Print, Electric or Audio? – A discussion of Crimson Petal reading

I have read and heard many arguments for and against all forms of book, whether it be a physical, electronic or audio version of the book. It is my recent read of The Crimson Petal and The White by Michael Faber that throughout the 6 weeks it took me to read, I read parts on all three formats, finding it a very easy way to read it. This had me pondering is one form ‘better’ than the others? For me, there are pros and cons of each format; however that does not make one superior to the other.


I love physical books and I love big books. Yet it is hard for me to read a book that is heavy, well for anyone it could be. It is also hard as I do not have full use of both hands, so it is difficult for me to maneuver the book itself, when I don’t have a supporting device. While I understand that there is quite a pleasant feeling, sitting down with a cuppa and a book on a rainy night, for me as long as I am making progress in the book it doesn’t really bother me whether it is a real book or not.

While reading the book in the physical form, I started it in a hotel room and continued it on the train home. I was fully-emersed in the world. I admit that this can mostly be attributed to the writing, yet there was a sense of calm that came through me.


Reading the book on my Kindle, there were a lot of similarities with the physical version. There wasn’t any need for trying to hold it in a comfortable manner. The biggest benefit I found was that I could take a nearly 900-page book with me, without the fear of carrying the extra weight. Also, for some strange reason, because I can control the size of the font, I can feel that I am actually getting through the book and feel more successful because I am turning more pages, more frequently.


I listened to the majority of The Crimson Petal and The White on audio – after I saw it was $4 on Audible, I bought it and was a great investment. Because I like to do multiple things at once I could listen to the book, while on the computer or relaxing on the couch. I also speed up the narration as well, playing it at 3.5x speed. This was done after I progressed through the previous speeds. I personally just can’t stand people speaking slowly, so the idea of being able to get through it sooner pleases me. It was interesting that although I found myself emersed in the world with physical and electronic, I found myself more engaged by the book once I switched to audio. I am currently starting Middlemarch via listening, and I think that may be a way I can get through some of the classics.

Overall, I loved being able to choose how I listened to the book, I think I chose the right format for the right time of listening. I am tuning into myself as a reader, and I cannot wait for more.

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