Recently, Karen over at One More Page wrote a post about her thoughts on mass market paperbacks and how their format affects her reading experience. This got me thinking about my own format preferences and how they change my reading experience.
First off, let’s talk hardcovers. I love them, but I try to hold out for paperback editions when I can, because they’re cheaper. They can also be pretty weighty, depending on the size of the books *cough* gameofthrones *cough* and I dub the really unwieldy ones “wrist-breakers” because they’re nearly impossible to hold up without extra support. But to me, nothing beats a hardcover with that wonderful, crinkly plastic covering that libraries use. I love them so much that I actually buy that plastic and wrap my hardcovers in them, so I can leave the dust jackets on while I read and get that nostalgic feeling.
Generally though, I read paperbacks – they’re cheaper, more readily available and usually more portable. I don’t think that the format changes my reading experience though. I do prefer trade paperbacks when reading longer novels because they aren’t as thick as mass markets can be. Karen mentions how reading mass markets make her feel like she’s slogging through the material. While forcing open any of the 1,000+ page Song of Ice and Fire novels can be a challenge, I don’t think it’s ever hindered my reading experience. Either I love the material I’m reading, or I don’t.
Ebooks however, are another story (wokka wokka). That’s where I struggle to immerse myself, even if it’s an author I love. There’s a disconnect for me when I’m reading something on digital media and it does pull me away from the story. I’ve certainly never disliked the content of a book simply because I had the digital version of it, but I do notice that I’m less engaged when I’m using my Nook versus holding a physical book. I love to turn pages and smell paper and stare at the cover art and peek ahead and stick post-it flags everywhere and use all my cool bookmarks and and and and! I just don’t get that experience with an ebook and most times I find myself wondering when I’ll be done with whatever I’m reading so I can get back to a “real book.”
I don’t have too much experience with audiobooks because I absorb information better when I can read it myself. I’ve tried listening to books on the way to work and I find myself tuning out and unable to focus. Add to that my pickiness about who is voicing the book and it’s not a great combination.
How about you? Do you have a preferred format, or find that certain media affects your reading experience?