Friday, 15 April 2016

Discussion: Reading Formats

Hello lovely people, and happy Friday! Well done for getting through the week.

This post has been sparked by a free online course I've been taking through FutureLearn, called Reading Literature in a Digital Age. In the first week of the course, we were discussing the formats people are using today to read; physical books, e-readers, smartphones, laptops and computers. This has got me thinking about my own reading experience.

I read physical books, ebooks, and since the beginning of the year, audiobooks. They each have their advantages: physical books have that smell, that feel, and you can put them on shelves and show them to the world. When someone looks at your bookshelf, they're not only reading book titles but also you as a person. Whilst ebooks don't have this advantage, they are cheaper, easier to carry around, and allow the instantaneous purchase of the sequel of a book that has just finished on a cliffhanger. I'm a keen traveller and I'm always on the move, so my Kindle is indispensable. Audiobooks are also portable, but the main attraction for me is that I can multi-task whilst listening to them, whether that's washing up, scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, or walking to my next lecture. They allow me to fit reading into an otherwise hectic schedule, which has really helped amp up the number of books I'm reading per month.

In my experience, the genre of the book influences the format I choose. There are some genres which I just don't get on with unless their in a certain format. For example, non-fiction is something that only works for me with physical books. I have tried several times to read non-fiction on my Kindle, but without success - for some reason I can't get into the book, even if it's something that usually interests me. I have learnt that audiobooks are great for fiction, especially long books, but I should avoid crime and mysteries, because I forget way too easily the small details which turn out to be important. This was definitely the case with the Cormoran Strike series, which I enjoyed, but found myself feeling a bit lost at times because I wasn't able to easily flip back and check something out.

The format I use also has an effect on how I read the book. Since I've been thinking about this, I've noticed that I'm much more likely to highlight quotes and favourite passages on my Kindle, rather than in a physical copy. This isn't because I feel like you shouldn't write in books - go ahead and highlight, underline, write in them in pen or pencil! Make that book your own! I love finding books in secondhand shops which have these personal touches in them. It's just when I'm reading a physical book, I don't feel the need to mark anything. On the other hand, with a Kindle I highlight quite a few things - maybe this is because of the popular highlights function a Kindle offers? Does this mean that I'm reading the text a lot closer than I would if it were a physical book? Maybe.

Like I said before, if a book is particularly lengthy I'd much prefer to have it as an audiobook, so that I could fill the small gaps of time in my day and read it little by little. I've found that this helps me to get through a book at a surprising pace. Plus, because I have an Audible subscription, I don't usually need to spend more than my 1 token on another book in the same month - something for which my wallet would be very grateful. Sometimes though, I need to see that I'm making progress. If I feel like I'm in a slow paced section of a book, but I can see that I'm nearing the end, I'm much more likely to persevere than with an ebook, where the percentage can seem to change painstakingly slowly.


So now I would like to ask you, my lovely readers. What formats of books do you prefer? Do you find the format of a book affects your reading of it? Let me know by commenting below!

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend,
Zoe