Asking which book medium is my favorite is a little like asking me to pick my favorite child. (In theory, I don’t have children…) I saw the inspiration for this week’s post and, I’m not joking, my back got tense! I don’t want to pick, I love them all.
To be totally frank, I think that the ongoing debate of pitting e-books and print books and audiobooks against each other in some fight to the death misses the point of reading entirely. New technology hasn’t slowed the bookworms’ voracious appetites for content. In fact, recent studies show that my generation, the 18 – 35-year-olds, are the most likely to visit a public library.
E-books and audiobooks are incredible for authors and make books less expensive and more accessible. I’m of the mind that people who sniff at e-books just don’t like the tides of change, and that’s too bad. New tech is great for readers and writers. Which is why I’m not going to pick a favorite, but tell you a little about why I love each one.
Yes, okay, there really is something about holding a book in your hand. I love the feel of the pages between my fingers, I like the freedom to look ahead to see how long the section is. I have a very large collection of bookmarks sitting by my bedside. The truth is, print books are great– I collect and store them like crazy and that’s part of the reason I love having an e-reader. Because I don’t think there’s anywhere else to put them!
Print books are never, ever going to go out of style. They make great conversation starters and offer an inexplicable physical comfort, a place for the author to inscribe, a nicely wrapped birthday gift. They can rest safely, knowing they won’t be going anywhere soon. They just have something special about them nothing can replace.
But e-books have their own something special too. Yes, it took a little getting used to, before I moved firmly into the camp of ‘I don’t care the medium, just get me the book’. There are a lot of great perks to e-books– for one, I take four or five out from my library a month. It’s all done remotely and I have instant access to the books I want. And if the library doesn’t have it or doesn’t have it in, I can go straight to Amazon or B&N or the publisher’s website to download a copy.
Instant gratification leads to more sales for authors–- who, incidentally, pick up muchhigher royalties on e-books than print books. I can even download e-books to my phone from my library or Amazon account, and have done so on several occasions where I didn’t expect to need a book. (Side note: Always expect to need a book.).
There are other great benefits of e-books too: A lot of the classic novels are free for download, so I spent a summer reading the d’Artagnan Romances. The built-in dictionary filter was a huge help for getting through them, and I liked being able to highlight parts of the book to return to later. Not to mention, e-readers are great for traveling and bopping around town. They’re lightweight and you have all the books in the world right at your fingertips. (As long as there’s WiFi!)
I will sing the praises of audiobooks until the day I die. Given the amount of time I spend alone in my office, I make a point of exercising every single day. I walk to my part-time jobs across town, walk to the gym, and walk around my quaint little suburban neighborhood, whether it’s ninety-five degrees (today), raining, snowing or freezing.
Because of audiobooks.
Audiobooks give the book a whole new feel, make the characters come alive in your ear. It’s not quite a play or movie, but it’s different from just sitting down and reading the book too. They’re their own kind of magic and I’m completely and utterly obsessed with them. I love nothing more than spending an afternoon baking while listening to a few hours of my latest book. Even if I don’t have much downtime to read during the week, I can always get in an audiobook.
The only downside is that sometimes you will find yourself staring at a wall listening to your book for three hours because you just need to find out what happens next. They’re not exactly easy to binge. Oh, and there’s nothing like the faces I make when I hear certain…unexpected language or scenes while I’m out in a public place…
♥ ♥ ♥
I’m not going to pick because I don’t consider this a competition. All three of these media are fantastic and different ways to achieve the same goal. Read more books. Enjoy more stories. Fall in love with more authors and characters and worlds. At the end of the day, I don’t care which of the three I have, I just care about the book. ♦