Audio-book, ebook, or printed copy; which one is better?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each format, as well as my personal preference and opinion.

I have come across this debate quite often and thought it was time for me to discuss it with you.

downloadFirst on the list are audio-books, which happen to be my least favourite of the three. Audio-books can be very easy to read, since someone else is reading them. Moreover, the fact that you can listen to them while doing other less enjoyable tasks is a great plus, because it allows you to listen to your favourite book and be productive at the same time. On the other hand, the fact that they require less effort to be read is also a disadvantage. The less effort someone puts into doing something, the less likely it is that it will stay with him/her. When I’m listening to an audio-book, I always feel like I have to pause it, go back, and listen to a certain part again because I have gotten distracted or something like that. In other words, listening to audio-books does not require enough effort on my part for me to get what I want from it. Add to that the fact that audio-books are so expensive and I prefer not to buy them. I simply don’t think they are worth the money. I know, of course, that there are apps and sites that offer very good deals on audio-books. It’s just that I listen to audio-books so rarely that subscribing to any one of them would be a waste of money.

00_audiobook_lead_image_origSo, what makes me want to read an audio-book? The fact that they are easier to read and easier to comprehend. For example, when I had first picked up ‘The Portrait of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde to read, I had to put it down after just a few pages. I simply couldn’t understand a thing. So, I started listening to the audio-book to see if I could understand it more easily and, indeed, I could. The problem was that with the audio-book I was always getting distracted, so I have finally decided that a combination of audio-book + physical copy is what I need. Another great example would be ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen. I started reading this one a while ago, but couldn’t get farther than a few pages into the story. So listening to the audio-book could help me get through the boring part a bit faster so that I can read the rest of the story.

However, despite the advantages of audio-books over the other two formats, audio-books are still too expensive for me. That’s why I prefer to use the app Audiobooks (very inspired name don’t you think?). It’s an app for android (I don’t know if it’s available for iPhone) that has free audio-books. The downside is that it has only classics and books that are in the public domain, but for me this is not a problem.

imagesAfter my essay on audio-books, it’s now time to discuss ebooks. Ebooks are my second favourite book type. They are easy to carry, easy to read and there is a vast and ever-growing variety of titles to choose from. In fact, in the last few years it has become easy to find even Greek ebooks, something close to impossible a few years ago. I like reading ebooks. I own hundreds of titles, more than my printed books to be sure. But they’re still not my favourite. Why? Because I don’t get as much out of the experience of reading them as I do when reading the physical copy of the same books. I cannot explain it any better right now. Also, I do think that many ebooks are overpriced. Sometimes the ebooks are even pricier than the actual book. There is no reason for an ebook to cost that much money when the cost of its creation was a lot cheaper. Let’s not forget that most authors nowadays prefer to write on their computers, so the cost of the e-book is included in the cost of the creation of its physical copy. That is why I think they are overpriced and that is why I so rarely pay full price for them. Instead, I have become an expert at finding e-books at reasonable prices and even for free from time to time.

download (2)Lastly, we have the old-fashioned printed book. This is my favourite book format. They make the whole experience of reading the book unique. I always become so engrossed when reading a printed book. It’s as if I’m sucked into the book and become an invisible part of the story. The reading of a book is a much slower process for me than it is with e-books and audio-books. The main reason for that is that I tend to take a lot of breaks. Not the type of breaks where you go to grab a snack, drink some water, go to the bathroom, etc. I’m talking about the type of breaks when you get up and start pacing because you are frustrated with a certain character, or the
type of break when you stop to think how you would like the story to continue and create a whole new book inside your mind, orimages (2) when you stop to think about what you have read so far and try to figure out what will happen next or how the book will end (and when finally your P.I. skills prove you right again –seriously guys, my title should be P.B.E.I: Private Book Ending Investigator). Yeah, what was that word I used? Unique. Yes, it is a very “unique” experience.

Apart from that, though, I do have other reasons that I prefer printed books to audiobooks and e-books. The most important of all being that I love books, I love holding them, I love looking at them, and I love smelling them. I love looking at my bookshelves and seeing all these books. It makes me so proud when other people come into my room and see my collection and I am able to say that I have read most of the books I own. It’s weird how I almost act like Gollum around my books sometimes. Thankfully, I don’t talk to them or call them ‘my precious’, although I do like to gaze at their pretty covers, admire how beautiful they look on my shelves, and hold them in my hands enjoying the feel of them. I don’t think that’s unhealthy, after all I don’t do it all the time. I bet lots of people do the same thing, right? I’m definitely not turning into Gollum. I still have a very natural skin tone instead of grey and I have all of my hair and all of my teeth. images (3).jpg

Lastly, for all of the above reasons, I believe that paying for the printed copy of a book is a much better way to spend your money than paying for the ebook or the audio-book. The printed copy will stay with me. Yes, it will take up space in my house and yes, it will gather dust. But it will also be something that I will be able to give to my children when I have them. Just like my parents gave to me the books they loved to read as children. I believe that it is important for a parent to do that. It is watching a house full of books that will inspire a child to read, or at least it’s what inspired me to read.

What is your opinion? What do you prefer audio-books, e-books, or printed books? I would like to hear your thoughts on this post. Tell me in the comments below. Or better yet, write your own post about it and share it with me.


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