For the companion video to this Videos vs Books article, click here.
I LOVE books! Ever since I learned to read, I have read voraciously. I have a huge library of books at home and a lot of ebooks on my phone.
When I started to want to learn topics like time management, marketing and business, I would turn to books to learn.
But lately, I have tried a few online courses that used video training to teach. And I started to wonder, which was better for learning and training? Videos or books?
Benefits of Books for Learning
Here are a few advantages I find books have for learning:
- Gatekeepers MAY result in better quality. ((until recently most books were published by publishing companies who would be choosy about what books to publish and would provide professional editing and proofreading
- Information can be accessed faster than watching a whole video
- Not tied to a computer or electronic device
- Easier to bookmark/highlight/annotate (if you don’t mind marking up your books)
eBooks have a few additional benefits over book and videos for learning:
- Can store 1,000s of eBooks on phone or ebook reader
- Can take digital notes, organize them & search
- Smaller storage: 1000+ ebooks/GB compared to 23 minutes of HD video/GB
Here are some of the things I like about learning from videos.
- Video how-to’s stronger than photos or illustrations – great for physical skills
- Engages more senses (audio) and adds motion
- Good for auditory and kinesthetic learners
- The personality of the video creator shows through more strongly as you can see and hear them
- Feels more conversational
- Can also view on mobile
Here are some of the disadvantages of learning from books and ebooks:
- Colour Illustrations/pictures are usually limited
- Harder to learn a physical skill (tai chi, exercise)
While learning from videos, I noticed some of these issues:
- Voice or manner of speaking can be distracting
- Monotone voice, accents, saying “um”
- Can’t jump right to the area you need
- Large storage requirements
- May not be able to access on mobile where Internet is spotty
- Free video storage is advertising based
- Handheld devices associated with vision and other health problems
Videos vs Books – So Which is Best?
So I have found some benefits and drawbacks of both types of learning. I think the answer of which is better – videos vs books – is that it depends on YOUR learning style. I recommend you test both ways and see which helps you retain the material better.
I will share my own experience with you. I set up my time management coaching program originally as shared online notebooks (ebook style) but I found almost none of my coaching client had read the ebook sections when it came time for our coaching session.
Then I moved the content to short videos that my clients could access online. I noticed that more clients watched the videos than had read the notebook. So in the case of my clients, when I give them the option of videos vs books for learning, video won.
YMMV, as I said, you want to test for yourself whether books or videos suit your learning style. But the popularity of videos on YouTube, Facebook and other places indicates that video is certainly growing and worthy of your learning attention.
See my online time management school at
– Garland Coulson, “Captain Time”