Changing reading habits

It was a holiday in Turkey some years ago which was the catalyst to a major change in my reading habits.

I’d finished the last of the books I’d brought with me – three days before our holiday ended. We were staying in a small town which had shops selling hand-painted pottery, gorgeous silver jewellery and clothing – but no books. The DH, who listens to audio books, panicked at the thought of me being without a book for three days. I panicked at the thought of being without a book to read by the pool, in bed and – terrifying thought – nothing to read on the plane.

Somehow – I think we have Google to thank and the Brits who love cats – the DH tracked down a source of books. In an estate agent’s office discovered a narrow, but tall, set of shelves crammed full of paperbacks. They’d been donated by cat lovers who support an organisation which neuters cats. Disaster averted, I made my selection. The DH gave a donation to the cat neutering charity. I think, in fact, he ended up sorting out their website. On my next birthday I received a Kindle. Now, as long as I didn’t forget to pack the charger, I’d never run out of books on holiday.

kindleI loved my Kindle. I think it is the one piece of technology I embraced with total enthusiasm. I built up my virtual library, discovering new-to-me authors, finding favourites from childhood, (which are still in the attic but clicking that ‘Buy Now’ button is so much easier than hauling down the loft ladder and rummaging around). Reading in bed was so much easier. I also saved lots of money with so many 99p and free books to download. It meant I no longer left little lists of wish-list books around as Christmas neared.

Then, something happened. I was reading a review of the latest book by one of my favourite authors. I clicked on the link and discovered the Kindle price was only slightly less than the print price. Finger hovering over the buy button I could almost feel the book in my hands, the solidity of it, feel the page and hear it flip over, could almost smell it. I saw myself pick it up, flipping through to where I’d stopped reading, maybe re-reading a paragraph on the way. I bought the print book.

Since then I’ve bought more books. The Kindle is wonderful, especially for holidays, but I am so enjoying the joy of feeling a ‘real’ book in my hands again. And I can leave little wish-lists around the house – so helpful when people know what you want in your Christmas stocking.

Are you a Kindle reader or a real book reader? Or do you mix and match?

Happy Christmas!happyChristmas2.png

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59 thoughts on “Changing reading habits

  1. Definitely a book reader – even when travelling. I already spend too much time staring at a screen; I like flipping pages. 🙂

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    • Thanks for dropping in and commenting, Genny. I like flipping pages, too, but when travelling it’s a relief not to worry about running out of reading material o rbeing charged for excess baggage!

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  2. I love physical books but recently got an iPad and love it for studying. I just read a History of Reading by Alberto Manguel and it was fascinating to consider why and how we read.. The act of holding a book is somehow very special.

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    • Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Emma. I think you are right about there being something special about holding a book – and an electronic gadget can’t replicate it. When travelling and on holiday, though, I’m very glad of my kindle and knowing I won’t run out of books. I’ll check out History of Reading – sounds interesting.

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    • Hi Sarah, thankns for dropping by and commenting. There is definitely something special about print books, possibly because so much of our reading history is bound up (sorry, didn’t mean to pun) in them. I took my Kindle on a train journey this weekend when I went to visit friends overnight and on both the outwards and return journey read a tense psychological drama and when I went to bed I could switch to something lighter, which wouldn’t stop me sleeping, also in my mobile library. 🙂

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  3. Happy holidays Mary! I couldn’t do without either. I enjoy my pleasure reads on the convenient Kindle, especially for travel. But all writing books and many collector’s book must be in paperback or hard cover for me. 🙂

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    • Thanks for dropping by, Debby. Looking back over the comments, it seems to me that most of us like to have a Kindle for travelling but prefer to read real books. It’s as if the Kindle is a useful reading tool allowing us to cart around loads of titles to ensure we’re never without something to read – but at home we prefer the ‘real thing’.
      Happy holidays to you, too.

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    • Wow! 3,500 beats mine. I reckon I have about 2,000. I also have all my dad’s books in my loft and one day I have to sort them. I know there are many I will never read – Clydesdale Stud books, for example – but I’m not yet ready to part with them. I used my Kindle a lot when I first got it but have been enjoying turning back to real books recently.

