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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday: How Do You Read?

Not as in "how" does one navigate the cognitive process of transcribing symbols into ideas, but rather, what format do you use to read?

Cuz, in this day and age, we gotz choices!

Admittedly, when e-readers first began to emerge, I was a hater.

Because not only do I love to read, but I also LOVE books.  I just love them.  I love the look of them, I love the way their spines neatly line up on a book shelf, I love the smell of their glue, I love the feeling of turning a page, and I love the places where you can browse books: bookstores and libraries.  Perhaps it's this last aspect that I love most of all -- partially because I have such fond memories of them from childhood.

My mother was a librarian at our small town's local library for a big chunk of my childhood, and every day after school, I walked to the library and spent my afternoon there as she finished her work day.  I read or did homework in the bean bags situated in the kid section, or I often helped my mom shelve books (yes, I was an 8 year old who knew the Dewey Decimal system).  I loved the library and all the books in it.

Equally, I loved the bookstore.  In particular, when we were with my dad, every other weekend, he regularly took my brother and I to do one of 3 things: Go to the zoo, go to the natural history museum, or go to The Tattered Cover (a beloved independent bookstore in Denver).  The Tattered Cover was (and still is, although they're not in their original location now) a Wonderland of books.  4 stories of wall-to-wall books.  Certainly, I also benefited from my dad's weak spot for book buying, and my brother and I always got to walk away from the store with a new read to add to our personal libraries.

So, winding back to the emergence of e-readers, I couldn't fathom that they would ever appeal to me because I felt I'd be robbed of something integral to my reading experience.  But, I was wrong.

Because something else happened: My own kids.

Kids, in case you don't know, come with a lot of stuff.  We live in a small home where space, especially storage space, is in short supply.  Thus, in order to make room for their stuff, I had to get rid of some of my stuff, and you know what takes up a massive amount of space?  Books.

Simply put, e-readers solve the problem of accumulating more STUFF.  And, once I began reading in this way, I also began to love the ease and convenience of e-reading.  If, for example, I finish a book late at night and want to buy and start a new one, it's a matter of minutes and I have a new read at my finger tips.  Plus, they are (slightly) cheaper.  So, now I often read on either the iPad, or even on my iPhone -- tiny screen, but it's incredibly convenient -- or on the Kindle or Nook.  Yes, we own them all.  We are reading gluttons.  But, that doesn't mean I have completely abandoned the classic book book.

In fact, the two principle drawbacks of e-reading (browsing isn't the same, enjoyable experience and lending is harder) still make physical books advantageous.  Plus, every now and then I like holding something tangible.  Something I can flip to the end of a chapter or the end of the book and give myself a sneak peek (bad habit?  honestly, knowing the ending ruins nothing for me) and something that gives the reading some heft.

So, essentially, I read in just about every available format, and the one thing e-readers helped me re-confirm is that I don't just love books.  I love reading.

How do you read?  Do you own an e-reader; if so, which one?  What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of reading in different formats?


Kevin said...

I buy almost 100% of my books electronically these days. Occasionally I may want a computer reference book in hard copy, but for the most part it is either on my nook or a pdf directly from the publisher

One thing I really like are e-book cookbooks. I can prop my tablet up in the kitchen and follow along with the recipe on the table while cooking

Shrinking Sara said...

Wow your after school time in the library is like a dream to me!

I was anti ereader for a long time but bought one so I could nurse and read at the same time with the birth of my first. During my son's first year I almost exclusively read from my kindle but now I'm back to books mostly.

I'm a library lover which is one of the main reasons so I'm sure once Kindle has library books in Canada things will change again!

Lee said...

My mom is a librarian too. She works in the library of the SEC now.

I really like going into bookstores and browsing, but I got a Kindle paperwhite for Christmas and I have to admit, it is so nice to just push a button and have a book appear on it! Maybe not so nice for my wallet, but that's another story! I did recently get a library book on it, which was exciting.

Unknown said...

kindle app on my nexus 7 tablet. i like the small form factor of the nexus 7 vs the ipad which I tried reading on initially. The ipad was too big/heavy.

MCM Mama said...

I too was an e-book hater. Part of the reason I became a librarian was a love of the actual physical book. But then our library started offering ebooks with an app that allowed me to read on my iphone. Suddenly, I could read anywhere,anytime and I was sold. Now I have two Kindle Fires, the kindle app on my computer, and the kindle app on my phone. I'm never without a book and I love it!

Kristy said...

I haven't made the leap to an e-reader yet. I love books for all the reasons that you stated. I also love having books all over my house. BUT I now have a kid who LOVES books more than I do. Maybe he needs an e-reader so I can claim the bookshelf (and desk, and coffee table, and bedside table, and any other flat surface)as my own!

Debbi said...

I bought a Nook Color with the idea that it would save a ton of shelf space, and it has. I also like reading magazines on it ... those are harder to store, and always ended up in an outdated pile on my nightstand. I love reading on my phone, the small screen doesn't bother me a bit. I've been saving for an iPad, so I'm sure I'll be reading on it as well. AND ... I still buy books. =)

Pharmie said...

I LOVE reading on my iPad. I can read without having to prop pages open if I'm laying on my side, and I can read in the dark without needing a light. I discovered our public library's extensive selection and ease of use, and now I'm not going broke in the process. I am hooked!

Alice said...

I am a real book reader, but if another English major can go so very digital I may have to give it a chance.

Carolina John said...

I adore my kindle. Just looking through the free books on amazon and buying with one click makes it worth it to me. There's always 30 books on the kindle waiting to be read but I don't have to listen to the wife complain about the giant stacks of paper books piled up on my nightstand. It's the best of both worlds.

B. Kramer said...

My wife reads electronically. I've read only two books that way. I still prefer physical books, and I've gotten back into the habit of visiting the library, which helps cut down on accumulating more book clutter. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I read electronically using my Microsoft Surface. I read quite a bit and have no room for physical books.