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Let’s talk about Book Formats

Hi fellow readers! What is your favourite book format? Do you have a preference?

When I started reading books, I didn’t really have many options. Everything was just in print. And I guess I never really gave much thought on the different types of book formats there are. I usually just buy what is on sale so it’s usually in paperback. But over time, not only have I learned what book genres I like to read but I also learned what format of book I like to read it in.

So let’s talk about the different book formats and why one might prefer a format over another.

HARDCOVER

Hardcover books used to be my favourite book format. It’s pretty to look at, especially on the bookshelf. But in reality, reading hardcover books is a bit inconvenient. The dust jackets are a little annoying and makes it a bit slippery to hold on to so I usually just take it off when I’m reading. Hardcover books are also heavy. And depending on how the book is bound, sometimes it’s a little hard to fully open the book. 

Some of my hardcover books

TRADE PAPERBACK

Trade paperback is probably my favourite book format. It’s cheaper than hardcovers and it’s easy to hold while reading. I don’t have to deal with any book jackets and I can also fold and break the spine! (Sorry to any readers out there who doesn’t like that). It’s just easier to fully open the book.

Most of the books I own are paperbacks and whenever I buy new books, I always seek out this format. There are some new releases that come out only in hardcover formats. But whenever that’s the case, I still very much prefer to wait it out until the paperback is available.

MASS MARKET PAPER BACK

Mass market paperbacks (MMPB) are a much cheaper version than the hardcover books or the trade paperbacks. They are printed on cheaper paper and usually come in smaller sizes. Even though MMPBs have a lower quality (sometimes the printing isn’t even straight), a lot of people like this format because it’s cheaper which also means that it is more widely distributed. You can often find MMPBs in drugstores, newsstands or some grocery stores.

MMPB usually is not my first choice. But if I’m buying a series of 8 books (think Bridgerton or Game of Thrones), then it can be pretty expensive. So for that, I would definitely opt for the MMPB version.

E-BOOK

E-readers only became popular in the early 2000s but I didn’t get my hands on one until my first year in college in 2010. I bought myself a Kobo Mini during Black Friday (pictured below). New gadgets always excite me but to be honest I didn’t really enjoy using e-readers too much. I miss the feeling of actually turning a page instead of just swiping on the screen. I don’t know if it’s just the e-reader that I got, but I found that it was also quite slow when turning to the next page.

My 12-yr old Kobo Mini

But e-books definitely have its advantages. For one, you won’t have any problems finding a place for all your books. I live in a small apartment and I have way too many books than my apartment can hold. I’ve also moved around quite a bit so every time I move I feel like I lose some of my books because I can’t bring all of them with me. But if all your books are digital, then you won’t have any problems at all!

One other advantage that I see with reading e-books is that you can be more discreet about reading in public. When I’m traveling I always like to have a book with me. But I’ll be honest that sometimes I’m a little shy to read any romance books while in transit, for fear of being judged. Especially if the book is a little smutty. With e-readers, no one has to know what you’re reading!

AUDIOBOOK

There’s a big debate in the book community about whether or not an audiobook is considered reading. Audiobooks are a great alternative to the traditional forms of reading books, especially for people who are experiencing visual impairment. Audiobooks are also great for busy parents and professionals. One can just plug-in, listen to a book while also doing other tasks at the same time. You can even listen with others while in the car!

I only recently got into audiobooks and I am honestly surprised that I liked it more than I thought I would. Though if I am being honest, I still very much prefer to read books in print because I find that I absorb things better when I see the words. Sometimes I also like to re-read sentences over and over again especially with quotes that are so inspirational and powerful.


I think for now I’m going to stick to books in print, particularly Trade Paperbacks. But at the end of the day, whatever book format you use to read doesn’t really matter as long as you are enjoying the book that you are reading! 

What is your favourite and least favourite book format?

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