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  4. I seem to be in a minority here because a large amount of my reading is done on Kindle. I love it. The Kindle has really broadened my horizons with discounted books that are not really my genre but at that price I can give them a try – and I have found some gems!
    My kindle is always in my bag ready for any unexpected reading moment that may arise. I have become more selective about what I download though, making sure it is something I would like to read.
    Of course I love the look of books on a shelf and still very much enjoy receiving them as gifts but, I have to say, if a story really sucks me in, my surroundings become almost non-existent, I don’t ‘feel’ the book at all.
    Also I love the ability to highlight words and phrases that I can go back to whereas I can never bring myself to mark a ‘real’ book and have to write my notes in a separate place.

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    • Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Wendy. It’s been fascinating reading about people’s reading habits since I wrote this post. Like you, I’ve also found lots of new writers I’d never have come across if I didn’t have a Kindle and I like the fact I can download a free sample before I hit the buy button.

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  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A post from Mary Smith who is one of the team at Take Five Authors.. Mary asks if you are only an Ereader or Print reader or do you enjoy both.. I do both.. but have to say that I am spoiled with the Ereader and its adjustable font sizes.. but I revisit by print collection from time to time and still buy my favourite authors in print when they are released.. They become old friends and are a reminder of great times as I walk passed the bookshelves in the hall.. How about you.. head over and leave your views on Mary’s post.

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  6. Agree with Sue. Love paperbacks but kindle definitely for carrying in your handbag and for travelling. I also send my work in progress to kindle and take it out walking with me in the morning. And I don’t need my glasses because I can make the font bigger. Then again paperbacks are always next to my bed. It’s a definite both for me

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    • Oh, I really must try sending my work in progress to my kindle. Why did no one ever tell me about this before?
      Sounds like it’s a both for most people – no one has said they read exclusively on their kindle or other e-reader.

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  7. Hi, I’m 60. When I served my first parish I carted a whole theological library with me because I was in rual eastern Oregon. So, after UPSing the whole 9 yards back to seminary, I realized that would probably be the case…and for 30 years it was.
    And when I went to Germany in 1991 I ran out of english language books…and bought the BIGGEST mass market paperback I could, and learned all about the takeover of Halifax.
    Fast-forward to 2010 and my first ereader ( Nook) I love my 3rd Nook(HD+), and with the Kindle app I have well over 5K books available. And, only yesterday, I won a Kindle Fire in a contest, which will extend the life of this Nook as I offload the Kindle app. My biggest problem has been the crashes/hard reboots because of the —- virtual keyboard. That is the drawback.
    That and the plug needs to be connected with the machine upside down so it actually stays in!

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    • Thanks for dropping by and commenting and congratulations on winning a Kindle Fire. I’ve looked at them and wondered if I really want one or not. I think as long as my ancient Kindle does its job I’ll stick with it. It has a proper keyboard. Smiled at you having to turn the machine upside down to keep the plug in!

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  8. Pingback: Changing reading habits – Take Five Authors – Jenny Harper Author

  9. I’m obviously with the majority here – Kindle if pushed (when travelling). Can I throw another option into the pot? I prefer my iPad to my Kindle, unless it’s bright sunlight. I can see the cover, pictures work (if there are pictures), it’s much easier to track back and forward, and somehow it feels more like a book, because you can (kind of) turn the page. And of course, everything’s on my Kindle and phone too.

    I also love the technology because a) my writing pals can email me their work in progress (rather than me having to print off endless pages from a file) and b) I can email my own wip to my Kindle/phone/iPad. When I read it there, it’s much more real – not just a draft – and I find it easier to spot errors. And – here’s a new one for me – a few books I’m trying to source for my historical research are downloadable in facsimile from a few sites, but not available to buy at all. Brilliant!

    I wonder what will be next for books? 🙂

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    • My Kindle’s a really old, basic one – does what I need it to do. I’ve never thught of sending my WIP to my KIndle. I’ll try that. Amazing about the facsimiles – I suppose I’d dowload them on my laptop. Never thought about being able to do research on the move.
      I don’t know what’s next but no doubt there will be changes coming.

