books, discussion

Discussion: The Great Book Format Debate – Paperback, Hardcover or E-book?

This is a discussion post virtually every book blogger ever has added to.

I felt I should to.



  • Looks a lot nicer on a shelf.
  • Tend to have nicer covers.
  • Surprises under dust jackets.
  • First to be released.
  • More satisfying to possess/smell/feel/read usually.
  • The classic form of a book.


  • Heavy
  • Hard to carry around / hold up to read for extended periods.
  • Dust jacket can get messed up or lost.
  • Way more expensive usually.
  • Take up a lot of space in one’s house/room.


Hardcovers are preferable for looks but sometimes impracticable and expensive.



  • Easy to read and carry than a hardback.
  • Cheaper and still physical for display and collection.
  • No dust jacket anxiety.
  • Easier than hardback to read for extended periods.


  • They can take long to be released (over a year past the hardcover at times).
  • Usually have worse covers.
  • Get damaged easier (bent spines)
  • Don’t look as nice on a shelf.


Easier, cheaper, but not as pretty.



  • Easy to carry around.
  • Doesn’t take up room/house/shelf space.
  • Generally the cheapest.
  • The modern book format.
  • No worries about loss or damages.
  • Don’t have to worry about being intimidated by book size.


  • E-books can be tricky, because depending on the reader you have ( as in iPad vs. kindle vs nook vs app vs desktop vs what ever else exists) can make a big difference on the experience.
  •  Some books, especially image or formatting specific ones usually become unreadable in the best of times.
  • Can’t be lent to friends.
  • No physical shelf to be prideful of.
  • Have to buy a device that can cost $80+


I love reading on my kindle – when I have mobis, PDFs only work on the desktop and I never have time to read there. Adobe Digital Editions gets tedious.

I’ve been using e-books since early middle school, as its easier to carry around in a bookbag and on vacations, and long books seem less intimidating. Also, decreasing shelf space.

E-books as a preference or option varies greatly by device and by the person.

E-books are the cheapest, easiest, and least satisfying.


Despite this discussion being ever popular, audiobooks are never included it seems. They always get a separate rave or rant. Its a book format like any other, only far it gets included. Hell, I made a rant about them in my first ever discussion.


  • Easy to read on the go/ when multitasking.
  • Lets people who don’t usually have time to read, read.
  • Can be inexpensive.
  • Fun to listen to voices for the characters (on the better or full cast ones at least).


  • Can be hard to focus on.
  • Can take longer to listen to than actually read.
  • Quality of audiobooks in narration varies drastically.
  • Makes it difficult to imagine characters for yourself.


Audiobooks have less objective pros and cons, they mostly fall down to personal preference. I don’t abhor them or anything, but I prefer to read for myself. They I may have to listen to some that are full cast narrations, as those sound fun!

Overall Conclusions:

I will continue to prefer hardcovers, and only buying paperbacks when I’m desperate for a physical copy/at a second hand store.

My e-reader will continue to be for arcs.

Really there is no conclusion to be reached in this sort of discussion, I just wanted to make my pros and cons lists.

What do you think?

Which do you prefer?

Do you agree with what I said?

Let me know!

15 thoughts on “Discussion: The Great Book Format Debate – Paperback, Hardcover or E-book?”

  1. First, I absolutely dread audiobooks, but that’s simply because I cannot focus on them for the life of me. I don’t even have to be doing something, I’ll just get lost in random thoughts anyway and miss the whole story.

    As for eBooks, I tend to use my Kindle only for eARC’s and books I was gifted by authors. I never buy any eBooks myself.
    I also take my Kindle with me when I’m going on holiday, simply because then there’s more room left for the books I’ll probably buy when I’m away, haha.

    The big disadvantage to physical books that you didn’t mention [for me, at least] is that they sometimes switch up the covers of a series. I absolutely hate it when they do that! Differences in size and cover art is just annoying as hell if you want to collect a series every time a part comes out and then it appears to be completely different than the other parts.

    I do prefer paperbacks when I buy them myself, simply because they’re cheaper but lately I’ve noticed that hardcovers are easier to read – no broken spines so no anxiety to accidentally break them either, haha. And they take up less room in my bookcase – which is packed full as it is..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. On the damage side of things, you miss that a pro of hardbacks is that they survive more damage than paperbacks do. I guess that matters more if you’re planning to read it repeatedly or have to move a lot (then again that brings weight up as a bigger issue than it already was). Audiobooks are very easy to damage if they only exist on CDs or tapes. Digitally, I think only a virus could irreparably damage it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As far as physical copies go, I almost always prefer hardcovers. All of my bags are big enough to carry hardcovers around with me, and they’re prettier and more durable than paperbacks.

    Also, I LOVE audiobooks. I usually spend at least 5 hours a week just driving, and it always felt like wasted reading time. Audiobooks spare me from that struggle.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always, always prefer hardcovers–like you said, they’re more durable, look great on shelves, and release earlier. Only downfall for me is the cost 😬

    I only prefer paperbacks if they’re prettier (like most UK editions which are usually stronger than US paperbacks anyway)

    I do a lot of reading at night, so ebooks are great for that (so there’s another pro) I also get most of my library loans + ARCs through my Kindle, so there’s that 😊

    Audiobooks are always super tricky for me–I have to like the narrator (which almost never happens) and even then I usually spend too much time rewinding after constantly getting distracted 😂 Some audiobooks are worth the experience though 👍🏼

    Anyway, great post! Overall, I love each format so it just kind of varies on a case by case basis lol😆


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