Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The book vs the e-reader

I haven't even written a word yet and I can already hear the screams in the distance.  Book!  Book!  Book!  Book!  Book!  Funny thing.  A few years ago, I might have been one of those screams.  Now, in 2018, I have 3 e-readers (Kindle, iPad and Nook) and I have several books that I am reading.  I even purchased several books in 2017.  I've been going back and forth.  I'm an Amazon Prime member and with that I get a free e-book a month.  So, my e-book account is filled; Almost like a book shelf with unread books.

Here's my story.  I used to be a reader through my childhood and even to my late 30s.  Only books then.  I don't remember when e-readers came to be.  Somewhere there I had some significant life changes - a new job, a divorce, a marriage.  Ok fine!  Minor detail!   A couple of years ago, I realized that while my life changed, some of my behaviors did also.  I stopped reading.  I stopped writing.

Well, the writing part is true and not so true.  I did start this blog in 2014, I think.  Wow!  Really?  So long ago.  Back to the story, I haven't worked on my novel and it was a note to self.  I needed to write more.

Second part, I needed to read more.  I had seen/read something on Facebook (the time suck) about how the average person can read 400 books a year, easily.  I think this was a video because the guy in the video did the math.  It was basically about replacing Facebook time with reading time.  I thought about it and decided to give it a try.

Every night, I would do Facebook for an hour or more before going to bed.  I know.  Blue light.  Unhealthy.  That's not the point.  The point is that I replaced my Facebook time for book time.  And soon, I was done with a book.  I think in less than a week.  I was blown.  I couldn't believe it.  How?  I thought to myself that I would love to read my Kindle in bed, because it won't affect my eyes, but my bedroom is not very well lit.  That idea did not work.  At that time, I did not have an iPad.  I considered getting a Kindle White light (with the back light), but I just didn't want another Kindle.  Electronic waste of the old one.  I got an iPad instead.  There goes the eyes argument!  I made a pact to myself that I would read a book a month.  12 books.  I know, for you readers out there, it's little.  Piddly.  For me, going from 0 to 12.  That was something.

2017:  I finished my 12 book reading goal.  This year is 24 book goal (2 books a month).  In this process, I have been switching between iPad and iPhone using the Kindle app.  I have used the Kindle (need sunlight and outdoors for this one) when the weather was better.  The last book I read was long.  About 600 pages.  Palm trees in the Snow.  This was one of my free Prime books.  I guess, I decided to do it because I wanted to get the big ones out of the way.  Well, I read it and read it and read it.  It took me a couple of weeks, but I got it done.  I got my 2 books for January read and I was all good to go.

February books I have picked, I started early.  It's an actual book.  So, now, when I'm reading in bed, I'm constantly adjusting the reading light (that I purchased), but more importantly, as I'm reading, all I can see is the page number.  I can visually see how much more there is.  I guess if I really wanted to calculate, I could pull out a calculator and see what percent of the book is remaining, but I'm fascinated.  In the past, a page number would have been enough.  Now, I wanted to know, the time remaining to finish this chapter.  To finish this book.  And books don't come with that information on the bottom.  And I found myself missing the Kindle.  It would learn my reading speed and tell me how much longer I had.  I could very easily think to myself, "Oh!  15 more minutes to this chapter.  Let's finish now."  I know the argument can be made that you can actually see how many more pages there are to the chapter, but then you are flipping through (that has its advantages) looking for where the next chapter is.  Here, the information is all on the little tab where the page number would be.  One click and I can revert to page number.  Or time left in book.  While I'm reading my book, somehow, I don't have the "there's only so much more time to finish this" thought to propel me.

I do find change funny.  I remember when I first started reading on the e-reader and it had time remaining, but didn't have page numbers.  I had percent left.  That drove me nuts.  I guess the app must have updated to page numbers also, but change can be a glorious thing!

Of course, there is the space issue.  The other day, I tried to carry a book in my purse and that didn't work out so well.  I ended up buying a bigger purse, but if that book was on my e-reader, that would be a no brainer.  I wouldn't need to carry it.  I could just carry my cell or even my other larger readers.

I do think about the time I had the e-reader and I just wanted to flip through the pages and go back to page 1, really quick to verify something and I didn't know how to do that in my e-reader and I thought.  Ahhhh, the fast flipping back and forth of pages.  That does put a book in an advantage, but there are so many other advantages to the e-reader that you have to pick a side.

Also, as I have more books, I realize that I don't have much shelf space left.  I think I'm going to donate some of the books I don't "love" that I've already read.  That may clear space for what I have now.  I have read several books on my e-reader and I do not miss them on my shelves.  I just don't.

Disclosure:  I haven't opened my Nook yet.  But after I'm done with reading real books, holding them and actually turning the page and feeling the paper and all that medieval, classical, nostalgic feelings are done, I'm registering my Nook and buying more books on them.

Change is a process.  I'm getting there.


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