Podcasts vs Books: Difference and Comparison

In today’s world, there are multiple ways in which one can consume content and information from the world.

Initially, books, letters, magazines, movies, etc., established themselves as prime resources for expression and exchange of thoughts and information.

However, podcasts and other audio-based media platforms have given serious competition to other means to engage larger audiences.

Key Takeaways

  1. Podcasts are audio-based content that can be streamed or downloaded, while books are written works available in print or digital formats.
  2. Podcasts feature conversations, interviews, or storytelling, while books convey information or stories through text.
  3. Podcasts can be consumed while multitasking or on the go, while reading books requires dedicated focus and time.

Podcasts vs Books

The difference between podcasts and books is that podcasts are a form of media in which the exchange of thoughts and information takes place in the form of audio in an episodic manner. It can either have a single individual or more than one person. Books, on the other hand, are entities that are documented and shared information, news, stories, etc., in written form.

Podcasts vs Books

Podcasts are created in the form of audio files. However, some podcasts are even created in the form of videos to engage the audience in a better way.

These podcasts are made available on the internet, where the audience can listen to them at their own pace and leisure. The main topics of discussion include politics, sports, entertainment, finance, etc.

Books cannot fit into the mold of any specific definition, as throughout history and the passage of time, the way of writing and the medium of the documents have constantly been changing.

Text, images, data, thoughts, etc., are documented and bound together to make it a single entity. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPodcastsBooks
DefinitionPodcasts are audio-based content, released in an episodic manner on the internet which provides an option to the audience to listen to it at their own leisure and pace.Books are a compilation of information and thoughts of the writer, available in textual form, and can be of many genres such as fiction, finance, self-help, etc.
EtymologyThe word “Podcast” originated by combining the words “iPod” and “Broadcast” together.The word book derives its origin from the old English word “bōc” which means a written charter or document. 
Content-Type and MediumIt is mostly an audio type of content. However, video-based podcasts also exist.Books are textual content which uses images, words, data, etc. as a medium, to engage the audience.
People InvolvedMostly, podcasts involve more than one person. The basic concept is to have a host of the podcast, with one or multiple guests.Books have one author who tries to connect with the readers by providing them information about their interests.
ExamplesSome famous podcasts are “The Joe Rogan Experience”, “Crime Junkie”, “The Daily”, etc.Some famous books are “Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin, “You Can Win” by Shiv Khera, “My Experiments With Truth” by M.K. Gandhi, etc.

What are Podcasts?

Although the podcasting culture has been evolving since the 1970s and 1980s, the term gained its relevance only in 2004.

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Before then, there was no such craze, fanbase, and dedicated creators in this field. The essence of podcasts was to revolutionize radio and interviews, as well as to give more freedom to its listeners.

The word originated in 2004 when a BBC journalist coined this term by combining “iPod” and “broadcast” in one of his articles.

It meant uploading up content in the public domain which can be listened to on an iPod. World’s first podcast was created by Adam Curry and David Winer in 2004.

While other media like books, movies, magazines, journals, etc., require the immediate attention of the consumer, podcasts can be listened to while traveling, cooking, cleaning, etc.

Most podcasts have a host who invites guests and involves them in discussions or conversations on topics such as movies, pop culture, politics, sports, business, finance, etc.

There can be individual creators as well who create a solo podcast. A podcast requires certain equipment for creating quality content, such as a microphone, computer, audio editing, mixing software, headphones, pop filter, etc.

The audio files are recorded in the form of episodes and uploaded on the internet. Some famous podcast platforms are Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, etc. 


What are Books?

Books have been one of the oldest mediums for the exchange of thoughts and information. As time passes, there are advanced ways of compiling and writing books in each generation.

Before the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440, the books were neither printed nor compiled in a way as we know now.

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Different people claim different books around the world to be the oldest book on the planet, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Diamond Sutra, The Holy Bible, etc.

The first printed book was the Gutenberg Bible in 1455. The 21st century has also seen the growing usage of digital interfaces for reading electronic versions of books called e-books.

There are no limitations on the length of books, and they can come in many shapes, forms, and sizes.

Books are of many genres such as classics, fiction, non-fiction, novels, self-help, finance, history, culture, biographies, etc., and they use texts, pictures, data, graphs, quotations, etc., to engage their readers.

Not all people like to read books, and not every book fascinates everyone. A good book can add great value to the life of its readers and has the power to influence their minds.

Books are the greatest source of knowledge, vocabulary, and perspective. Apart from reading, having a collection of books is a hobby in itself. 

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Main Differences Between Podcasts and Books

  1. Podcasts, as content, can only be consumed in the form of audio and sometimes both in audio and video. Books have texts, pictures, and other data, which can only be read and experienced visually.
  2. The first podcast was created in 2005. Although it is difficult to say which is the oldest book in the world, the first printed book was the Gutenberg Bible in 1455.
  3. Podcasts can be listened to while one is engaged in any other physical activity like cleaning, eating, cooking, traveling, etc. Books require the immediate attention of the reader and have to be read with focus and attention.
  4. Podcasts involve multiple people, and hence, it gives a detailed and informed perspective of a topic to the audience. Mostly, books are written by a single individual, and hence the information may or may not be very credible.
  5. Podcasts involve choosing a topic, inviting guests, recording the content, using good quality equipment, using audio mixing and editing software, and releasing the finished product on various audio platforms. The publication of books involves deciding the layout, writing the content, printing, and binding everything together.
Difference Between Podcasts and Books
  1. https://bera-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjet.12483
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0099133301002142

Last Updated : 20 July, 2023

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