NOTE: With this assignment, we were asked to talk about what appeal factors eBooks and audio books lack compared to physical books and what appeal factors they may have that traditional books do not.
eBooks and audio books are becoming increasingly popular with today’s busy reader. eBooks are great for people on the go who just have a few minutes to read here and a few minutes to read there. Readers are able to keep a large number of books on devices that they usually would already have with them (i.e. smart phones, tablets, or e-readers). And audio books are great for those with long commutes or those who may have jobs that allow for them to be listening to something while they work.
eBooks allow for readers to change font types and sizes which can affect how a reader interacts with a book. Some books depend on font choices to set the mood of a book but that doesn’t always come across through eBooks because settings may make all books look the same to a reader. Readers will have to solely rely on the story and language used by the author to interpret the tone of the book. In addition, increasing font size may make the book’s pacing feel slower. With less words on the page, readers will be less likely to pick up on the visual cues that may come from a whole page filled with dialogue which naturally would increase the pace of the book.
On the other hand, eBooks have the advantage of privacy. Those around you are unable to see a cover. Readers have no need to fear being “judged” by those around them based on what they’re reading because others in the area simply can’t tell. It may make readers feel a little freer to read books with “embarrassing” covers or books with covers that immediately indicate that a book is from a genre that is commonly thought of as “cheap” or “lowbrow” such as Romance or Sci-Fi.
Audio books share similar advantages. People cannot see what you’re reading, so readers may start to branch out into genres that they were before too embarrassed to read. Audio books have the added bonus that people can’t read over your shoulder giving an extra layer of privacy.
Another great thing about audio books is that it’s a completely different experience from reading the book. The narrator is putting on a performance and may include voices, sound clips, or music that add to the book and help the reader to pinpoint the exact mood or tone. On the other hand, some may feel that this makes things too easy for the reader since they don’t necessarily have to figure out tone for themselves. They also do not necessarily have the freedom to let their imaginations give voices to the characters as the narrator is already doing that part.
Audio books are also limiting with regards to pacing. The reader can only go as fast as the narrator. Where a reader may have read a passage quicker in a physical book, a narrator might take their time. In addition, the voice of the narrator can make or break a book. If a reader finds the narrator’s voice or performance unsatisfactory, they are likely to put the book aside even if they would have enjoyed the story/plot.
eBooks and audio books have some advantages over physical books, but some disadvantages as well. Overall, I do not believe that any of these three types of books will be disappearing any time soon.