April 2016- Traditional book, e-book or audiobook- which one do you prefer?

April 2016

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

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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).

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 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…

ebook vs physical book

 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.

images (2)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!




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16 thoughts on “April 2016- Traditional book, e-book or audiobook- which one do you prefer?

  1. Hi Elektra,

    I guess for me, I still prefer actual books and a little bit of e-books. It’s probably nice to have a space in the house, like a home office with a shelf full of reference books or ones that particularly peaks your interest. For e-books, i like using them on the go when I’m on the bus or need a quick reference while I’m out and about. Not much of a fan of audio books though. ^_^

  2. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of paper, so physical books always come out on top for me.

    But…carrying more than one book around with you isn’t that practical. So I do love my Kindle. I’ve got about 50 books on it some of which I dip into now and again, some of which I read from start to finish. And one think I really like about ebooks is that they’re delivered instantly and there are no shipping charges. 🙂

    On doctor’s orders, I’ve been advised to get up off the couch and start walking to shift the spare tire. But I find walking boring. Listening to an audiobook can transport me from the mundane pounding of my feet on pavement to some other world and it makes the exercise time fly by.

    So each type of book – paper, ebook and audiobook – has its place, and I do use all three.

  3. Nice post! Such a good question these days when we have so many choices. I still prefer the regular old book. Although sometimes, if it’s the author who is reading it, I do like an audio book for listening to in the car on long trips. If I did more traveling I see that an e-reader of some sort would come in handy though! Thanks!

  4. I must be old school because I still like regular books but I do like audiobooks too. I think audiobooks are a cool way to listen to a full book without straining your eyes for long periods of time. Did you know it’s easy to create your own audio book as well as a kindle book? I tried it and it’s fun. Great read here!

    1. Appreciate your comment Dave! I’ve never tried to make my own audio book or kindle book. I will definitely look into it, sounds interesting!

  5. Great article, personally I prefer paper back books but sadly I rarely get the time to sit down and read so I listen to a lot of audio books which keep me company on my long commute and at work. To be honest to voice of the reader just becomes wall paper to me and I just listen to the content. The biggest problem I find is when I want to re-read a passage. I’ve never tried an ebook but they don’t appeal to me.
    Great post.

    1. Thanks for your comment Dan! I know what you say about the audio books- at some point when you are into the book you just forget about the person reading and just enjoy the story. Have a go with an e-book- it can be fun experience. There is so many different kinds of e-book readers on the market and you can also use your smartphone.

  6. I prefer to read real books on non-fiction novels, biographies. I would go for ebooks when it comes to say, marketing strategies.

    The thing about physical books is that they occupy space. This becomes an issue if you buy the books yourself. Like the other day I bought a $30 non-fiction for my daughter. She finished it within days and just chuck it on one of her shelves. I then told her to ‘share’ the book with friends so it doesn’t feel ‘abandoned’.

    It’s different if you borrow from the library – you know it gets read by others after you’re done.

    Despite all that, I still prefer to curl up with a good ‘physical’ book when it comes to non-fiction/biographies.

  7. Interesting post. I have always liked the traditional physical book. The real organic experience of holding the book and turning the paper. However like you mention, they can get a bit bulky to carry in numbers haha. Audio books can be interesting as they allow you to relax and let someone do the storytelling for you. I guess modern times have opened up new ways of enjoying a story.

  8. Ha!
    My answer to your question is Yes!
    I love books in any form, I will even sit and read product packages if I have nothing to read while I have my lunch.
    My Kindle is wonderful for all the conveniences, readily available books and portability.
    I still love the feel and smell of old fashioned bound volumes.
    Love your web site!

    1. Hi KariLee, thanks for your comment! All the formats of books are great, some better in different situations or settings then others. Whatever format you choose just keep reading for a fun of it and all the benefits. I wrote the post about the benefits of reading and why we should read every day- please find it here

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