Pros and Cons of Different Book Types (Guest Post)

There are usually 4 formats to buy a book in: hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audiobook. Which one is the best? See these pros and cons before deciding for yourself!


Pro: It’s always available on release day. This point comes down to patience. I am an impatient person when it comes to book releases, so I want the next book in a series yesterday. So, if a book is released that I’ve been anticipating for a while, I’ll buy the hardcover on the release day.

Con: It’s the most expensive book format. A single hardcover book could cost anywhere from $17 to $30 in the US, and they’re often more expensive in other parts of the world. It is, by far, the most expensive format to buy your book in.

Pro: The spine doesn’t break. Have you ever closed a paperback book and seen that there was a white line on the spine? It’s frustrating, it’s inconvenient, and it makes your book look worse when it’s sitting on the shelf. Thankfully, you don’t have that problem with hardcover books.

Con: Dust jackets. Whenever I’m reading a hardcover book, I have to take the dust jacket off or else the book keeps slipping out of my hand. I’ve tried to keep it on, but I have to concentrate more on not letting the book fall that I’m drawn out of the story.


Pro: You can hold it in one hand. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s really helpful if you’re holding a pile of binders and notebooks but you’re at the climax.

Con: It’s easier to bend the cover or pages in a paperback versus a hardcover. In a hardcover book, there is, well, a hard cover protecting your pages. With a paperback, the cover and pages are flimsy, so you could damage it just by putting it in your bag without looking.

Pro: It’s the cheapest physical format. If you want your book to sit on your shelf after you’ve read it, but you don’t have too much money to spend on books, paperbacks are your best option.

Con: They’re usually the last format to be released. For most popular books, the paperback format is the last to come out, usually a year later. Would you rather spend more money and get the physical book on the release day or wait, even though you’ve been anticipating this book since you heard about it?


Pro: They’re portable. You can keep an eBook on nearly any other electronic device. Since most people keep their cell phone on them whenever they’re out of the house, this means that you can have your book accessible at any time.

Con: An electronic can die when you’re at the climax. If you’ve been reading for a while, and you’re engrossed in the story, you may forget to charge it. Then, you have to impatiently wait for it to recharge so you can keep reading your book.

Pro: You can get it at midnight. Usually, your closest bookstore isn’t open on midnight of the release day, but you want to read it at the stroke of midnight. Since the bookstore doesn’t need to be open for you to buy a digital file, you can have the book on your electronic by 12:01 A.M.!

Con: Digital files can’t go on bookshelves. Books can be decoration as well as entertainment. Just look at your collection sitting on shelves! Sadly, a picture of the cover doesn’t have the same effect.


Pro: You can multitask. With an audiobook, you can do your chores or commute while still experiencing a story. If you tried this with any other format, something would probably end up broken.

Con: Most people read faster than they speak. Even though the narrator may do impressions of the characters wonderfully, it’s still slower than reading the printed version for most people.

Pro: No one will start talking to you. People are more likely to interrupt you if you’re reading than if you have headphones on. This way, people are less likely to ask you what you’re listening to!

Con: Did you forget earbuds? If you’re in a public place and you don’t have any earbuds or headphones, you’re out of luck.


Which format is your favourite?

Zahra is a teenage blogger, novelist, and bibliophile. She runs the blog To the Bookstore and Back and is @z.s.ledger on Instagram.

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15 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Different Book Types (Guest Post)

  1. I read all formats, though in different places and at different times. I don’t usually buy hardcover because of the expense, but sometimes there are deals, especially at launch time. I love hard cover books because I know they will last. A lot of books, especially self-published, are coming in large format paperback so at readings that what I find prevails. I read ebooks at night so I don’t have to turn on the light. I listen to audio books in my car. Well presented.

  2. I love ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers equally … they all have their individual merits. I dislike audiobooks … hate them, more like, actually. The reading of the narrator is always too slow for me, and I’m a bad multi-tasker. XD

  3. Say “climax” or “stroke” one more time. Holy crap, I’m in tears over here!! I love this post!!! And to contribute like an adult, I’m getting into e-books more. I get too many reviewer copies, I try to keep my living space as small as possible (no attics or basements), and if you’ve ever moved hundreds of books from one apartment to the next and the end of each school year….this is a no-brainer after a while. Also, the dust! I’ve noticed dusty books bother me more than they used to.

  4. Pingback: Guest Post on The Caffeinated Writer | To the Bookstore and Back

  5. I really love an actual proper book (no matter if hardcover or paperback) that I can feel and look at and SMELL. But for when I’m running and for listening to just bvefore I fall asleep I really like audiobooks, too.

  6. I like Hardcover, paperback, and eBooks but I hate audiobooks! Like you said, I read so much faster than the person speaking and would prefer to read at my own pace! Aside from that I mix it up between the three. Series and authors that I love, I always buy Hardback! If I am testing out a book to see if I will like it I go with eBooks (Kindle Unlimited is great), or paperbacks.

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