Never Judge a Reader by their Reading Format

Recently, I was snubbed for reading an ebook over a physical book. Someone came to  my Instagram page and in little-to-no words said “No! I like real books not ebooks.”

And that enraged me. Of course, it would enrage me. How can it not?

There’s been some word slinging regarding ebooks and audiobooks….again. Yes, this is a battle between the formats that’s been going on for as long as the Kindle has been invented. The moment someone decided to make books technologically accessible was the moment the Whig party shook out their powdered do’s and started telling people the proper way to read a book.

But the truth is a much better alternative than trying to find space for yet another book on your bookshelf. It’s all about accessibility.

Are you the on-the-go mom that used to read, but can’t seem to find the time? Are you the workaholic who spends their nights posting spreadsheets together and crunching numbers? Are you an Uber driver who can’t read and drive? Do you have poor eyesight or are the tiny words printed too small?

Then ebooks and audiobooks are for you. In a day and age of inclusiveness, publishing is also trying to bring books to more people. That means making sure that anyone in the world despite where they are, who they are, or what might hold them back, gets a chance to read. Providing more accessible ways to read allows for more people to get into the hobby. There isn’t pickets up saying we should ban audiobooks because physical books are better. There’s no competition here. It’s just another method of getting books into the hands of the masses.

Speaking of those masses, let’s discuss them a little while we’re here. Despite the small book community/bubble that I solely live in, outside of this bubble it feels like very few people read. They want to read, but they don’t have the time. They used to read, but something happened and now they don’t. They’ve always wanted to get more into reading, but x, y, and z. There’s numerous reasons as to why books aren’t being read and why only a few books are getting promoted by celebrity book clubs and the like. But this is a bigger conversation for another post.

Having books accessible in different formats allows for books to be read. It’s like publishing is eliminating all the excuses for not reading including taking over Hollywood and turning some of their great novels into movies. It’s like they want you to read even when you’re watching the movie of the book.

But as I mentioned, this isn’t deciding what is best. Physical books aren’t the better choice just because it’s ink and paper. It’s just another option. The same goes for audiobooks and ebooks. Audiobooks allows for people who can’t sit down and read to read on the go. You can adjust the speed of your reading and even set timers so your book can turn itself off if you fall asleep. Ebooks allows for people to carry numerous books in a single device. If you’re a heavy traveler, you can easily carry all the books you need on an e-reading device. There’s even ereaders for Barnes and Noble and independent booksellers and you can buy audiobooks through Libro.fm and support your local booksellers at the same time. Folks in the world want you to read and they’ll provide as many ways as they can that even support indie bookstores!

I think the biggest thing to remember is that ebooks and audiobooks help folks with sight issues read. Folks who have sight issues can listen to audiobooks or adjust the font size on their e-readers bringing the magic of books to those who physically can’t see them. We’re creating a word where disabled folks can enjoy reading as well.

Shaming folks for reading in other formats really makes no sense. That’s like saying what’s the better utensil to eat mac and cheese? Is it a fork or is it a spoon? The answer is that it’s player’s choice. The answer is that there is no answer because this is a nonsense question. Making reading accessible to everyone is the future especially in a world where books and reading used to be a way to keep people of color ignorant and stupid.

So if you’re in that elite group of literary folks who snub their nose on a Kindle or purse your lips at someone who chooses to listen to their books than use their eyes, then all I can say is this; your snobbery is not welcome. Perhaps instead of being such a naysayer, you can give audiobooks or ebooks a try. You’ll find the accessibility a little too hard to deny.

16 thoughts on “Never Judge a Reader by their Reading Format

  1. I just got my baby kindle yesterday. I read on it all evening through the night until 3am and when I woke up I picked it up again.

    You are right, it’s SO much easier on the eyes. My eyes get tired easily and I used to always lose the row and read the same one 3 times (yes, I wear glasses and I checked my eyes, they’re good). I adjust the lighting and the size of the font and my eyes love me for my decision. Now I can read anytime, anywhere and how much I want. 💕
    I’ll probably still purchase books from time to time, just for the love of them, especially the ones I read on the kindle and loved them.
    I also used to listen to a lot of audio books when I’d commute to work. I do love the feeling of a physical book, but I’d rather pick up the kindle or my headphones than to not enjoy a book at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree more with everything you just said! I see these type of comments from time to time (not directed at me personally) but it really pisses me off.

    I’m actually taking a masters in Text Editing so I can hopefully (*fingers crossed times infinity*) work in the publishing business – and I fully support ebooks and audiobooks because they’re obviously one of the most amazing things technology has created – and just yesterday I heard people saying this sort of stuff in class. It just makes me so mad and also confused – why are you going into the publishing business with this mindset? considering how publishers nowadays are investing more and more in making ebooks and audiobooks accessible to everyone out there…

    I think this comment may come off as an angry rant but I just love this post. This needs to be said more often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this! And am glad we had this talk over bookstagram days back. I only wish everyone can be so well informed and have a logical thinking.
      I mean, even if it doesn’t work for the person, DO NOT BERATE it to anyone else who loves them. Be it audiobook/ebook.
      Am sure publishers and authors do have a reasonable reason for publishing or allowing their books to be on audio as well

      Like

  3. Thank you for sharing this. And am happy we had this talk a couple of days ago over bookstagram.
    My only wish is that everyone be informed and logical in their thinking. At least if it doesn’t work for them, NEVER BERATE IT to someone whom it does. Be it audiobook or ebook. Its all READING!

    Like

  4. I agree completely. There is value in every format, for all the reasons you mention. I think making great stories available to everyone, no matter their preference, should be the focus. We all have our preferences, but everyone is different. I like trade paperbacks and I prefer them over hard covers or pocket paperbacks. But I also like eBooks and listen to eAudiobooks when I’m in the car or out walking. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Not only accessibility, if one loves nature then they should consider the impact so many pages have on the environment too. I’m a book hoarder too, but since last year I have significantly reduced buying new books (I now buy only those I want to keep till I die) and go for second hand editions too… Kindle is a life saver. So many books can be stored, and while I may not find audiobooks comfortable but that’s just me. As long as everyone’s reading, or listening to books, knowledge is being shared…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. THIS! 10000000% THIS! I just can’t wrap my mind around someone who claims to “love reading” telling someone that they’re not “actually reading” because they’re reading a different format of book. Like WHAT. That makes zero sense, and it makes me absolutely crazy.

    And that’s not even to start in on the accessibility of having books available in multiple different formats. Wow, I could honestly yell about this all day, so instead, I’m just going to say thank you so much for sharing this! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I found that reading on my tablet at night in bed allows me to read a lot more! Reading a physical book can sometimes limit you to needing light, disturbing your significant other, etc. And, hey, I studied comparative literature in both undergrad and grad school so I should be a snob but I’m also practical.

    Like

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