Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Weekly Geeks 2011 - 20: Tech & Reading – Same as or a change in output

WG Relaxing_thumb[3]

I haven’t done a a Weekly Geek in forever but this weeks topic really caught my attention. It is all about technology and reading. Here are the criteria:

  • Did you have a hard and fast mindset in regards to your reading a year ago? (paperback, ebooks etc) 
  • Are  you still true to that format?
  • If you have tried another format (ebook, audio) – Share your experience?
  • What was it that made you tried something out of your comfort zone?
  • If you have not tried another format – Why?
  • Give a brief over view of where you are at with your reading now, eg, load of paperback lying round, or the out of sight out of mind e-reader putting your mind at each or life as you know it have toss you a curve ball and forced you to think outside of the box?
  • How do you feel about different output method now?

In order to write this post I went over my spread sheet of last years reading to see what I had read how. I read a total of 72 books and only 2.5 of those were e-books (one was for school and I didn’t get the paperback copy in time so I bought it in e-format and read it on my computer). 7 were audiobooks. That means that a majority of the books I read in 2010 were either paperback or hardback. However, I didn’t have an e-reader at that point. I was reading my e-books on my laptop and that was not ideal. Therefore my non-reading of e-books was a practical one, not an ideological one. So far this year my reading looks like this:


As you can see my reading habits have changed dramatically in the last year. These % are based on 37 books read (one book is counted in two categories because I switched format half way through for practical reasons). The reason for this rather dramatic change can be attributed to this:


My much adored Kindle (a few weeks later it was joined by my equally adored iPhone although that is more of an emergency reading device). It didn’t arrive until February and the numbers then start to add up. In March and April I read far more e-books (5 and 7 respectively) than traditional “paper” books (0 and 2 respectively) (I also managed one audiobook each month). One major reason was the Kindle. Without the Kindle I don’t think I would have read anywhere near as many books as I was also suffering from severe pain in my hands at this time. The Kindle is both lighter than a normal paperback and easier to hold. A large part of my problem is actually holding a paperback open.

The past two months however I have read far more paperback books (In May I only read half an e-book). So I guess I’m somewhat changeable in my reading patterns.

This month I’m back to reading quite a bit on my e-reader, partially because of the wonder that is NetGalley. Although I am becoming bolder in my relationships with publishers, I still don’t get that many review copies from traditional publishers. NetGalley and the Kindle however have enabled me to request more titles that way, and feel comfortable reading them (I’ve currently got three different books on the go that way).


Part of the reason why I am also reading more paperbacks this month and last is that I’ve been home more in May and June. There have been several bank holidays, plus one job finished and I chose not to start my summer job until this week so I also had regular days off (still worked at one of my teaching jobs the first two weeks in June but that was only a total of 3 days Open-mouthed smile). Being home meant that I could read more paperbacks. I’ve always been the kind of girl who has a paperback in her bag, but the past 6 months I’ve had to curtail that because of shoulder pain (linked to the hand pain). Again the Kindle and its light weight has enabled me to read without the pain. This means that rather than throw a paperback in my bag, I threw my e-reader in it, thus more e-reading.

Another advantage of e-books (and for me audiobooks) is the immediacy of purchase-reading. I currently don’t live very close to a bookstore or library (that will change in September, YAY!) so I buy a lot of my books online. And since I buy most of those books from BookDepository.co.uk it can take up to two weeks for me to get a book once I bought it (I rather famously got a package from them earlier this year and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what book it was Open-mouthed smile). E-books allow me to have the book on my reader within minutes of clicking that (dangerous) purchase button. Or as in the case with One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming rather frenetically pushing the refresh button on my iPhone waiting for my pre-order to load Open-mouthed smile. Now I can have a book when I want to read it. I love that.

I’m hoping to create a balance between my e-reading and my paperback/hardback reading. What has changed in the past year or so is the way I consider my paperback book purchasing. I am now more likely to purchase a particular edition/print of a book. Where I had previously purchased the cheapest copy. Now I’m more likely to buy a more expensive, higher quality copy in order to display it. Books that I do not wish to display, or where a good quality copy does not necessarily exist, are more likely to be purchased in e-format. I also read a lot of the free classics on my reader. In addition I’ve actually purchased books I already own in paperback on my e-reader. These are books that I know I will be reading time and again (the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne books are examples of this) and that I know that I will read to pieces. By buying them for the Kindle I will be able to read them without them breaking apart.

heart ipod audiobook post june 2010Image credit

As you can see from my writing above I don’t just read books on my Kindle or in paperback form but I also listen to books (although not as much as I would like). I’ve written extensively on this topic under the tag “audiobooks”.

