This month I would like to ask you a question
Traditional book, e-book or audiobook- which one do you prefer?
The way we read and generally interact with books changed significantly in latest years. What before was only available in published on paper version now can be reached in electronic version as well. Easy access and portability of computers, tablets, e-readers and smartphones lead to traditional books being partly replaced by electronic versions on your devices.
Traditional books vs e-books
There are still people who resist the technology and stay loyal to traditional books and I don’t blame them. The printed book has its beautiful charm! I love the feel and the smell of a new book. It is a part of reading experience when you touch it, feel it, smell it and turn pages. It is something which cannot be replaced by e-book reading experience.
…Something we once loved, and love now, in the shape of a book. Maybe eBooks are going to take over, one day, but not until those whizzkids in Silicon Valley invent a way to bend the corners, fold the spine, yellow the pages, add a coffee ring or two and allow the plastic tablet to fall open at a favorite page.”
― Russell T. Davies, foreword to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Although I love traditional books I also don’t mind e-books. I know many people who would always choose printed book over electronic copy. I am one of them… but in last few years my opinion on other versions are not that strong anymore. I actually have an e-book-reader at home. I know, I know… It is not the same experience as with the traditional books… but in the age of convenience it is really good find. You can store thousands of books in 6-inch screen device that can comfortably fit in your small hand bag. It is for sure convenient and very handy when I commute on the train and don’t need to carry big printed books with me (they can be bulky to carry around).
Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who like to read on the subway, or who do not want other people to see how they are amusing themselves, or who have storage and clutter issues, but they are useless for people who are engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books. Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on.”
― Joe Queenan, One for the Books
I’m not opposing the technology and the changes in a way we read and interact with written words. I appreciate some features of the e-book reader. It is a great technology advance. But… if I read a really good book on my e-book reader I want to own it in a printed copy. I would go to bookshop and actually buy this book in traditional format to have on my bookshelf. I love to go back to my books and re-read them or at least scan some parts again.
Is it nostalgia?… old fashioned behaviour? … maybe… I don’t mind it…
Until recently, I was an ebook sceptic, see; one of those people who harrumphs about the “physical pleasure of turning actual pages” and how ebook will “never replace the real thing”. Then I was given a Kindle as a present. That shut me up. Stock complaints about the inherent pleasure of ye olde format are bandied about whenever some new upstart invention comes along. Each moan is nothing more than a little foetus of nostalgia jerking in your gut. First they said CDs were no match for vinyl. Then they said MP3s were no match for CDs. Now they say streaming music services are no match for MP3s. They’re only happy looking in the rear-view mirror.”
― Charlie Brooker
What about audiobooks?
They are a bit different. It is not you reading but somebody else does it for you.
I listen to audio books on my way to work almost every day. They certainly make my commute really enjoyable. But not all books are that great in this format. Sometimes the voice of the reading person doesn’t suit you and it can ruin the experience. I prefer no-fiction books in this format but I know people who love to listen to all sorts of books that way. If you want to try audio books I recommend you to use Audible (try Audible Free Trial [Digital Membership]).
I’ve never listened to an audiobook before, and I have to say it’s a totally different experience. When you read a book, the story definitely takes place in your head. When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes”
― Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
What about you?
Which book format do you prefer?
Or maybe you like all of them?
Please share your experience by leaving a comment below.
Thanks for taking part in this month Book Club discussion!