Thursday, June 26, 2014

Traditional Book, Electronic Book “E-book” or Audio book?

Not everyone loves to read. A friend once told me “How can you do that? Sit in one corner and be still for hours, hands flipping through leaves, head bent to a page, and eyes straying through thousands of words without looking strained?”
Believe me, my friend, I have been overwrought so many times and have done so many toss and turns just to feel comfortable reading. But in no way am I going to abandon it. To me, reading is like the long, cool shower bath after a stressful day. Reading refreshes me in so many ways possible. I read almost everything- books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, Facebook statuses, tweets, even the newspaper wrapped on dried fish in the fish market. Just kidding! But I confess to doing it more than once, much to the vendor’s chagrin. To put it simply, I read everything that seizes my fancy.
Since I enjoy reading in its many forms I thought I ought to write the comparisons here and I hope you find one that suits you if you’re a reading junkie like me. Though listening to audio books is not in itself considered as actual reading, I’ll just include it here for those who find it equally entertaining as reading books.

Traditional Book

Tangible. The feeling of actually holding and smelling the book is its best asset. Being able to highlight it- underlining words, phrases, quotations that struck you- is one of the joys of having a tangible book. Though I am against putting unnecessary markings on books, it is pure heaven to be able to go back to a page and see the inspiring passages you have underlined there from the past and just go nostalgic about it. Just make sure the book is yours. Else, no one would let you borrow their copy in the future.
Bookmarking. Whether it’s something you bought or a handmade one, a bookmark is a good companion when exploring new pages. It is best in particular when you know you can’t finish the whole book during one sitting and just insert it there as if to tell the book that you will be back soon. I used to have a handmade one with all the Harry Potter characters’ names and I collect Hallmark bookmarks and magnetic bookmarks until now. No I’m not plugging or anything.

Bulky. You may not have problems dealing with a three hundred and fifty page paperback, but a thousand page hard cover is really troublesome to carry, especially when you are an avid traveler and need books to accompany you in the journey. Just have the paperback version when you plan to travel light.
Vulnerable to wear and tear. I don’t just mean dog-eared pages. This is just normal especially for beautiful books worth sharing to your book clubs. Spilling coffee and other liquids on your copy? This is what I’m saying. One time, I saw a guy covering his head with a book during a heavy downpour of rain and it was horrifying. I felt sorry for the book although I see the reason why he willingly did it. It was a math book. (No offense meant. Just for a hearty laugh for those who can relate to me).

Electronic Book “E-book”

Really handy. You can store various titles in your phone or tablet, have a reliable e-book reader and you are good to go. There are some good e-book readers which open to the page you left off after closing the application to enable you to continue reading without the hassle of bookmarking a page. Some also allow users to highlight passages in the e-book. You can also adjust font settings, and be able to read with little to no lighting.
Search feature. The most amazing part for me is the search feature. I remember I searched for the word “love” from the e-book I was reading and got the ultimate spoiler ever. Ha!
Easily downloadable. You can purchase it online and have the download link instantaneously without even you leaving your chair. Even when you are traveling somewhere, you can get the book you want with just a few clicks. On the contrary, when you buy a traditional book online, it could take you weeks to receive it.
No paper. No trees were required in order for you to read the book. Aside from the manuscripts the author has used in order to create the book, of course.

Health issues. When I read e-books, they sting my eyes more than when I read traditional books. The rule for reading in decent lighting still applies to e-book reading; even when you can still read e-books at nighttime or in dim light- don’t. Also, according to studies, smart phones, tablets, and electronic readers have contributed to sleep damaging habits since most people have the urge of turning on these electronic devices even when in bed; thus, disrupting sleeping patterns, resulting moreover to the serious problem of damaging neurons and healthy brain activity. (I didn't mean to sound like a neurology book here, sorry not sorry; I just read an article about it but for the life of me couldn't find it as a reference).
Cost. It is really silly to note that e-books sometimes cost more than what is necessary. You can buy books at a bargain in second hand bookstores. Would it be more appropriate to purchase something more tangible like an actual book for the same price as buying an e-book?

Audio book

I don’t know why I’m including this one here since it does not concern reading but I know some people who prefer audio books than traditional books. So here goes:

Multitasking. You can play the audio book while cleaning the room or babysitting or cooking- just about anything that doesn't require over thinking. Just make sure you remain focused on what you are listening.
Travel buddy. It is great to listen to something especially during traffic jams to help with the boredom and to cope up with stress. It is immensely thrilling hearing another voice/s aside from your own inside your head while you are left with the hustle and bustle of public transportation. Just make sure to use earphones though.

Dream mode. Sometimes, you won’t get anything done and just stare at the ceiling while listening to the voice narrating the book. In which case, you might just as well read the book yourself. Also, having some other voice read the book for you cripples the idea to give the book its own voice in your own world. It makes the book world no longer yours instead.
Inaudible words. You find yourself losing focus and just pressing the rewind button over and over again to know what the narrator have said. Because of the loud car horns honking, you were unable to recognize the muffled word/s you just heard.


These are the only pros and cons I can think of as of the moment. Although, they have advantages and disadvantages, one thing is for sure. All three have the power to captivate you and make you escape from reality. All three can make you procrastinate or make you change the world. Books build you or destroy you. They can be yours to inspire and motivate. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many books you've read. What matters is how books helped in the many beautiful inspirations in your life. How do books inspire you: Audio, Electronic or Traditional? You decide.

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