We all have our preferences on how we like to read, right? Some people swear by physical copies, others champion the eBook, while others prefer to listen rather than read and opt for audiobooks. I want to start off by saying that those are all legit and wonderful ways to get into books and to get what you want out of literature. However, as I said, we all have preferences. Recently I started working in a bookshop and it’s made me realise that there aren’t too many of those left nowadays (with the rise of online shopping, and the increased popularity of eBooks and audiobooks) so I’ve been wondering, since the store I work in is always busy, what the most popular format is and why.
I turned to twitter for some help on this one and to get an idea of what my followers prefer by posting a poll. A lot of people replied to the poll and gave their reasons for their choice. Now, of course, this isn’t a particularly scientific experiment and only 227 (of the billions of people in the world) answered my poll so this definitely doesn’t serve as a concrete conclusion 😂 But, anyway, it was really interesting for me to see what my followers thought about this and why they had a preference for one or the other.
As you can see from the poll above, I left audiobooks out of this one. Maybe in the future I’ll revisit it to see how that format plays into things.
The outstanding result here was for the preference of reading physical books, with many people stating that there’s nothing like the smell of a new book or being able to display some gorgeous covers on your shelves. However, there was a large portion of people who voted one way but went on to tell me that they use and read both, but for different reasons. This got me thinking and led me (someone who also buys and reads both physical and eBooks) to compile some reasons why I would personally choose one format over the other.
So, here are the pros and cons that I think of (and found from the responses to my poll) for physical books and eBooks.
- Being able to physically hold the book.
- Being able to flip through the pages.
- That book smell.
- Having beautiful covers on your shelf/for decoration.
- Having a completed series on your shelf.
- They’re typically more expensive.
- They take up a lot of space.
- It’s more effort to go and buy them/to have to wait for delivery.
- If you’re someone who hates folding pages, having to find another way to mark your place.
- Can’t be read in the dark.
- Take up a lot less physical space.
- Easier to take on commutes/travels.
- Access to more titles instantly.
- Increased ability to browse titles that you wouldn’t normally be able to find.
- Easier to read when lying down.
- You can change the font size, making life easier for people with poor eyesight.
- Your place is saved automatically.
- Backlit screens make it easier to read in the dark.
- Can’t display any particularly beautiful covers on shelves.
- Don’t get the bookshop browsing experience.
- Don’t get that new book smell.
- Don’t get the same satisfaction of reading a book cover to cover.
For me, I’m a fan of both! I love the bookshop experience to browse through the shelves and find something that really draws me in, but I find eBooks much easier to read quickly and at night, and of course they usually work out much cheaper.
What about you? Do you have a preference? Are there any pros or cons that I’ve missed out here? I’d love to know which you prefer and why!