eBooks vs Physical Books vs Audiobooks

ebooksOf late, there has been a great debate circulating within the reading community comparing and contrasting the various modalities of consuming the written word.  Some of those with strong opinions in the debate include the following BookTubers:

Samantha at Novels and Nonsense

Lindsey at Lindsey Rey

Jenny at adultishbooks

Little Book Owl

The Bookchemist


Buzzed on Books

Wanderlust Books

E. Latimer

Paul at Common Touch of Fantasy

Being an inveterate reader, I feel compelled to weigh in on this debate and proffer my own opinions on this issue which has no clear cut black and white division.


First and foremost, I must say that I detest audiobooks and I do not consume them,  Being a visual learner, I am unable to listen to an audiobook without my mind wandering and losing focus of the narrative, such as I am unable to watch a movie with my eyes closed.  That being said, I know that audiobooks have a huge following and are appreciated by many.  I believe that the allegiance to audiobooks is two-fold. First, the ability to listen to a book enables the listener to multitask to accomplish more during their day;  secondly, I believe this modalilty appeals to auditory listeners or those persons who have grown up  with iPods and other music consumption devices.  Listening to an audiobook is just an extension of listening to music.

Being a non-audiobook listener, as well as possessing a persistent bias against this modality of consuming words, I feel unqualified to discuss the pros and cons of this source of literature.

As a 27-year educator, I must point out that even though audiobooks  are one way of consuming  the written word it does not involve the act of reading, but is a listening activity.  Reading is the process of interpreting symbols for meaning which does not occur when listening to audiobooks.


Being a lover of technology, I quickly bought an iPad when they were first released.  My initial iPad was replaced by an iPad 2 which has been replaced by my current use of an iPad Mini.  All three iPads contained all of the reading apps, such as iBooks, Kindle, Nook, GoodReads, etc. and were used to consume reading material.  Even though I thoroughly enjoy reading on the iPad, I find myself vacillating between books in eFormat and physical books. so I am a lover and user of both.

Pros:  portability, storage capacity, accessibility, quick purchase, ability to adjust fonts and background for best viewing experience, price is less than physical books.

Cons:  distractability (yes, I know, my crops are ready in Township, thank you), inability to read out of doors, can cause eye strain and eye fatigue, finite power supply.

Physical Books

I have been a life long reader and have amassed a large number of physical books in 51 years.  I also take great pride in curating and displaying my collection for others to see.  If I were forced to make a decision to only read eBooks or physical books, the definite winner would be physical books.

Pros:  tactual pleasure, lendability, reading books in public encourages literacy among others, easily see ones progression through a novel, pleasure in displaying a collection, ability to easily annotate.

Cons:  portability (think hardcover edition of A Storm of Swords) and readability (static font size, holding a heavy tome).

Happy Reading,

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