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Future Bookshelf

2012 February 29

I got a Kindle for Christmas this year, and I have yet to read a full book on it. At first, it was because I got a case for the wrong model (sidenote: anyone with the previous model of Kindle interested in a blue leather case with reading light?) and I didn’t want to damage my new toy. And then it was because I needed to read The Marriage Plot for book club, and Joe had it loaded on his Kindle, so we traded for the week. And then it was because I took a book out of the library that I’ve been meaning to read for years. And now it’s because I’m finally reading the copy of Freedom that’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a year.

Are you seeing a pattern?

Basically, though I really wanted a Kindle, and specifically requested one this year, I keep making up excuses not to use it, even with my pretty new Kate Spade cover and some books loaded on it.

I think it’s because I have an intimidating stack of physical books to read on my bookshelf and I can’t quite figure out a way to integrate this new device into my current reading repertoire. I haven’t bought myself new books in quite some time because of my restricted budget, but that’s not usually a problem–I have a reservoir of books built up, plus a steady supply that keep coming in thanks to my dashing publishing exec fiance, not to mention the convenient NYPL just blocks from my office. When the weather’s warm, even the sidewalk is a good source for books.  So how to insert this newfangled reading option into my already daunting to-read pile?

I’ve downloaded a few free classics, and plan to tackle Middlemarch (Middlemarch in March!) as soon as I finish Freedom. I’m going to a wedding in Seattle in a few weeks, so it will be nice not to lug multiple books, but instead just tuck the Kindle into my bag for the plane rides. But then what?

Does anyone have tips on how you read? Do you use an e-reader exclusively, or mix with print books? Eschew all re-readers entirely? I want to know!


*image source*

11 Responses Post a comment
  1. February 29, 2012

    I use my Kindle primarily for travel, which is great, and if I start a book on there I’ll finish it. But my mind still goes to what’s on my actual bookshelf or at the library first when I’m picking out something to read. Maybe that’ll change in a few years, but my guess is that there’ll be more of a balance than a Kindle takeover.

  2. Raquel permalink
    February 29, 2012

    I’ve been using my Kindle, which I got in late November, almost exclusively for books I borrow from the library and free editions of classics I never got around to reading. I also have a bunch of free samples loaded on it that I want to try before I buy. And sometimes Amazon has deals on inexpensive books that are appealing. (Their daily deal or regular specials are usually in genres I don’t care for, but I can sometimes find intriguing reads for under $4.)

    It can be tricky because sometimes the selection of Kindle books at the library is downright shitty, or I have to wait a while to get my Kindle hold fulfilled for something popular. But I feel like the Kindle will be my go-to for reads I don’t particularly care to read urgently or own as paper books. I just read the new Mindy Kaling memoir via a Kindle library loan and am glad I did so because I would not have wanted to spend money on her book. (Sorry, Mindy!) Plus, being able to remotely get library books fulfills my lazy side. :) We are running out of space for physical books, so relying on e-books and the library helps. And Kindle is ideal for commuting and travel–it’s just so much easier to hold and carry an e-reader. It’s nice to know you will never be without a book and that you can download them instantly. It’s also more comfortable to read from my Kindle when I’m scrunched up in bed–giant hardcovers are heavy!

    Certain books do NOT lend themselves to reading on a Kindle. Anything that is a reference type book that you may want to flip around in is really challenging to read on an e-reader–at least I haven’t figured out a way to do it effectively and pleasantly. I’ve recently bought several reference-type books in print for this reason. I do plan to use the Kindle for reading PDFs from work and I also realize I could load PDFs of longer articles onto it for reading there instead of at my computer. And I do eventually want to explore magazine subscriptions for it.

    So I’d say my reading habits are split between physical books that aren’t available as e-books or that don’t lend themselves to e-books and my Kindle. For the foreseeable future, I will be keeping a combination of print and e-books in my life!

    Try checking out the NYPL’s online books catalog. You can sign up to receive a notice when the e-books you want are available for download, if copies aren’t currently available, and I have discovered that if you keep the wireless turned off on the reader, you can keep the file on your Kindle for longer than the loan period of 7 to 14 days. (Shh! Don’t tell!) Also, if you were ever a member of a library in another state (ie, Rhode Island, Mass) and have access to their online catalog with your library card number and PIN, you can check out books from their Overdrive system too! I currently have books checked out from both Boston and Pennsylvania libraries.

