Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Story is a Story

Audible currently has a sale going on where a lot of popular titles are only about $5. As I scrolled through, I realized that there were several books I wanted, and ended up purchasing four (after spending my credit on READY PLAYER ONE, at Marie Lu and Andrea Cremer's suggestion, and it is AMAZING).

And then I came to THE LITTLE PRINCE. I actually quite love this title--it's a beautiful book, with beautiful illustrations (and readers of A MILLION SUNS will know that I like this book so much that I made it a part of that book, too). But it's not one of the books I bought. Despite the fact that it was $5, I just did not care to own it in audiobook format.

This got me thinking: I actually have some big preferences on how I consume books. This has only happened recently--about a year after owning an ereader and subscribing to audible. I've developed a hierarchy of what format I want books in.

If it's a book with a particularly beautiful cover, a book that I know I will want to read over and over again, a book by a friend, or a book I could get signed, I want the hardback.

If it's a very long book (GAME OF THRONES, I'm looking at you), a book that I consider a "throw-away" read (such as a trashy romance novel), or a book that I already love and know I want to read again easily (i.e. on the road), I will buy an ebook. In some cases, I will buy an ebook of a book I already own, just for the portability. In my house, we have all of George RR Martin's books in both formats--my husband likes the paperbacks, my hand doesn't want to break under the weight and prefers the ebook. I also have signed hardbacks I don't want to damage, so I have the ebook, too.

If it's a book I'm only so-so excited about, but feel I should read anyway, I will get it in audiobook. There are a few titles that it feels as if EVERYONE has read, but I just can't get through--so I get it in audiobook. I listen to audiobooks while on a long road trip or while cleaning the house, which means that I somehow get over the issues that I have trouble with in the print books. These are books that seem to have a slow start, or perhaps a premise that I'm not over the moon about. I've found so many new books this way--audiobooks somehow make me get over my presumption of books that I have trouble with.

I also like audiobooks when there's a great narrator--I read Harry Potter in Jim Dale's voice now, and Wil Wheaton is definitely the voice for READY PLAYER ONE. And sometimes it's just nice to put on a well-loved story and listen away.

In short, my point is this: there's a lot of debate over ebooks or no ebooks, and formatting and everything else. But for me, there's no argument. I like all the formats for different books, and I'm just happy that I get to live in a world where they're all available.

What about you? What formats do you prefer...and why?
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