbook in your prefered device and having a notebook. But if you can answer excercises and add notes directly in your textbook, they’d be there for you whenever you open the book back (keep in mind that sometimes this could mean months without you studying) so you would end up only worrying about a single book whenever you’re looking up something

I think @irrelephant says it way better than me

As olivia newton john once said

Let’s get physical, physical
I wanna get physical
Let’s get into physical


I hate physical books and it’s a pity that many textbooks are still not available legally as e-books.
What I do is buy a physical copy, scan it (wasting a couple of days), then put the physical book on the shelf forever and use the digital copy exclusively.
If I can find a scanned copy online then I can skip scanning it myself and save a couple of days.


With an ebook you can open it twice and tadah, you don’t waste anymore time.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.