    • Jill permalink
      February 29, 2012

      Thanks for all these suggestions Raquel! I wouldn’t have thought to check out the BPL online catalog, but I will def do that. I also will check out the Amazon specials. I feel like a cheapskate sometimes, but if I’m going to spend money on books, I’d prefer them to be printed, from independent bookstores!

      • February 29, 2012

        I second the rec to check out BPL! I’ve borrowed a few and it’s quite easy. The selection isn’t amazing (and a lot of the good books are waitlisted), but if you’re on the list you just get an email when it’s available.

        I almost always have an actual book in my handbag in addition to my Kindle (I’ve had mine for about a year). I go to Housing Works all the time and end up picking up books there…they need to be read too! I use my Kindle mostly for bringing my textbooks to class and to catch up on classics (yay free books!). But I love it, even though I read physical books as much as I used to.

      • Raquel permalink
        March 4, 2012

        I’m glad my verbose reply was helpful! Happy reading, friend! :)

  3. Matt permalink
    February 29, 2012

    Do you take the subway to work? Maybe the NY subways are different than Boston, but I can never get a seat on the T, and I never mastered reading while standing up and trying to hold onto something as the drunk conductor brakes erratically.

    Kindle for commuting, paper every other time.

    • Jill permalink
      February 29, 2012

      The NY subways are definitely crowded and awful and you’re right–the Kindle IS great for subway reading. I do most of my reading on the subway though, so I wouldn’t be able to commit to the Kindle for all my subway reading!

  4. Mal permalink
    February 29, 2012

    Yes to the BPL online catalog! I was actually thinking about the different benefits and conveniences of ebooks vs. print books this morning, and I realized that I’m actually much more restrained and frugal when it comes to ebooks. I NEVER load more than one book at a time, unless I know I’m going somewhere without wifi for an extended period of time. I only buy a book if I’ve finished the last, whereas I suspect my print book collection is actually reproducing by itself, because there’s no way I bought that many books, right? RIGHT?!

    • Raquel permalink
      March 4, 2012

      I am also more frugal with e-books, although I sometimes go on a “spree” of loading my Kindle with numerous free classics that I have always meant to read but never have. Amazon also offers inexpensive bundles (99 cents, usually) of all the works by a certain classic author, like Jane Austen, that have an active table of contents so you can flip about and cozy up with the title you want from their collection. I love having a bunch of these on my Kindle because then I’ll never lack for reading material. Sometimes I’ll get one of their “deal” ebooks that are less than $4, but only after much careful consideration!

      But I definitely am more careful about what I actually buy. I check my 2 library Overdrive accounts first to see if a book I want is available for loan, and if not, I always get the free sample before I decide to buy. The one-click Amazon buying system can be dangerous, so I try hard to exercise restraint! :)

      And srsly, HOW do print books multiply so quickly? They are all over my house and half the time I can’t even remember acquiring them! :)

  5. Dawn permalink
    February 29, 2012

    I definitely still have many reasons for reading real books in my everyday life, though I think I’ve found a balance with the Kindle, after having it for so long now. I read books on the Kindle when I am traveling, when the book is out in hardcover, when I need a book right away and I can’t be bothered to go to the store (sometimes I’m lazy but oftentimes that happens when traveling), and sometimes when I’m reading YAL. It’s certainly cozier to read in bed than a book and obviously easier to travel with. I did read some non-fiction books on it when traveling one summer and hated it – too hard to flip back, even with bookmarks – so I agree with Raquel.

    I haven’t checked out library loans yet as that’s a newer Kindle feature. Good idea to check and see if other libraries have books available (Is my Warwick account still active?!). I’ll have to try that sometime. Also a good tip about keeping the wireless turned off so it can’t send itself back. :)

    We ordered the wrong cover for Derek’s Kindle Fire and Amazon told us to keep it but refunded us the money. What version is your cover for? Maybe it would work on mine.

  6. March 2, 2012

    i will try my darndest never to switch to digital- i love the feeling and the smell of real books too much for that. similarly though, my husband and i bought a new car in december and i have driven it only once. sometimes we like to delay our gratification. no idea why!!!


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