Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Decide in Which Format to read/ buy a book?

Posted November 19, 2015 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 32 Comments


Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

This topic just suddenly popped up in my head when I finished reading a book on my ipad and decided I wanted to read the next book on my ipad as well, which got me thinking about different formats to own books and how I decide which format to buy/ read. Usually I buy a book in one format and read that format, sometimes I buy multiple formats, but that doesn’t happen too often. I decided to mention it as buy/ read as some books you receive for review and don’t technically buy. I have a few general rules for how I decide which format to acquire and after that I will mention per format which books I own/buy in that format. I have four different formats in which I read books: hardcopy, paperback, epub e-copy (Kobo) and mobi e-copy (ipad).

How do I Decide in Which Format to read/ buy a book?

    Paperback Burying Water

  • What’s the cheapest to buy. Usually I buy the cheapest format. If the e-copy is cheaper than a physical copy I buy the e-copy, if the physical copy is cheaper I buy that. I usually don’t care too much in which format I buy a book, unless it’s an author I read before and already have a preferred format.
  • What’s the easiest to buy. Often the cheapest is also the easiest, but not always. For example I can’t buy books from amazon, so while that might be the cheapest option I still can’t buy books there. Or how Netgalley usually doesn’t provide epub files, so I read most netgalley books on my ipad with kindle app.
  • Same format for one author. The first format I read a book by an author in often determines in what format I will read their next books as well. I sort of associate that format with the author and it feels weird to read that author in a different format. For this purpose I often do make the distinction between reading on my ipad or kobo, but not between paperback and hardcopy. Like Kelley Armstrong I buy her books in physical format, but it doesn’t matter if that’s paperback or hardcopy. I only make an exception to this rule if I can get a review copy or free copy.
  • Favourite authors. I often make an exception for my favourite authors, I like to own physical copies for books by my favourite authors so I can have them on my shelves, so I buy physical copies. Although some of my favourite authors I still buy e-copies from or I get e-copies for review and then I stay with that and ma okay with it. If I receive an e-copy for review I am not likely to buy a physical copy as well as I simply can’t afford that and rather spend my money on books I haven’t read yet.
  • One format. Unless I have a very specific reason to ignore this I usually only get one format of a book. There are some exceptions, like when I receive a book for review and get send multiple e-formats. Then I might put the book on both e-readers or decide ahead on which device to read it and only put the book on that device.
  • Cover. The cover can sometimes infuence which format I buy, I’ve been know to buy books in paperback, because the cover is so pretty and I want to see it in real life and hold the book. While with ugly covers or a cover I don’t care about I am more likely to buy an e-copy.

There are exceptions to these rules, but this usually how I decide in which format to buy or read a book. Sometimes it’s also a matter of feeling or whatever I am in the mood for, especially when I have a book on both my kobo and ipad. When I am scrolling through books on my ipad and book A catches my attention I probably read it there, while if it happens to catch my attention on my Kobo I read it there.


HardcopiesIn general I prefer paperbacks over hardcopies, so I don’t own many hardcopies. I prefer the feel of paperbacks, they are lighter and cheaper, so when I have the choice I usually go for paperback if I want a physical copy of a book. I think the only hardcopies I own fall into three categories: either I got the hardcopy really cheap, I only could get the hardcopy at that time or the hardcopy releases earlier. I have one or two hardcopies I got very cheap at book events I once visited. Then the hardcopies I got as there was no other format, those are mostly my collection of dutch fantasy books as back then I only bought my books in bookstores and they often only sold hardcopies of those books. Then the last category, hardcopies because they release earlier than the paperback, those are mostly Kelley Armstrong books as her hardcopies release sometimes a year earlier than the paperbacks and in that case I find it worht it to spend more so I can read those books earlier as she’s one of my favourite authors.


PaperbacksI usually buy paperbacks when I want a book in phsyical copy as I prefer paperback to hardcopies. The book I buy in physical format are either because I really want it on my shelf (because it’s a favourite author or pretty cover) or because the paperback is cheaper than the e-copy. If the e-copy is pricier, I go for the cheaper option namely the paperback. This is the case with a lot of mass market paperback format, which are pretty cheap, while the e-copies can actually be pricier in those cases. I also own a lot of paperback copies from the time I didn’t have an e-reader yet, back then I almost only bought paperbacks, so I still have a huge collection of paperbacks.

