Hardcover vs Paperback vs Audio

I’m in the middle of my Harry Potter reading marathon, and having finished the third book yesterday I don’t see myself finishing the fourth book for a post today (maybe tomorrow, we’ll see though) so I’ve decided to write about something I’ve been considering doing a post about for a couple of days now: book formats.

I read a lot, and I buy a ton of books, I fully believe in supporting the authors that I enjoy reading.  However, I’m also cheap and don’t like spending money when I don’t have to, for this and other reasons most of the books that I buy are paperbacks.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do still buy hardcover books (especially for my favorite authors/series) but I prefer paperbacks.  I haven’t listened to any full novels as audiobooks, but I have listened to quite a few short stories on audio so I’ll discuss that as well.


  • + Cheapest way to buy a book (including Kindle prices)
  • + Smaller and easier to carry (I always read books throughout school, and having my bag filled with textbooks and notebooks and other things, I appreciated the smaller paperbacks)
  • + Easier to read (the larger hardcover books can be awkward, I don’t always read sitting up, I’m often laying down or lounging somewhere while I read and paperbacks are easier)
  • – Have to wait longer to get the book, as most paperbacks come out about a year after the hardcover is released
  • – More pages (example, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, 1008 pages hardcover, 1280 pages paperback, could make the book seem more daunting, especially to younger readers)
  • + Get the book the day it’s released
  • + More impressive as a collection of books in a series (I don’t have all of them as hardcover, but the entire WoT series in hardcover is impressive to see)
  • – Much more expensive
  • – Dust jackets, I don’t like them
  • + Easiest to transport (I always have my iPod with me)
  • + Can do other things while listening (I listen to short stories while I exercise)
  • – Most expensive
  • – Slow (I read much more quickly than most narrators, ex: I just finished reading the third Harry Potter book, it took me about 5 hours or so, the audio version listed on Amazon, I couldn’t find it on Audible, says it has 10 CD’s, you figure about an hour per CD, that’s twice as long as it took me to read the book)
  • – Book may not be available on Audio
  • – Can be hit or miss with the narrator
  • – Earbuds can get uncomfortable after a while, as can headphones (I wear glasses and don’t like headphones for long stretches of time)
So there you go, some pluses and minuses for three ways of getting through books.  I’m a big fan of paperback books, although I do get hardcovers for books that I don’t want to wait for.  I haven’t listened to a full novel as an audio book, and I don’t know if I want to.  Audio works well enough for short stories, but I don’t know how well I’d like it for a full novel.
So what are your thoughts?  How do you prefer to read books?  And do you think I’ve missed any major points either for or against the various types of books?