Hardcovers, paperbacks, e-books, and audiobooks; whatever way you choose to read has its vantage points and other things that aren’t so great around them. Here are some pros and cons of every book format.
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Out of all the formats, hardcovers are definitely the most durable of all. Their sturdy built has helped hardcovers survive for literal hundreds of years. You can maybe argue that e-books and audiobooks have more durability than that but they’re only accessible as long as whatever device you read them in is working, and phones and e-readers go obsolete FAST. So, I would say that hardcovers have more longevity.
easiest to store
Again, because of their sturdy built, hardcovers are definitely easier to store. Hardcovers are the easiest to put on shelves, stack on top of each other or leave standing because they don’t bend, slide off or fall over as easily. It’s just the nature of a book to spend more time on a shelf than in someone’s hands, so their storing potential is very important.
Perhaps this is just a personal opinion, but I think that hardcovers are the fairest of them all. There’s so much that can be done to a design of a hardcover that can’t be done or isn’t done as often in other book formats such as embossing, sprayed edges, designed endpapers, etc. Just very nice to look at altogether.
Uncomfortable to read
Out of all the formats, hardcovers might just be the most uncomfortable to read. While they do lay flat easier than paperbacks, they’re also just harder to hold in general. Everything that makes them durable makes them just a little bit less fun to read. They tend to be heavier and stiff, which prevents you from bending them for easy reading. Also, you have to take the dust jacket off to be able to read more comfortably and I live in constant fear of losing it.
Tragically, but understandably, hardcovers are more expensive than other book formats. Don’t think I need to go much more into detail here.
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No need to go much into detail here either. Being able to spend less money on things you love is just always good.
Easy to read
They’re floppy, soft, and lightweight, which makes them perfect to read in any circumstance. You can be holding onto the poles or handles on the subway with one hand while holding your book in the other without fear of falling in your face or dropping your book.
Good to carry around with you
If they’re not more than 500 pages, they weigh basically nothing, so you can take one or two or three with you everywhere without straining your back.
Kinda opposite to hardbacks in the way that everything that makes them easier to carry ad read makes them less durable. Ever put your book into your bag in a rush and then you take it out and it looks like a piece of fried pig skin? That’s a real tragedy right there.
differences in sizing
If you don’t care much about this one you probably don’t see this as a disadvantage, but as someone who cares a little bit too much about aesthetics, the different sizes of paperbacks drive me crazy. While on hardcovers there are two standard sizes in which most books come from, paperbacks are just a whole other thing. Sometimes even in the same book series books end up being different sizes, which is really infuriating.
take more time to come out
When a book is first published it almost always is published in hardback first, and if you are the kind to wait for the paperback then you have to wait a whole year for it. You’ll eventually get the book, but having to wait sucks.
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There are many things that are convenient about e-books like the fact that they are cheaper than print books, you can get them from anywhere without needing to have access to a bookstore (as long as you have an internet connection), you can get them right when they come out–which is especially great if you are impatient like me and stay up till midnight waiting for a book to be released. They’re also super easy to carry around and you can have dozens of them in the palm of your hand.
The fact that you can change the settings on your e-books does a lot for accessibility. You can change the size of the font, background color, and there are even fonts that help dyslexic people. E-readers and phones also much easier to hold than print books and this can help people with impaired mobility read with more ease.
They do require electricity to work, but because there is no need for trees, ink or other harmful chemicals that are used for the printing of books I consider this a win.
batteries run out
The batteries of all electronic devices sadly don’t last forever. Sometimes they run out in the worst of moments and then you’re stuck on an hour-long commute with a dead e-reader or phone and nothing to entertain yourself with.
bad for your eyes
While they can make reading easier, prolonged exposure to screens can really damage your eyesight and have other undesirable effects on your overall health. There are steps you can take to prevent this, but it’s still a pretty big downside.
can’t be shared with other people
While you can easily lend a book to a family member or friend, e-books are impossible to share with others. This is understandable as piracy is a pretty big problem for e-books, but it’s still sad that you don’t get to share the books you love with a loved one.
image via audible
Audiobooks are the BEST for multitasking. You can play one while cleaning your room, making dinner, excising, going on a road trip, etc. It’s double the productivity with half the effort.
Just like e-books, audiobooks can make reading more accessible to different types of people. For some people, it’s hard to concentrate on a book, and they can find it easier and more enjoyable to listen to it. It’s also extremely helpful for people with impaired visions.
narrators can enhance the experience
Great narrators can make a book 10 times more enjoyable. It’s fun to listen to the narrators make different voices for different characters, give them accents that you might’ve not heard in your head, and add emotions to the dialogues that perhaps you wouldn’t have. Also, the production for an audiobook goes ham sometimes and they even add sound effects, which makes it all more fun.
reading with your eyes closed
Perhaps my favorite thing about audiobooks is being able to read them without having to have your eyes open. After a long day of work and other things, sometimes you want to read but can’t find the energy to, and audiobooks are perfect for this. You can turn off all the lights, lie down, close your eyes, and just listen.
If zoning out while reading a print book happens from time to time, imagine how often it can happen while listening to an audiobook (especially if you’re not an auditory learner). And it’s really hard to try to go back and find the place you were at before you zoned out.
Audiobooks are on the pricier side of books, and most places that sell them in the first place are on a subscription basis that can turn a lot of people off from them.
hard to find a specific part of a book
There is obviously no text on an audiobook, meaning that you can’t look up specific parts of if, but also that you can’t underline or annotate parts of it that you enjoyed (or hated), which is really sad if you are someone who likes doing that.
Just like great narrators can make audiobooks great, bad narrators can make audiobooks terrible. Whether it is that their voices sound nothing like you picture the main character sounding, or that they mispronounce things, a bad narrator will make you want to exit a book immediately.
Featured image via Blue Sky psws