It’s time to settle the age old question: which book format is better? Is it paperback? Hardcover? Audiobook? Ebook? Answer: ALL OF THEM! (Or I guess none of them? They’re all great, is my point). And I’ll tell you why.
We’ve all heard people make comments about book formats. Whether it’s that they love the floppiness of paperbacks (same), or that they think audiobooks “don’t really count” (I have a whole post about audiobooks, so you can go argue over there and see why I don’t agree with this statement) or that ebooks are killing libraries and bookstores (don’t worry, it’s actually the other way around!). There are people who will only read ebooks because they don’t like book clutter (I get it, I just don’t know if we can be friends), people who literally don’t care what format their book is in (it’s still a book), and people who literally just listen to the same three audiobooks on repeat and never try anything new (and yes, I have met this person).
I personally don’t think any book format is better than the others. I read hardcovers, paperbacks, ebooks (on my phone, iPad, and occasionally my computer), and audiobooks. However, for me, format does actually matter. Why? Because I find different formats suit different books. (I know I might sound like a crazy person, so if you agree with me, please let me know in the comments!)
I like to use different formats for different genres, or different reading moods. For example, I really love listening to nonfiction – especially history or biography – on audio. I find they keep my attention a bit better, and I retain more information that way. Which is weird, because I’m a pretty visual learner, but it works, so I’m not going to analyze it too much. The only downside is that I will typically end up purchasing a physical copy so that I can see the name of a specific dinosaur (now I know how to spell guanlong) or a random town in Russia (like Oranienbaum, where the Romanovs had a house). Audiobooks are also great when I’m tired or have a migraine. Nothing is worse than staring at tiny words on a page when your head feels like it’s going to explode.
Obviously, since I am a visual learner, I do really like reading books with my eyes as well. I will always like physical books, because they’re tangible. It’s such a different feeling sitting down to read a book. I could go full Rory Gillmore with the smell of the pages (yes, I do have both a candle and a perfume/cologne that smell like books, in case you were wondering – so I could totally just have those around when reading an ebook or listening to an audiobook).
Ebooks are something I probably couldn’t avoid, even if I tried. I do get the vast majority of ARCs I receive digitally, so I use some sort of e-reader (my phone or my iPad) at least once a week. And there are some pros to reading a digital book. The thing I like most about ebooks is the scrolling feature. Your eyes don’t move as much, so I can read much faster that way. It also hurts quite a bit less to drop your phone or tablet on your face while reading in bed than, say, an 800-page novel (yes, I am speaking from experience).
I also tend to instinctively have a different feeling when reading different formats. If a book is deep, literary fiction, I’d probably want to slow down and curl up with a paperback. Contemporary romance or thrillers, I can fly through in a day on my iPad. Memoirs are a lot of fun when you listen to the author read them to you. For me, each format is valuable for a different reason. But they’re also interchangeable. I’ve read memoirs as hardcovers and ebooks, and listened to literary fiction.
Ultimately, I think it all comes down to preference. And that is totally, one-hundred percent okay. Everyone likes different things. How many other people have read like six contemporary romances, four biographies (about everyone from Catherine the Great to Einstein), a book about zombifying parasites, and a fantasy book about different worlds (among 100 other things) this year alone? I’m guessing not a lot. And that’s fine, because I realize my reading habits are kind of crazy (even though I wouldn’t trade them for the world). So it should also be acceptable if you only like audiobooks or ebooks or prefer paperbacks. No format is superior to the others, and I’ve come to appreciate all of them for their different qualities.
So, do you have a favorite book format? Which ones do you read?