I’m sure you’re all familiar with the eternal debate: which format of book is better? My answer: all of them. I genuinely think that however you enjoy reading or can access books or feel comfortable reading is absolutely fine. Personally, I read a pretty even mix of audiobooks, physical books, and ebooks. I don’t necessarily prefer one format over another. I have learned that I tend to chose my book formats depending on what genre of book I’m reading. Today, I wanted to take a look at what formats I prefer for each genre of books (and vice versa).

Ebooks

Let’s start with ebooks. They’re probably the format I talk about least, but I do actually read a lot of them. Other than the fact they’re pretty convenient, most of the advance reader copies I get from publishers are ebooks. But I have realized there are two specific genres I actually prefer to read as ebooks: thrillers and romance.

One of the biggest benefits of ebooks is the fact that you can scroll. Depending on how you utilize that feature, it can limit how much you have to scan your eyes down the page. I scroll as I read, not as I get to the bottom of the page, which increases my reading speed quite a bit. I find that really works for romance and thriller books. Those are two genres I absolutely fly through when I read them, and that is so much easier with ebooks. I have finished thrillers in a few hours before and been surprised to find out they were five-hundred pages. They just go so quickly on e-readers. (If you want to know how I read so many books, that definitely helps.)

I just find I read ebooks faster than any other format, and that works particularly well for books I naturally want to read quickly. But that is not always the case which brings us to…

Audiobooks

You all know I love audiobooks. The number of posts I’ve written that are dedicated to audiobooks gives it away. And I do listen to almost all genres on audiobooks. But something I particularly love listening to on audio is nonfiction. The reason for that is that I’m a fairly quick reader, and nonfiction books are slower reads. They’re also a lot more dense, and if I read them quickly, I find that I don’t really remember all that much. It’s also tempting to skim (which I know is a bad habit, especially when I’m enjoying a book, but I just get so impatient).

Since I’m a fast reader, audiobook narration is much slower than my actual reading speed (even when I increase the speed of the book). So it forces me to slow down and actually pay attention. I’ve shared before how my favorite way to read classic novels for class when I was in college was to listen to the audiobook while reading the physical book, because it made me slow down and take in what I was reading. I don’t do that anymore, but I will listen in the car or while doing hobbies I don’t have to think too much about (like knitting), but I do find that I remember a lot more of the nonfiction I read on audio as opposed to ebooks or physical books.

I have been listening to a lot of science books, but I also really like listening to history books or big biographies. Having to slow down is also the same reason I don’t listen to thrillers or romance books on audio – I need to know what happens right now and can’t wait another ten hours. The forty-hour Pillars of the Earth was basically torture, because I just wanted to finish it as fast as possible.

Physical Books

Last, but not least, is the OG format: physical books. You can’t argue with the fact that physical books are amazing. They’re tangible – there’s something about holding a book in your hand and physically turning the page. They look pretty on the shelves – I genuinely love being surrounded by books all the time, it makes me really happy. And they smell good. Just ask Rory. And the perfume and multiple candles I have that smell like books (not kidding – you can buy the perfume here).

For me, any books work in physical format. But the genres that I like reading as physical books more than other formats are definitely fantasy and historical fiction. For some reason, I think when a book has heavier content, I naturally want to hold a heavier book in my hands. I want that sensation of a physical book, of looking at a piece of paper, turning the pages, and when I’m done, being able to physically put that book down. I know it’s not really a practical reason like the ones I’ve mentioned above, but that feeling of a physical book just adds to certain books, and I like to take advantage of that.


Let me know in the comments: What book format is your favorite? Are there any genres you like reading in specific formats? Any you don’t like? I’d love to hear your take!

I know Mondays are typically Book Review days here on Adventures of a Bibliophile, but since I didn’t have a review planned for today, I thought I’d do something a little bit different. I am working on revamping the blog (just a little bit), so let me know what posts you enjoy reading most – I definitely appreciate your feedback!

8 thoughts

  1. I have thought about this before particularly as it relates to how I chose between audiobooks vs physical books (I don’t read many ebooks). I find that classic literature is easier for me to read in a physical format so that I can change my reading speed as needed to fully grasp the story. Also, if the book is really long, over 500 pages, I really prefer a physical book because I love seeing my progress as I flip through the pages and then the satisfaction of closing the book when I am done. My favorite genre to listen to is YA. I love going back and listening to old favorites as well as finding new YA stories (particularly fantasy) because I find it relaxing and I can also do other things like clean or go on a walk and still find it easy to track what is happening.

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    1. Interesting! I don’t particularly enjoy YA or fantasy audiobooks, but I do like listening to longer books (particularly if they’re nonfiction) and the occasionally classic. Funny that we both like different formats for different reasons. But I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s thought about this.

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  2. Nah, I’m really pretty much an ebook reader with a quickly rising propensity for audiobooks. Since most of the books I get are from NetGalley, they are all ebooks. If I see a book I want that is not on NG, I’ll go to my library. If they have the book as an audiobook–yes! Score! Otherwise, I’ll read it. My local library has an awesome selection.

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  3. When I had a long commute, I used my audiobook time to fit in genres that weren’t making it to the top of my to-read list otherwise – specifically sci-fi and fantasy. I also really love hearing authors narrate their memoirs in audiobook format. I prefer a physical book to an ebook if I can get one, regardless of genre, but I do appreciate the convenience of an ebook when I pick one up.

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  4. I prefer to read romances in e-book format. Listening to steamy scenes on audiobook is awkward so thats out. And if they have risque covers then I feel like I have to cover them in public places so I prefer those in e-book! Its more discrete haha. Other than that I can pretty much read any book on any format!

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