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 ). 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 ). 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 . 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.
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 ).
As with everything, balance is key.