Readers have more media choices than ever. With so many books now released in traditional formats, eBooks, and audiobooks, it can be hard to choose which format is best. If you’re trying to make a decision, you might want to think of the pros and cons of each type of media.
Books: Pros and Cons
It’s hard to say how important books have been to history. Modern books have been in print since the Renaissance and nothing has really come along to supplant them yet. Books are relatively inexpensive, yet they can provide years of entertainment. They require no batteries, no charging, and no wi-fi connection to work. Once you own a book, you own it forever – no contracts, no data plans, and no worry that someone will lose the license to the work. A book can be a constant companion that stays by your side over the years. There’s seven something to be said for the touch and smell of an old book, sensations that can bring you back to the moment at which you first opened the book.
Books are, however, harder to store than you think. One book is easy enough to put on a shelf, but a collection requires a great deal of space. Books are also very hard to travel with, especially if you’re the type of person to go through novels quickly. Books also have the misfortune of being physical objects in a digital world, so you’ll always have to put more effort into buying and receiving a book than you’d have to put into getting the information in another manner. Compared to other forms of media, books also require more effort – if you need more information on something in a book, you’ll have to turn to another device to get what you need.
EBooks: Pros and Cons
When it comes to convenience, few things beat an eBook. eBooks take up only as much space as your chosen reader, so you’ll never have to worry about where you’ll store the books. They’re also weightless so you can carry an entire library in your pocket when you travel. eBooks are also becoming more advanced, with hyperlinked text, in-novel definitions, and dozens of other little extras that can make your reading experience even more immersive. With millions of eBooks already in print, you’ll be in the unique position of being able to get nearly-instant access to almost anything you want to read with just a press of a button.
There are a few downsides to eBooks. The big one, of course, is that they are in an electronic format. This means that you may not get access to your books if you run out of battery power, something you’d never have to deal with if you had a standard book. There are also real format and copyright issues surrounding eBooks as well, so it’s possible for you to buy a copy of a great book and then lose access because the standards have changed. In fact, you may even run into the difficulty of having to buy only specific devices because your eBooks are stored in a specific format. eBooks can be great, but they may not be future-proof.
Audiobooks: Pros and Cons
Audiobooks can be incredible tools for those who don’t have enough time to sit down and read a book. Despite what some may say, listening to a book is just as valid a way to immerse yourself in literature as reading a standard novel. If you choose an audiobook, you’ll get the benefit of being able to listen to a story on the go – put on your headphone or pair up your device and you can turn your commute into a useful reading experience. Some audiobooks can even take the story to the next level, using full casts or even making use of audio effects to help immerse the listener into the story. If you’re looking for a way to get access to your favorite stories in an audio format, audiobooks are hard to beat.
Audiobooks, unfortunately, have many of the same drawbacks as eBooks. You have to have a device to listen to the books and if you run out of power you’re stuck without your favorite story. Audiobooks also tend to have a pacing problem – you’ll go through the story at the pace of the reader, so you might move too fast or slow for your own tastes. You’ll also have to deal with the possibility of missing content or specific words just because you don’t quite understand what the narrator is saying. Audiobooks can be incredibly useful, but it’s often harder to really do a deep dive into the content if you don’t have the written word in front of you.
There’s really no clear winner here. Traditional books are best for those who value feelings of nostalgia, while eBooks win for those who need a constant stream of information. Audiobooks tend to be better for commuters or for those who want an immersive experience, though both eBooks and traditional books can be immersive in their own ways. In short, it might be best to think of all three types of books as the best for certain types of readers. No matter which of them you choose, you’ll end up with a fantastic experience that will help you move ever closer to the story.