Reading 101: Analog or Digital? Books in the 21st Century

There’s people who like sports. Other people like music. I like books. There are a lot like me. Many don’t read books. That’s where I think I can help. I started this series of blogposts called Reading 101 to provide you tips and tricks. I’ve already had a look at excuses I hear why people don’t read. I’ve given my view on some genres, providing insights in the huge variety of books. What’s next? Types of books. What can you read in these modern ages? Let’s find out!

The Real Deal

Physical, paper books are the real deal. They are what comes to mind when we think of books, because they exist. They are analog. There’s different types of paper books. There’s hardcover and paperback. Hardcover books have protective covers. And they’re hard. They require better material. Because of this, hardcover books are more expensive than other books.

Paperback books do not have protective covers. Instead, they have a paper cover and are often held together with glue rather than stitches. The latter is the case for hardcover books. Paperback books come in more sizes than hardcover books.

Physical books are nostalgic. Nothing beats the scent of a new book and there’s nothing more satisfying than turning pages. A lot of people prefer physical books. Which is totally understandable, of course.

Digital Notes

These days, digital is the new black. We want to go digital as much as we can. Whenever we can. Books are no exception. E-books exist in many formats. You can read them on your computer, your phone or a specialised device called an e-reader. I swear, I’m not making this shit up!

Not everybody likes e-books. I for one have trouble focusing on a digital copy when reading it on my computer. My e-reader helps me with that. I found that it reads a lot smoother and my eyes really get less tired. It’s awesome! On the train, I read about one e-book each week. Not the smallest ones, either.

Digital books are cheaper than physical, paper books. Of course, mass production is possible with a few clicks instead of by using printing machines run for hours. If you haven’t tried it yet, there are plenty that are free or cheap.

Don’t forget: if they don’t work out for you on your computer, you might want to try an e-reader. Don’t buy one, just loan one from someone you know to see if it’s your thing. I challenge you!

Sound, Check!

Last but not least, and my personal favourite, there are audiobooks. These recordings of other people reading a book out loud can be really useful. For me, they have been lifesavers in the past. Read the article I wrote for my job, you’ll see what I mean!

Audiobooks are quite expensive. If you don’t understand why, imagine this: people working day after day to record a book in multiple scenes. Of course, narrators never read a book in one go. The audio files are edited afterwards. If you want to test these out, there are free audiobooks on Youtube and you can try a free month trial on Audible. The latter gives you one token you can use on any book. So you can listen to any book you want.

Any audiobook can be saved or ruined by its narrator. If he/she has a whiny voice or does not capture the sense of the story. Good narrators can even make a simple story great. I’d like to end this post with a small list of voice artists I like. There’s Luke Daniels, Jay Snyder, James Marsters and Frank Muller.


In this post, I gave an overview of the three kinds of books most read these days. Of course, there are paper books everybody knows. The libraries are full of them! E-books are a collection of bits and bytes which, when opened by the right program, result in a text format you can read. Audiobooks provide you with a predefined interpretation of the story, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

What can you do with these different sorts of books? Read, of course! In my next post, I will provide you with new ideas on where you can read. Exactly, you don’t need to stay in your sofa all the time. More on that soon…

Are there any thoughts you have on this subject? Any opinions? They are welcome in the comments section, via the contact form or through Twitter!