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  10. I have 230 books on my iPad Kindle and have stopped downloading 99-cent and free books. I love the convenience of carrying my library with me, but will open a paper book before I use my Kindle. I love it but avoid it. What does that say? Stuck for something to read and charged up, I’d dive into the Kindle any other time. 🙂 o_O

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  11. I love print books, the ease of seeing your reading progress, and for enjoying the cover. Covers are an important part of what draws me to a book. I do most of my traveling reading on a iPad though.

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  12. My own experience with Kindle has been mixed. Most recently I gave up reading a large novel on it, as I could not follow the plot and track back. The version I had bought was also full of errors and hardly edited, so that I bought the paperback to finish my reading (I tell the story on my Goodreads review of it!) Still it is invaluable when travelling with a small cabin bag! 🙂

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    • Yeah, I could never read a book like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall on Kindle because it took me ages to get into the pattern of who was speaking and who was who. I wouldn’t want mny Wolf Hall size books in my cabin baggage, though. Kindle seems to be a winner for travellers.

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  13. I read so many books that my house would look like a hoarder’s – so thank heavens for the Kindle. I do but rarely buy a real book, always by someone whose writing I treasure – Pat Conroy or Ken Follett or PD James.or Mark Twain or…. Okay, my bookshelves are loaded!

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  14. Real ones for Christmas and birthday lists, Kindle for travelling.
    I too, found myself in the nightmare position of nothing to read whilst in India and bought a Kindle as soon as I got home. Unhappily I left it in a hotel in Tangier on the first night of a tour of Morocco and had to spend the whole holiday begging fellow passengers for a borrow! I’ve now bought yet another Kindle which will be chained to my person next time I go away.

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  15. Being blind I grew up reading braille books. I still own many braille tomes (and they are tomes as “The New Oxford Book of English Verse” runs to 10 braille volumes, while “Wuthering Heights” comprises of a mere 4 volumes)! I like the text to speech facility on my Kindle and use screen reading software called JAWS on my computer to read newspapers etc, however I still love the physicality of books. Kevin

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    • Thanks for commenting, Kevin. I hadn’t realised how much more space Braille takes up. I have a friend who uses a screen reader though it isn’t JAWS. I’l mention it to her as she’s always keen to know what’s out there.

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    • Hi Kevin, Jane Risdon here. I never thought about Kindle and how a blind person would read it, but of course, speech to text is idea. Tell me, are you often disappointed with the person’s voice who is reading the story? I am sure you have a voice in mind, as I do when reading and I wonder if you sit back and think, he/she doesn’t sound right as you imagined. Good to see you here. 🙂

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  16. I love the Kindle… but seldom use it unless I’m travelling. I love paper books more. A Kindle doesn’t smell right or fill the bookcases that make the flat feel like home. I like being able to pick yp a book remembering just where I’d seen that line or reference…that kind of visual/spatial memory doesn’t work on the Kindle. On the other hand, many a Great British Queue has been endured and even enjoyed by having the Kindle app on my phone and always something to read 🙂

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    • What you say about the visual/spatial memory is so true, Sue, and I would agree with smell, too. Sometimes it’s the smell of a book from my bookshelf which takes back to when I first read it. I don’t have a new-fangled phone so can’t read on mine but I take my Kindle along – hairdressers, dentist, and wherever I might be stuck in a queue.

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  17. Originally bought my Kindle to access set texts for my English Literature degree a couple of years ago and it was so easy and convenient. Now, I love the idea that I have so many other books on it and it has certainly extended my reading choices but I still prefer a good old paperback! You just can’t beat it.
    I take my Kindle on holidays as it stops me throwing too many books into my case…but a ‘real book’ will always sneak in!

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    • It sounds like most people do this kind of mix and match – Kindle when travelling and real books at home. A friend’s husband bought her a Kindle when they were charged for overweight baggage. She opened her case and he realised the extra weight were her books!

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