Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ebooks and Audiobooks

While I do love the aesthetic of the traditional physical book, I am a passionate devotee of ebooks forever.

I was so excited to get my first e-reader very soon after they were widely available for purchase. This was before I had a smart phone, and I purchased a Nook from Barnes and Noble. I had not been reading as much as I like to, and there were several factors as to why that was the case. As a busy mom, the time I had to read was often at night in bed and I have always hated the bulk and clumsiness of book lights. A backlit e-reader solved that problem for me.

The local library may have our family on a blacklist because of the sheer number of books we have had to pay for due to damages and loss. Not only am I scattered at times, but I've got a dog and a gaggle of kiddos. My best efforts couldn't protect those fragile hunks of paper. My ebooks can't get destroyed and the library automatically retrieves my borrowed titles when they are due! Win-win!

Another issue for me is that I have a visual impairment. Sometimes it is hard to find the title I want  in large print or I may have to wait a long time. With an ebook, I can adjust the font so that I can see what I am reading without needing a "special" text. I can even adjust the contrast when that is helpful. I also can't drive so checking out and returning books via overdrive is way more convenient for me and allows me to move through titles much more quickly.

Another advantage of the ebook is privacy. One of the class readings this week discussed how romance readers love ebooks. Sometimes readers of romance or erotica might like to read their juicy titles without everyone around knowing what they are reading. It's not out of embarrassment necessarily, and there are many reasons a person might want privacy regarding what they are reading. I know for me, I might not have had the courage to explore steamier titles if it weren't for the privacy afforded by ebooks. I like that my choices, regardless of genre, are just between me and the librarians. Political or religious titles that might be controversial may also be appealing in a discreet format such as ebook.

I do not personally have experience with audiobooks. I usually am surrounded by little ears who may not need to hear what I would be listening to or they may just be distracting. I find it very hard to listen to podcasts or someone speaking for long periods of time without zoning out so there isn't a ton of appeal for me. I do think I will check out Amy Poehler's book on audio though. I can see myself enjoying that.  I have a friend who has a long commute and loves audiobooks for that reason. My grandmother is blind and audiobooks are the only accessible form of reading for her, so she is also a voracious consumer of that format. As librarians it is so important for us to help our patrons find the format that is preferable and most accessible to them!

I would love to hear your opinions and experiences regarding ebooks and audiobooks!


  1. Hi Ashley,

    The privacy issue never really even crossed my mind but it does make a lot of sense now that I think about it. As outlined in the lecture notes it was interesting the reader who favored erotica used e-books as a means to conceal this reading choice. You're right about embarrassment not being the only reason either, as there may be many other sensitive topics patrons may feel uncomfortable or private about sharing. Not that they should have to share anything they don't want to. Just another way in which the library is protecting patron’s and the community’s information/data. You’ve also made a wonderful example and illustrated many of the reasons e-books have become so popular in recent years; namely, the ease, convenience, safety, and their ability to not be destroyed. Kids can definitely be problematic in this area. I have definitely listened to a lot more audiobooks than I have read e-book, however, I can definitely see their value and try to stay up with the latest devices, trends, and software/databases.

  2. Fantastic prompt response! You hit the nail on the head. Personally, I don't do many ebooks but I am an audiobook junkie. Full points!