Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On Reading

Like many of you, I joined up with the GoodReads reading challenge at the start of the year. After some thought, I decided to shoot for reading 30 books in 2011. For a lot of you, that won't sound like much, but in 2010, I only got through about 25 books, so I thought I was challenging myself.

I happened to look at my challenge the other day:

I...what?! It's only halfway through the year, and I've already read more book than I read in all of 2010?! And if you count manuscripts and books that aren't on GoodReads yet, I'm closer to about 35.

What precipitated this change in my reading style? Was it because I suddenly found myself with twice as much reading time?

Excuse me while I die laughing over that idea.
Nope, the simple truth is I actually have less time to read, but I'm still reading more. Why?

Because for the first time, I'm reading in different formats.

The first method: audiobooks. Now, I'd listened to audiobooks before, but I basically just listened to the Harry Potter books on repeat, because those were the only ones I had (thanks to a generous gift from my in-laws). Audiobooks were too expensive, frankly, and the ones I bought on CD didn't play nice with my iPod, my main listening device.

Then along came Audible. Audible has great prices on audiobooks--usually around $15 or so, often less--and it made it super-easy to get audiobooks onto my iPod, all nicely formatted for the audiobook part of the iPod.


That's all it took for me: ease of access and a lower price-point completely sold me on audiobooks. I've been downloading a variety of audiobooks (I'm in the monthly membership program) and love it. Those super-long adult books I've been avoiding? So much easier to read while on the treadmill at the gym. Those books I've been meaning to read and just haven't gotten around to yet? Listen to 'em while cleaning the kitchen. I generally listen in about half-hour chunks, and have found that I don't have a problem at all stopping and re-starting the audiobooks--much like I don't have a problem putting down a book and picking another back up. In fact, with a couple of really good audiobooks, I've actually volunteered to do more housework just for the excuse to keep listening.

The other reason why I'm reading more?

E-books.

Now, I'm not about to get started on the ebook vs. print book debate. I used to do that: I used to be a total print snob and be one of those who would scream out about how much books will never die and nothing will replace the feel of a good book in my hands.

And that's still true. Sort of. I don't think books will ever die. But I do believe that there's room for ebooks, and that's it's not about one or the other.

Instead, I've found that since getting an ereader, my reading habits have changed. I used to read in two main methods: during the day, where I'd set aside part of my day to read, and at night, where I'd read a bit before going to bed. The Kindle has replaced the books on my bedstand. So, I still read a book during the day, but I shift to the Kindle at night and read that in bed. And...I'm reading more. There's a lot of reasons for that. I increase the print size so it's easier on my eyes, and the Kindle's lighter than a paperback, and easier to hold up for longer in bed.

If you look at my "currently reading list" over there on the sidebar, one of those books is an audiobook, one is a Kindle book, and two are hardcovers I bought from my local Indie. They are each providing me with a different, fun experience in reading--and they are each in a different format.

All this means is that stories are even more accessible than they've ever been before. You guys, it's an awesome time to be a reader right now. You can easily get your books in any format you want for a reasonable price, using devices that are perfect for getting you those stories.

And honestly? It's a great time to be a writer, too. I know there's a lot of stuff in flux right now. Pirates, ebook royalties, dominate formats, etc. But I'm not worried about that. (At least not much, lol.) I'm too busy being excited about how stories--in whatever form--are spreading around the world like a glorious plague.
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