I had a professor in college who always said that you can only compare different things based on their similarities. And that is so true, that I had in fact never even considered it. I just took it for granted. That being said, the three types of reading experiences that I am going to talk to you about are very different, and the similarities they share are mostly limited to the actual content.
Let’s see. First off, I should probably mention that I am an Audiobook novice. I’ve listened to my first entire book in October. I had tried to before but never actually managed to get into the story. Something about being unable to focus enough. I’m an avid reader, and I always have been. I read fast when I enjoy a book and when I finish it, I pick up the sequel (if there is one) and I power through until the conclusion when I know how the story ends and I can finally sleep.
The Old-Fashioned Book
I must say that this is my favorite type of reading experience. I know everyone says that hard copies of books are always better and it’s a universal truth. But it’s the ‘WHY” that matters.
The Original Reading Experience
Reading a physical form of a book brings back the nostalgia of young me reading the new Harry Potter book at 4 A.M. with a torchlight. It is the type of experience that made me fall in love with reading in the first place, and it’s marvelous. You get the beautiful cover and a gorgeous copy to add to your collection. There is something particularly gratifying about finishing a particularly long book ( ‘Dragonfly in Amber’) and then putting it on your shelf, looking at it as if it’s a badge of honor.
As I mentioned before, I read fast, and I read a lot when I enjoy a book. Reading on paper is a lot easier on the eyes, then it is when reading on a tablet. Granted, 400 pages later at 2 in the morning, my eyes will hurt regardless, but it is still much more gentle to enjoy the story courtesy of ink and paper.
The Bookshop Experience
I’m sure that I’m not the only person who loves going to the bookstore almost as much as they enjoy reading the book after. The magnetic pull of the neatly stacked books is unbearably strong, and the Nirvana of shelves and shelves of brand new hardback copies is something that every reader is familiar with. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you go to the bookstore, and most times, you find something. It’s magical.
My book collection is something that I am very protective of. Some people don’t understand it. My father, for example, asked me why in the world do I need 4 different editions of The Hobbit. To me, that doesn’t need explaining. I’ve read each edition, and I have arranged them all on my Tolkien Shelf, and it brings me joy to look at them. You can’t do that with Kindle and Audible, can ya?
Ebooks – The King Of The Tube
Ebooks are certainly not my preferred method of reading, but they do have some undisputed qualities. The problem is that if I really enjoy the book, I end up buying the hard copy as well for my collection. It’s an expensive hobby.
When You’re On The Move
Living in London, I learned several important things. But the one thing that is actually relatively related to what we’re talking about here is that the Tube (or underground for those of you from the US) is boring as f***. At least for me, it is. Any journey longer than 15 minutes and I am dying….UNLESS…I bring a book along for the ride. BUT books are heavy. It is so much easier to tuck a Kindle reader or Ipad in your purse than it is to do so with Anna Karenina. I mean, my shoulders are not made of steel, and I need to be able to use them after too. So I gave in and bought a Kindle, and I use it whenever I travel. It has certainly made my bag much more comfortable to carry around all day.
‘The “Can’t Wait for” Factor.’
You know what I mean, right? When you MUST know what happens in this book and you cannot possibly expect to have time to go to the bookstore. You can have it right now if you want. You go to the website, pay for the book and it’s with you instantly. I have bought many books because I couldn’t wait to go to the bookstore to purchase it. Especially since I currently live in Bulgaria and books in English here are not necessarily the most recent releases.
The Price Is Right
Ebooks are typically cheaper than paper. And with book prices on the rise, it is really not surprising that people find it hard to afford all the reads they want to buy. With a Kindle book at about 5 pounds and a hardcopy around 10, it is a significant price difference, and sometimes, it tips the scale. Especially if it’s a book that I’m not sure I’ll like.
Audio Books – Your Grandmother Only Digital
You know how your grandmother used to read you stories at night before you went to sleep. I feel like audio books are basically the same thing. Especially after a long day at work, when you finally lay down in bed, and you put on your audio book, you set the sleep timer for 30 mins (more like 15, but still…) and enjoy the shit out of it.
It’s A Completely Different Experience
I don’t even think this should be considered a reading experience. Honestly, this is something else completely. The first book I ‘read’ on Audible was ‘The Girl On The Train’ (5 stars by the way), and I loved it. I loved the book, and I enjoyed listening to it. It was hard to get used to in the beginning as doing other things often distracted me from the book, and at one point I would realize that I had no idea what had happened in the past 5 minutes. While it’s still not my preferred method, I learned to enjoy it.
Helps You Get Trough Daunting Books
Some books are so long that it makes you not want to read them. People tend to lose motivation to finish a book after a certain page, and it comes as no surprise that having an audio narration can be very helpful. I recently listened to “Voyager” by Diana Gabaldon (it is a huge book, at more than 45 hrs) and it was fantastic.