Epub e-copy (Kobo)

KoboWhen I buy e-books I almost only buy them in epub format. I do most of my reading on my Kobo, but recently also started reading on my ipad. I actually for the first time ever converted an epub I bought into mobi so I could read it on my ipad as I read the previous book by that author on my ipad. Most e-copies I receive from authors for review are also in epub file. It’s listed as my prefered format in my review policy. Books by my favourite authors that I don’t buy in physical copy will always be read in epub I prefer reading on my Kobo as it has an e-ink screen, which reads comfortable every time of the day, while my ipad only reads comfortable when it’s light outside.

Mobi e-copy (ipad)

ipadMy ipad mostly contains books I got through netgalley and amazon freebies. As netgalley often doesn’t have an epub format I always send those to my kindle now and usually read there. There are also freebies I grab from amazon that are on my ipad, I usually dont’want to go through the hassle of converting those, so I just read them on my ipad. There are some books I have on both my ipad and Kobo, which most likely are freebies or books I got for review that got distrubuted in an e-mail with all formats. I like reading on my ipad, but only read on it during the day when I am having brekafast and dinner as I dont mind if my ipad get’s a bit dirty. I read books with the kindle app.

How do you Decide in Which Format to read/ buy a book? Which different formats do you own?


32 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Decide in Which Format to read/ buy a book?

  1. I mostly get kindle version for my books, because it’s fast, cheap, and I can have ALL my books with me in my purse at all times. For ‘special occasions’ I buy paperbacks or hardbacks. For signings, for example. I have recently ordered Tiffany Reisz’s whole Original Sinners series in paperbacks so that I could get them signed by her – I’m just waiting for my order to arrive!
    I did the same with my favorite JA Huss books last week, waiting on those to arrive as well.
    If I really want my daughter to read a book, I have to get it in paperback, because she prefers to read that from the kindle.
    So yeah, mostly kindle, but some physical books as well – and those truly look like art on my shelves πŸ™‚
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts #42 – Rock Chick RegretMy Profile

    • I mostly buy ebooks too, but I still buy some paperback too. I actually think that when it comes to actual buying books I might buy more paperbacks, but with the amount of review copies and freebies I get I do think I receive/ own more ebooks.
      And I can see how if you want to get books signed you have to buy them in phsyical format and it’s ncie to have books on your shelves.

  2. So I can count on one hand the number of ebooks I’ve bought. I will read them but usually only if they are given to me for free for a review and most of those times I want a pdf that I can read on my computer and write the review while I’m doing other things.

    I buy more paperbacks than anything else because I like them. But I do buy hardcover books as well from a select few authors that I auto buy their books and want to keep the Hardcovers on my bookshelves.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…I’m A Guest Reviewer at I Smell Sheep!My Profile

  3. Mel Thomas

    These days, I’m all about audiobooks. You could say I’m a junkie. If the book isn’t available in audio format, I might buy the ebook, but it really depends on the author and/or series. I may skip it entirely and read something else.

    I only buy print books if I’m able to get them signed personally or if an author is doing a virtual signing. For one thing, books are expensive (especially hardbacks) and there’s usually a discount for the digital copy and it’s immediate. Secondly, I’ve been collecting books since I was a teenager and have simply run out of room for them.

    • I haven’t given audiobooks a try yet, although I might want to try one eventually, but for now it just doesn’t really appeal to me.
      I do get the problem of running out of space, I have the same problem. But with paperbacks I often find they are cheaper or at the same prize as the ebooks, so then it’s definitely worth buyinh that. I also don’t mind waiting as much for books to get delivered as I know I have enough books to read in the meantime.