Overall e-books and audiobooks have given me an opportunity to enjoy books where and when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to either because of time and/or space or because of physical limitations. However, I don’t think either of them will ever completely replace the feeling of a physical copy of the book on my shelf. An e-book doesn’t allow you to wander around a bookstore with a coffee cup in hand, picking up books that strike you as interesting. They don’t allow you to fall in love with a book because you saw a stranger reading it on the subway and the congruity between the reader and book made you pick it up (link in Swedish, use Google translate, it is a great story). An e-book will never replace the joy I feel at finding that hard to get book at the used bookstore (I really must write a post about my beloved used bookstore). An e-book will however make reading easier for me as I highly doubt this will be the only winter where holding a book will bring tears to my eyes. It makes reading while travelling easier since I will no longer have to contort myself to get to that other book in my bag or have to lug a tonne of books with me on holiday (more room for shopping Smile).

As with everything, balance is key.


Copyright ©2011 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Fiona said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. And I love your pie chart. I only got an ereader in January so haven't yet incorporated mine into a pie chart. I have only read 4 from my ereader as of yet.

It is great for free classics even though I haven't read any on it yet. I did start reading Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (excellent, highly recommend) but I had the paperback and found myself flicking back to that because it had awesome footnotes that really explained the history, geography, context and parts of the author biography that gave depth as to why he included something in the book.

And recently the classics I have read - I already owned a good copy of the book as a paperback (I collect Modern Library editions, I love the feel of those books) or I am reading a translated copy where I want a good translation and not some old versions, edited by some Victorian or someone whose cut out all the sex and translated it all to literally without style or grace. For instance, The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas... the translation you'll find in the Penguin edition by Buss is by far better then the translation you'll find in cheaper copies or as free ebooks. Buss' edition is worth it and I think would have made a great difference to how much I enjoyed the book had I read a different translation.

But I hope to read some more... hard to get classics on there, ones you don't often find in bookshops and the once I don't don't own.

The trouble is that the free ebooks don't come with notes. Whilst sometimes the notes in books are absolutely useless, some do help with the historical context. I would buy the ebook from my ereader if I knew it came with notes, but I don't know if it will or if they'll be the same as in the book.

Anyway, I realise I've just rambled off onto something completely unrelated. :/ Apologies for that. Hah!

I am more likely myself to buy more books that I would not otherwise have bought purely due to space. I actually have bought quite a few non-fiction and history books on my ereader because I do want to read more in certain areas but my bookshelf is bunged up with so many books I think "do I really need that book taking up more space" and non-fiction books I find are always so heavy - and expensive sometimes.

There are some books I have wanted to read, but don't want to have to have them hanging around. I'm trying lately to only buy books that I do think I'll like. With ebooks bizarrely, I seem to take more of a risk with them. Even though it means I can't really recycle them by giving them away to friends or charity.

I would like to buy some special editions of books - more hardbacks etc but I have no space. I really should just give up buying paperbacks all together but I can't stop myself when I'm in a bookshop or a charity shop. When online shopping I tend to think "do I need that" more often then not.

And then sometimes I get an urge to buy an ebook...

Anyway, I'm gonna start talking to myself soon.

Zee said...

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!

I totally agree with you on the note aspect. It is one thing I really dislike about reading on the e-reader. It was annoying with reading the Tiffany Aching series.

I also agree with you the translation issue. Although I could get War & Peace for free on the kindle I still read my big thick Vintage Classic copy because the translation is so good.

And I will never stop buying paperbacks either. They are too alluring :D

Erotic Horizon said...

I absolutely love this post -... It is really nice seeing others share their reading journey with the formats.

After being a ereader for too many years to mention I am also at the stage where I find I am reading more paperbacks/hardbacks at home and the ereader or audio is used more for outdoor activity...

It was good seeing how you decide on what paperback to buy - I am not sure i could go by quality - I am such an impulse reader, I sometimes just get suck into a blurb and into my basket goes the book.. LOL...

I also love that I am re-introduced to the classics via e-reading.. I am older and wiser and now have more patience and time to appreciate them now..

Thank you for taking part this week..