Book Formats: Pros and Cons

Books come to us in all formats.  There’s the traditional print in both hardcover and paperback, ebooks, and audiobooks.  It’s most likely that we have used all formats, either because we could only get a book in a specific format or we just wanted to try it out.  Or maybe a certain format will only work in a specific situations (i.e. listening to an audiobook while driving).  We all have our preferences of course, so I took to Twitter to see what some of those preferences were and why.

So as you can see in the poll, paperbacks were the more popular of the formats, because of their lightness and easiness to hold were the main reasons.  Though there were some other great ones.  Hardcovers came in second due to their stability, which of course makes a lot of sense.  Then ebooks because they’re easy take when you travel, and audiobooks came in last.  Though to be fair, this is based on 46 votes.  I’m sure given more time and if more responses had been recorded, the results would look a bit different.

Even so, let’s look at the pros and cons of each format.  There’s been enough debates over the formats to gather what the advantages and disadvantages are.


  • Hardcovers don’t get bent
  • Paperbacks are lighter and cheaper
  • Marking a spot is easy with placing a sticky note/tab on the page
  • You can sell or donate a book if you no longer want it on your shelf
  • Friends can borrow your books (if you trust them)
  • If you spill something on it, it’s usually still readable
  • You can buy discounted/bargain/used books
  • They’re heavier to carry around
  • They take up space
  • A store or library might not have the book you want available
  • You can’t read in the dark, unless you have a book light
  • They can fall apart after time


  • They don’t take up space; thousands of books can fit on one device
  • Easier to travel with
  • No one knows what you’re reading
  • Easy to read in the dark
  • Usually cheaper than physical books
  • You can adjust the text size
  • Can read across different devices
  • You don’t use your place if you don’t have a bookmark handy
  • You can’t lend them out to anyone, at least, not easily
  • Reading on an e-reader can hurt your eyes (the rays from blue light)
  • The covers aren’t as pretty on the screens
  • They’re easier to forget about if you don’t usually read ebooks


  • You can drive while listening to an audiobook
  • You can also work out or do chores while listening to an audiobook
  • Don’t have to worry about finding the perfect reading position
  • You can listen to them anywhere
  • They don’t take up space; thousands of books can fit on one device
  • Easier to travel with
  • You can’t really buy one as a gift for someone (unless you buy the actual CD’s)
  • You can’t read at your own pace
  • If you can’t pay attention to the story, you can miss big parts of the plot
  • They’re expensive
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Overall, when it comes to which format I prefer, I will always say paperback.  I tend to like the covers more and they’re easier for me to hold than hardcover.  If I’m being real honest though, I just prefer to hold a book-book in my hands rather than an e-reader.  That doesn’t mean I don’t read the occasional ebook though.  And audiobooks… I’m really not a fan, mainly because I’d rather read at my own pace, but also the fact that I have a hard time paying attention to them.

What is your preference when it comes to book formats?  Do you generally stick to one or do you mix it up?
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11 thoughts on “Book Formats: Pros and Cons

  1. Alex @ WhimsyPages says:

    Love this post! Tbh I thought audiobooks would be a bit more popular, as everyone seems to love them more and more. I definitely prefer paperbacks or hardcovers, holding the actual book, flipping pages as I read… nothing can substitute that.
    But I do love my Kindle as well, and there are sometimes months when I read nothing but e-books 😀
    The only format I’m not comfortable with are audiobooks. I can’t seem to focus on them, and I also don’t have that many activities during the day that would allow me to just listen to books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Meepingblog says:

    Actually… eReader don’t hurt your eyes as they don’t have blue light. They are made with eInk which is much easier on the eyes. LCDs however have blue light (iPhones, iPads, mostly all LCDS screen) and these can hurt your eyes. I can read for hours on my eReader and get tired with 1 hour of reading on my iPhone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A Dreamer's Library says:

    I mix it up because when it comes to certain books, some formats are more accessible to me than others e.g. the Illuminae Files has to be an audiobook, and a chunky fantasy is, more often than not, an ebook. Saying that, I’m reading more paperbacks and hardbacks at the moment because I’m focused on reducing the number of unread physical books on my shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Genie in a Novel says:

      That’s interesting. I’m actually like that way with authors. For some reason I prefer to read Kasie West on my Nook? I have no idea why, but I do.

      And I’m there with you. I’m also trying to knock down that list of unread books on my physical shelves 😅


      • A Dreamer's Library says:

        It’s mainly to do with font and formats and whether it works with my eyesight. Also, that’s the same with me and authors too. I prefer to have all my Tess Gerritsen, Jodi Taylor, and Laura Griffin books on my Kindle too. I think if I started reading certain books on there, I’d just carry on because at least it saves on physical shelf space.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The Whispering Angel ♡ says:

    I prefer paperback, and just keep a collection of them.

    Hard covers are best if just leaving them at home.

    While, EBooks are best for traveling around (but the downfall would be if you don’t have enough battery then you have to wait till you recharge you phone) but over all its best for a long weekend away from home so that all the books you want to read would be in your phone without carrying heavy book around all day.

    Audiobooks, for me (as a forgetful person), is hard to follow. I always get lost in the story. I tried it a few times but I can’t seem to make it past chapter 1 without repeating the chapter all over again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Genie in a Novel says:

      I definitely agree with audiobooks. I often have a hard time concentrating. What helps for me is if the narrator is easy to listen to. I’ve been able to get through a few audiobooks in my life, but they’re not my first choice of format.

      Liked by 1 person

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