  4. I have a Kindle paperwhite and I really enjoy reading books on it. I like that I can adjust the brightness and reading doesn’t hurt my eyes. I also like all the built-in features like the dictionary, the notes, the bookmarks, etc. So I prefer to buy almost all of my fiction for my Kindle. The only thing I prefer in paperback are research or reference books.
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…It’s Release Day For REVEALED!My Profile

    • My ipad has adjustable brightness, but it never can go low enough in my opinion, which is why I only read on it during the day. I love my Kobo as it has an e-ink screen which feels nicer on my eyes. I actually never use any of the special functions on my ipad or Kobo, like notes, highlighting, etc. I prefer refernece books and anthologies in apperback, because its easier to look things up that way. I have bought a few non-fiction books a few years ago and I bought those in physical format, so it’s easy to look things up.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Decide in Which Format to read/ buy a book?My Profile

  5. I love seeing how you determine which format to buy, Lola. I decide in much the same ways. I do have authors that I purchase in hardcover or paperback, no matter what. And I make sure to have all the same format for favorite authors. I, too, prefer hardcover over paperback, particularly mass market. I find I’m having a hard time with that smaller format as my eyes age. πŸ˜‰ I do one-click quite often because the books tend to cost less. But with some authors, I have multiple formats because I love them enough to support them that much. As big as my physical library is though, I do have more ebooks. Great post, Lola! Thanks for sharing how you decide.
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…That’s What HE Said #45 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #24My Profile

    • It’s kinda interesting seeing in which format I buy books for certain authors and I have physical copies and e-copies authors and some authors I read in multiple formats, although I usually try and prevent that.
      Just noticed my typo, I actually prefer paperback over hardcopies, especially when I went to uni as paperbacks are easier and lighter to carry around with you. And most often I buy paperback simply because they are cheaper, although I have to agree that hardcopies are nice and they are easier to read. I think I have more ebooks too, although I still have a lot of physical books too, but that’s mainly from years and years of buying books.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How do you Decide in Which Format to read/ buy a book?My Profile

    • I usually don’t mind the wait if I really want a book in physical format. There are also some books where the physical copy is cheaper or it’s a pretty cover or favourite author and I wna tit on my shelves. But most books I get are ebooks.

  6. Honestly, I read almost every book on my kindle because it’s the cheapest. I also like ebooks though because I can easily save all the quotes I like (with physical books I have to mark pages and type them up), I can have every book with me wherever I go, and I’ll never lose or damage them. Even if I get a physical copy, I like to also have an ebook copy for those reasons. The only time I buy physical copies now is if I LOVE a book/series or if the cover is ridiculously amazing. So we have some of the same criteria πŸ˜›
    Kristen Burns recently posted…4 Star Book Review: The Bane (The Eden Trilogy Book 1) by Keary TaylorMy Profile

  7. I prefer paperbacks over hardcovers as well (by the way, you said it backwards in the hardcopy section) for most of the same reasons you do. Not only are they generally cheaper, but they’re easier and more comfortable to hold. But I do prefer physical copies to ebooks still – though I definitely don’t mind reading ebooks sometimes.
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…How to Keep Yourself Motivated and Organized for Reading ChallengesMy Profile

    • Thanks I just noticed the mistake and changed it! I agree paperbacks are more comfortable to hold and when you’re having to take books with you somewhere they are lighter. I love my e-reader and read most of my books as ebooks, but I still make sure to buy some physical copies now and then as I love reading physical copies as well.

    • I actually never use the font adjusting ability on my e-readers, the normal font is usually good. I don’t mind converting files and ending up with a slightly off formatting due to that, but it’s a shame when some books can’t be converted. So far calibre seems to do great with epub to mobi, but pdf to epub or mobi to epub often leads to a few weird spots.
      If you want a book signed it’s handy to have a physical copy indeed.

  8. Now you’ve made me think. I have books everywhere it seems and in all formats. I like holding paper copies of books, but I also don’t mind reading an e-book.

    I’m influenced by price and availability. I can end up with mixed formats for authors and series as a result. My first book might be a review eARC and then maybe I got the second book as an ebook on sale or the paper copy on sale or the Hardback went on clearance for the paper copy sale. See? Just depends.

    I love a pretty cover as much as the next gal, but I won’t pay the price for it with a few exceptions. I purchase about a half dozen authors in hardbound because they are my treat for birthdays and Christmas.

    But before I got my e-reader and lap top and had access to all those freebies, very cheap sale books, and review copies, I already had an extensive paper bound library.

    So I don’t hurt for books to read. πŸ™‚

    Since I review, I now have the ability to read in all electronic formats on three devices- computer, Kindle, and phone. Thank goodness for free apps. I have Audible set up on the computer and my phone though not the Kindle even though it is capable for the audio books I get now and then. I like the versatility of switching between them depending on where I’m at and what device is handiest.

