Pick your poison: E-books, Audiobooks or Print books?

Paper-printed books were the only staple for all the avid readers out there for a long while. But then the digital age revolutionized the reading realm too. And hence came the e-book readers. Then, in the fast-paced world, fans of audiobooks emerged. Each has a unique appeal. At the same time, I’ve encountered readers vehemently opposed to a particular book format. So let’s delve into the advantages of each format and decide upon which one is the best reading format.

Paper-printed books:

Physical books in the form of paperbacks or hardcovers have been reigning in the reading world for ages. Let’s examine why.

Pros of paper-printed books:

  1. The smell of the books is an intoxicating perfume for every book-lover.
  2. The actual pleasure of holding a book, and its comforting weight in the hand, is like hugging a beloved.
  3. The colorful pictures and the graphics lead us by hand into an imaginary world, and we get to see how our favorite characters look or how an essential background of a scene looks.
  4. There’s no blue light to keep you awake at night.
  5. Batteries won’t be exhausted. So Print books are solid and dependable like a loyal friend.
  6. Physical books help you meaningfully stop and savor a story without multi-tasking.
  7. The ability to touch and feel a book cover is a feeling only ardent fans of books would understand.

Cons of paper-printed books:

  1. Printing on large volumes of papers requires many a tree to be slain. Hence it’s not very nature-friendly.
  2. When you go on a long trip and want to carry as many stories with you as possible, bringing heavy, physical books is impractical.
  3. When sick or incapacitated, holding a large book is uncomfortable.
  4. They can’t be read in the dark without the help of at least a book-light, which is a strain on the eyes.
  5. The storage of these books also takes up space, and the books are tougher to carry along while shifting homes.


E-books gained popularity at the beginning of the 21st century. When Amazon released Kindle, its first e-book reader, it was sold out in 5.5 hours. This unprecedented sell-out was a revolution in the reading preference of the current generation. So, it was followed by Barnes and Noble’s e-reader ‘Nook’ and several others.

Pros of E-books:

  1. They are light and compact. So e-books are easy to hold.
  2. They can hold several books at the same time. So it’s easy to carry around, and we can read several stories simultaneously.
  3. They have inbuilt light, the brightness of which is adjustable. So they are a boon to those who need stories to lull them to sleep (Yup, even adults).
  4. They can be read even in the dark without disturbing anyone else with lamp lights or straining our own eyes.
  5. Since no paper is required, trees are not cut for paper.
  6. Since most e-book readers have an inbuilt dictionary or are connected to wi-fi, the meaning of any word on a page can be found by just tapping on it.
  7. You don’t need to visit the library every time to check a book out. Free, E-books can be downloaded using the apps the local library supports.

Cons of E-books:

  1. The blue light emanating from them can disturb sleep.
  2. Many e-book readers don’t support pictures in color.
  3. Their batteries might be long-lasting but still, need to be charged from time to time.
  4. Wi-fi is required to download books onto e-readers. Hence, e-books cannot be downloaded in remote places like campsites.


The first Audiobook was released in 1932 by the American Foundation for the Blind. But the audio format has gained popularity as they are a perfect fit for this fast-paced world.

Pros of Audiobooks:

  1. They are a boon for the visually challenged and those with reading disabilities.
  2. While listening to audiobooks, we can even multi-task. We can listen while doing house chores or even driving a car.
  3. We can fall asleep to audiobooks, unlike reading which strains our eyes.
  4. Audiobooks don’t waste paper.
  5. Audiobooks don’t even require equipment of their own. They can be downloaded onto your phone.
  6. You can download library books for free, right from the comfort of your home. It saves a trip to the library.
  7. You can listen during commute on public transportation if reading while on the move makes you sick or gives you a headache.
  8. There’s no need for light for audiobooks that might disturb others at night.
  9. Listening to audiobooks feels like someone is talking to you and is strangely comforting sometimes.

Cons of Audiobooks:

  1. When you’re preoccupied, Audiobooks are the worst choice. After getting lost in your thoughts, you won’t even know how much of the story you missed.
  2. You might hate the grating voice narrating the story with ridiculous inflections. And this might spoil the entire book for you.
  3. It would be best if you had wi-fi, a fully charged phone and headphones, or a speaker but technology tends to be unreliable.

Stories are stories. It doesn’t matter in which form you consume it. You still get to live a thousand lives. You get to hear a million perspectives. Unlike a movie, they are all in their purest, undiluted form. You still get to connect with an author from another time or from beyond their grave. And each format has its advantage and benefit a unique set of audiences. So instead of arguing over which reading format is best, we should stop judging and start to read.

Published by Nirkkuna Nagaraj

Reading is my passion and writing is my forte. My curiosity for everything this world has to offer, spanning all genres has made me into a content creator. The love for language and wordplay made me record all my observations and hence am now a blogger.

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