Book Formats: Which Do You Prefer?

Hey guys! Instead of a book review (which I actually posted a day early, oops!), how about a question for you all?

What format do you prefer your books in? Paper copy, ebook, or audio book?

I’ve watched a number of Booktubers who have discussed the ups and downs of each format. Most seem to like all three, but many of them largely prefer paper copies to the other two. I’ve read/listened for all three formats; they each have their pros and cons, which I want to discuss before delving into my personal favorite.

Paper copy: the tried and true form of a book, the one everyone is probably the most familiar with. Everyone has held a book in their hands at least once in their life. From textbooks, to paperback copies, to the hard cover copies with either their set in covers or slip covers. Pages these days can be standard, thin, glossy, illustrated, edged in colored paint, have gilded edges, or made to look like old manuscript pages. Paperbacks can be the small, mass produced ones (which many do not love, myself included) or the larger “floppier” versions that nearly mimic hard covers except for their flexibility. The two major downsides to books is the manufacturing (the poor trees!) and the sheer weight of carrying more than one tome around.

ebooks: the digital, more versatile version of books. Whether you use a Kindle, iBooks, a Nook, or something else, all you need is one device that can connect to the internet to download a purchased book. You don’t even have to leave home to get a book and it only takes seconds from the time you buy to the time you read. Depending on your device’s capacity, you can store thousands upon thousands of books. Overall, ebooks can also be less pricey than paper books, but this isn’t always the case; I have found some books on Amazon where the paperback copy is less expensive than the digital ebook. There’s also the need to charge your device, especially if it’s a separate device like the Nook or Kindle. But they are far less cumbersome for lengthier trips where you can carry one ereader versus 4-5 books.

Audio books: the spoken version of books, an audio book merely requires a device that can play sound. Some audio books still come in CD format so you can play them with a disc reader; others can be downloaded from the internet. There are even some apps, such as Audible, that act must like an ereader and store books in the audio version. Audio books are beneficially for individuals who are on the go but don’t always have time to actually site and read. It allows for one to multitask while still enjoying a book. You can exercise, cook, clean, drive, do all manner of tasks while still enjoying a book.

So, what’s my preferred format for books? I’m somewhat of a traditionalist so I prefer actual paper books. I like feeling the paper in my hands. Also, books are a physical comfort for me; having one in my hands is calming, something I don’t quite feel with ebooks or audio books. I did inherit my mother’s Kindle, but rarely use it; most of the time is sits uncharged on my table. I also have iBooks on my phone, but I just don’t feel the same connection as I do with a book.

As for audio books, while enjoyable I sometimes get lost in dialogue. While many of the individuals who read for the audio books do their best to do the voices of each character, it is difficult for me to discern the differences. I often get lost as to who is speaking what line. I wish audio books were more like radio dramas: each character has their own voice with a separate person as the narrator. This loses the purpose of an audio book, however. Also, I prefer to listen to music when I’m doing other tasks as music can become soothing to my mind; an audio book becomes one more thing I have to split my attention to. (In other words, despite my profession, I’m awful at multitasking.)

So, there you have it. When I say I’m a book lover, I mean it in the most literal sense. I love books. I can’t walking into a bookstore and not walk out with a book in my hands. I have more books than shelves so they often end up in stalks – and I pray that my cat doesn’t chew their corners off.

What is your preferred format for books?