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Books vs. Audiobooks vs. E-books

Recently, I listened to a segment on NPR about the differences and similarities between books and audiobooks. Of course, there are benefits and advantages to audiobooks—you can listen anywhere and anytime (they’re great for road trips), it is very portable and efficient to download, the narrator creates the characters’ personalities and general setting of the story (especially if the narrator is the author of the story), and audiobooks are ideal for blind people. However, the widespread consensus that the callers and host decided on was that books are, generally, better than audiobooks. Not only are the readers more engaged, tangible books stimulate their brain in creative ways to paint the picture of the story for themselves. Moreover, a lot of callers were pointing towards the fact that they like the “feel” of a book—the page turning, the bookmarking, the physical act of holding a book.

They did not discuss e-books on this segment; however, I wonder if the general public feels the same way about e-books—that is, that physical books trump all other forms of reading. I wonder what it is about the physical act of ‘turning pages’ of a book that gives readers so much satisfaction. Is it because it is “old school?” If so, coiled-wired telephones mounted on the walls are also considered “old school,” and you do not see anyone using those anymore. E-books, such as kindles, are so convenient. You can have multiple books on that tiny tablet, and there are functions that kindles can do so easily—such as highlighting, bookmarking and word defining. In my opinion, e-books are well worth the money and is a great investment if you are an avid reader.

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