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On how to read – or is paper obsolete?

I am an avid reader. Ever since I’ve learned how to read, I’ve haunted my local library and devoured most of the well-loved books that my father keeps in his study. Last year I read over 70 books. Some of them were ebooks, but the vast majority of them were good old paper versions. And I just listened to my first audiobook. So, what’s the best way to enjoy a good book? What are the pros and cons of each?

Paper Books

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Paper books are, of course, the oldest and most used way to enjoy stories and essays. They are relatively cheap, can be found at your local library for even cheaper, and they can be given, lent, exchanged…

They remain my favourite. Not only is there something special in the simple fact of sitting down with a book that smells of paper and ink (sometimes of old must too), but books come and go a lot in my home. Our appartement isn’t very big, and my home library can only hold so many books. I read a lot, and paper books ensure that I can easily sell or give the books that I probably won’t read again. I also buy a lot of used books that I then resell, ensuring that they will be read again and again.

Ebooks

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I bought a pre-loved e-reader on Ebay years ago, and I think it was a good purchase. It allows me to have access to books that I cannot find easily (especially less known US books here in Europe) or that would cost too much otherwise. I like that I’m able to highlight sentences and find them back afterwards. It’s also a handy option to have several books with me while travelling without having to choose between paperbacks and underwear.

My main issue with ebooks is that I don’t seem to retain as much as with paper versions. And, of course, there’s no way to resell books that I’ve bought that way, which often makes me choose the paper version. I also spend much of my days in front of a screen, and I’m not too keen on adding to that, but I have to say that e-readers have a very low glow and don’t bother me much.

Audiobooks

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I am very new to audiobooks, as I just listened to my first. They are a handy way to get more books in your life, because you can listen to them while cooking, driving, and so on. I got a little frustrated because I’m a fast reader, and listening to a book takes me a lot more time than just reading it. And of course I sometimes like to pause in my reading, process my thoughts, read again, and it’s harder to do it with an audiobook. It was nevertheless a very enjoyable experience and I surely will do it again.

It is also a really good solution in terms of accessibility, as it allows people with disabilities (blindness and vision issues, dyslexia, and so on) to enjoy books, and that’s absolutely great!

I really prefer paper books most of the time still! My children both enjoy paper books too, though my second child who’s dyslexic likes to be read to, and might very well enjoy audiobooks in the future as well.

What is your favourite way to enjoy books? Do you thinks paper books will soon be a thing of the past?

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