    So, to summarize, there isn’t much rhyme nor reason other than cost when it comes to me. πŸ™‚
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Ripped by Oliva RigalMy Profile

    • Glad to hear I made you think ;). I also like both paperbacks and e-books, but there’s some sort of order or logic behind in which format I buy books. I definitely do think that price and availaability play a role for me as well, but if possible I try to stay within the same format for an author. I have read one Kelley Armstrong book in e-format as I got a review copy and I might buy it in paperback eventually, or I might not. For new authors I often just go with the cheapest option or where I can buy it.

      I probably won’t pay a lot extra for a pretty cover, but if the price difference betwene e-copy and paperback isn’t too much and I really like the cover I will buy the physical copy for that reason.

      That sounds handy how you can switch and choose which device you use. I mostly have different purposes/ reading times and places for my e-readers.

  9. This is definitely an interesting topic! I usually buy either digital versions for convenience (so I can always bring them with me on my Kindle) or for impulsive reasons (the only reason I’d get a physical copy is when I’m in a bookstore and I go – OOOH PRETTY!!). I always prefer paperbacks to hardcovers though, because hardcovers are so, so, so expensive. Yes, they’re prettier and everything, but I’ve never been one of those kinda bookworms that go “MUST. BUY. IN. HARDCOVER!” haha paperback is enough for me and my wallet πŸ˜‰ Plus, kindle versions because they’re easier!
    Faye la Patata recently posted…3rd Blogoversary: Rashika’s Thank You + Diverse Lit Giveaway!My Profile

    • I always buy my physical copies online as we don’t have a lot of bookstores here that sell english books and when they do it’s like 4 euro’s pricier than online so that’s enough to prevent me from any impulse buys, although I miss being able to walk into a bookstore and just buy a book that looks good. And indeed hardcopies are so expensive, so I usually buy paperbacks. Paperback is enough for me, although I make an exception sometimes. Most books I buy in e-format, but I also try and buy a paperback regulary as I enjoy reading a physical copy now and then.

  10. For the most part, I default to audio. I just have more time to listen than I do to read. I can usually get through three audiobooks for every book I can read. If the book isn’t available on audio or I can’t stand the narrator, I’ll look into reading the book. Then I look at if my library has it available and take whatever format they have available. If I’m going to buy I book, I generally prefer buying mobi/Amazon. I have come to love my Kindle. I like the features that ebooks have where I can highlight if I want. I also like that if I wake up in the middle of the night, I can read in the dark. I will look for books at used book stores or if I pick them up at cons or if the author sends to me. Great topic.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Hungry Like The Wolf Audiobook by Paige Tyler (REVIEW)My Profile

    • I hardly ever use the special functions from my e-reader. I know I can highlight on my kindle app (at leats I think it has that function?), but I wouldn’t even know how. My Kobo has an e-screen so no reading in the dark for me, I still need a light. I love the quality of the e-ink screen so I don’t mind and I have a small light I can use if I want to read outside or somewhere without light. I still haven’t tried audiobooks, not sure if they are for me.

  11. I used to go with whatever was cheaper, but now that I have been reviewing books, I mainly buy physical books because most of my ARCs are eARCs. And since I like to read an ebook AND a physical book at the same time, I have to balance the eARCs out with physical books somehow, and I doubt publishers care about this particular plight and plan on sending me books πŸ˜‰ (But they should, don’t you think? Hah)

    As for HC vs PB, I like reading paperbacks more. Much more. BUT I think hardcovers are usually prettier so it is a toss up. Plus, in the US, new releases are only available in hardcover usually. So I either have to buy from Book Depository if I want the paperback, or wait. And since Amazon has that free 2 day shipping and all.. well, you understand! Great topic!! πŸ˜€
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…This Week At Midnight (88)My Profile

    • Most of my ARC’s are eARCs too, I hardly ever can physical review copies. I like to switch between physical copies and e-copies now and then, although I do read more e-copies.

      I do agree that hardcopies look pretty. As I buy all my books online anyway I usually go for the paperback unless that one won’t get released until much later and the book is one by my favourite authors.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Risky Tide by C.J. MatthewMy Profile

    • I like having both ebooks and physical copies to read and having the chance to switch between formats now and then. Often ebooks are cheaper, although for some books the paperback is actually cheaper. And some books I just want to have on my shelf.

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