Discussion: Physical Books vs. Other Books

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I recently just listened to my first audiobook. I got two free credits for Audible from Amazon. So with my first one I got The Siren by Kiera Cass. I listened to almost the whole thing during one day of work.

When I was trying to decide which audio to get, I noticed a few things. One being that there didn't seem to be a lot of options on there. I don't know if I just didn't know how to navigate the site, but I didn't see as many options as they claimed to have. Second thing I noticed is that, while it seems like Audible should be a fantastic source for audiobooks, the prices are totally outrageous. For $15 a month, you can get one Audible credit for any book on there, no matter the price. Why not just buy the physical copy?! Without a credit, the prices are just stupid. I think Game of Thrones was like $50! That's the dumbest thing I ever heard. I don't know why they think that having to listen to someone drone on for hours is worth more than just reading it yourself!

Beyond this brief audiobook experience, I've never looked into them before. I don't know what they cost from other places for like an MP3 of them or whatever, but I hope it's better than Audible. I don't have a lot of experience in that department so Audible is the only source I can speak on at this point. And if it weren't for those free credits, I probably wouldn't really do audio books. So I guess that's just all the point of view of someone who's not really interested in audiobooks and only listened to one.

Then we have ebooks. I have done a post on ereaders and ebooks before when I was just a wee newbie. But basically what I want to say is that ebooks aren't cheap either. Unless you want to restrict yourself to the sale ebooks or novellas.

I personally bought an ereader because I live so far out in the middle of nowhere that I can't just go to the store to get a new book. So if I buy the first book in a series and I'm DESPERATE for the second one, I can just buy it on my Nook. Which I did for awhile, but it costs just as much to buy the book, so what's the point of using the ereader if you're gonna pay the same or be restricted in what's logical to buy? I bought an ebook once that was more expensive than the hardcover! That's just dumb!

What I would personally think is that a physical book that you can hold in your hand would cost more than getting a digital copy or an audio copy. But that apparently isn't how the world works. Because you'd think you'd be paying for the paper and the printing and the supplies to make a book as well as the content, but I guess not.

I don't understand it all. And maybe I'm looking too hard into it, but it just doesn't make sense! I have just had this on my mind ever since I got that audiobook and was looking at all the prices. I just can't believe that!

What are your thoughts? Am I being silly? Or is the world being silly with those dumb prices?


  1. Personally, I have only ever read one audiobook. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson! You are totally right - the prices of audiobooks are INSANE! I get my audiobooks at the library (they are the only things I check out at the library). And you can upload them to your computer and sync it to your phone that way! I wish I could listen to audiobooks more since I commute to school a lot (I tried Twilight, Shiver, Afterworlds, and Landlines) and I couldn't get into them. Maybe I should try another one ... I think it has something to do with the narrator ... I would never buy an audiobook over like 5 hardcover books! (just a personal preference) ;)


    1. I think that I might get more audiobooks if my library had that kind of technology. They are nice to listen to when I'm at work! I like that on audible you can listen to a sample of it so you can see if you like the narrator! I just did that! But yeah, I would much rather have a bunch of books I can hold in my hand over anything else!

  2. I don't buy books anyway, but if I did, I definitely wouldn't pay more than $5 for an ebook. They don't feel "real" to me, you can't share them, and they don't look nice on your shelf. I would NEVER pay for an audiobook, I think the prices are completely ridiculous. Does your library have OverDrive or Hoopla? That's where I get my audiobooks and play them right on my phone. I also use OverDrive to get all the library ebooks I read.

    1. My library is basically in existence for little kids I think. I have gone through there before and they really didn't have anything terribly new. I guess I haven't explored enough to know if they even have the technology for ebooks or audiobooks. I mostly just go in there and bring them donations. I really should just go in there and see what they have again, but ehhhh I don't want to! I've never had a library nearby (that I actually knew where it was) before I moved here so I guess I'm just in the habit of going out and buying what I want!

    2. You should definitely check the website! Then you wouldn't even have to go to the library in person. :)

    3. The website appears to have the history of the library and last summer's schedule of events mostly for little kids. Haha! And one of the pages doesn't even work. I wish they had a good website!

  3. Here's the thing about books: You aren't paying for pieces of paper bound with glue. You aren't paying for a bunch of plastic discs. You aren't paying for a .pdf file.

    You're paying for an idea. You're paying for time.

    A book is written by an author. It's read by critique partners, agents, and editors. It's revised multiple times. Then it's copy-edited. It's formatted. It's designed with text placement and font choices and cover images. Covers are produced with stock images (that also have to be paid for) or with a custom photoshoot. A marketing and publicity team promotes the book with ARCs (which also cost money) and book trailers (again produced by someone) and mailers. Review copies are sent to professional sources and bloggers. Blog tours are coordinated. Spaces are book for signings.

    Creating a book is incredibly expensive and that cost does not change if you buy the book in a different format. Is it nice to have a printed book? I think so. Did it take more work to produce than an eBook? Probably not.

    When you're talking about audiobooks that gets into a whole different matter. Audiobooks are incredibly expensive to produce because there is so much work involved--narrators to hire, recording spaces and technicians, getting the audio recorded and of a certain quality and so on. If it's a multi-cast audiobook or one with things like sounds, that cost skyrockets. That's why they cost more. (Also, this isn't here or there but while many people see audiobooks as a luxury it's important to remember that for some visually impaired readers that is the only option for reading.)

    As for libraries: Librarians aren't mind readers. You need to tell the library what you would love to see in the collection so that they know there is a demand. Collection development is a big part of a librarian's job of course but if you want to see something you have to speak up.

    1. I suppose I can see where that would make sense as to why audiobooks cost so much. I didn't really give it a lot of thought before I wrote this. I just saw the prices of some of those and thought OMG (discussion post topic!!)! But that does make sense to me. I guess it just makes more sense in my mind that a book you where you actually receive something you can hold in your hand should cost more! And when it comes to ebooks, I was just thinking that when I was really researching what kind I wanted, ALL of them said that it would pay for itself with the cheaper prices of books on them and that just isn't so! I never really thought of the work that goes into producing different kinds of books, just the value that I suppose I personally think they would have!

      When it comes to libraries, I've never really had access to one. The closest one was a half and hour away from where I lived before I moved here and I didn't actually know how to find it in that town! And now that I go into a town everyday with one, it just doesn't stick in my head that I can go there! I've only gone in there once to actually look at the books anyway and I haven't gotten a card or anything. If I decide to actually use their facilities, I would ask them about getting books. But I just haven't felt like I needed to use the library yet.

      Thanks for your input! I'd never thought about a lot of that stuff, but I learned something new today! :)


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