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?


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.


Kristen said...

I wish my goodreads told me I was ahead, but I'm way behind. I still haven't embarked on the Kindle reading as much as I need to. I've had one since Christmas. Maybe I will try your method and read it before bed. I love audible too, but I also get audiobooks from the library. It takes me a while to get through one, but it's a great motivator for cleaning. :)

Glad you'll be reading more than usual and keep it up! :)

MG Higgins said...

Like you, I've read more books this year than ever. Not only am I loving the ease of e-books, but reading has taken the place of TV as my main form of entertainment. (All this reading also means I'm going to the library more often . . . my budget can't afford my e-book habit!)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Wow, Beth! That's fantastic! I've found that I read a lot more with my e-reader, but I still buy and read print books. In fact, the last one I read last week was your book!

Tere Kirkland said...

I'm halfway to my goal of 50! Hadn't even realized I'd read that much this year. ARCs are slowing me down, but my Nook definitely helps me read faster. Crazy fast.

Thanks for posting to remind me to check!

JEM said...

Oh, I really want to hear what you think of Soulless. I love the series, I hope you do, too! Books are like vacuums for me, I have to be careful when I read them. I either read them in one sitting or lose interest in them all together. Maybe I just have a patience problem...

Matthew MacNish said...

This is awesome. Good for you, Beth.

And I have to agree. I've always listened to e-books, usually only really long adult books too, just like you, but I only recently got a Kindle, and I have to say: I totally agree with you. I do have some complaints, and if given the choice I would still prefer to read my favorite books in all their hardcover glory, but the Kindle has some advantages, too. One is speed. I can't explain how or why, but there is no question that I read faster on the thing.

It is a great time to be a reader.

barmybex said...

Good for you, I'm still a print book snob, I have some e-books for review and they take me three times longer to read than an actual book.

I challenged myself to read 150 books in the year and I'm ahead of task as I'm already on 87 books read, just over half. :D

Looking forward to your next book.

Trisha said...

I just reached my reading goal for 2011 - it was only 25 books, and I purposefully chose thin books to read. ;) But I was still happy I read more than last year. And I will keep reading and see what I get in total for the whole year.

Holy Lucy, Batman! said...

Lol I'm the same way! I read AtU on my iPad and I listen to a lot of audiobooks at night and read print books in the car a lot + ereaders are nice to have on long trips cause you dont need a book light so I totally agree!

Michelle said...

I read in all those formats too! I especially love audio books. So much easier for me to get through more books! :)

Miriam Forster said...

Here's to the "glorious plague"!

*raises glass*

I'm mostly a print book person, but that's because I don't have a working ipod, and I can't afford books for my ereader. :)

B.E. Sanderson said...

It doesn't matter how you're reading a book as long as you're reading one. Go you for almost being finished with your goal. =o)

Melissa/welachild said...

I find myself juggling several books at once too! I go back and forth between a library book and my kindle. I rarely listen to audiobooks because it takes up too much time. Hopefully I can reach my reading goal this year of 44 books!

Jenny said...

I love ebooks and audiobooks also! I always have one of each going in my life. I mostly listen throughout the day and read on my Nook at night before bed. I pretty much listen any time I am not watching tv, reading, or working at the library desk, so I really get through a lot. Everyone always wonders how I do it! I'm a youth librarian, so I have to stay up on books to provide good reader's advisory but I would still mostly read YA if I wasn't. Having so many choices in books and formats lately has made me completely book obsessed!

Claire Dawn said...

Kindle has also helped my reading. Since I live in a non-English speaking country, so it's hard for me to get my hands on books. But also, I used to have trouble deciding which book to take with me, and know I just take them all! :)

Gaby G said...

I'm not doing well on my goodreads challenge....but I think I still have time to fix that!

"even more accessible than they've ever been before" That's totally true. I know some people are still being hard of ebooks. Really, why? I love books, but you know how hard it's to find the books you want to read in other countries? (ex. South America). My Kindle has been the best gift ever, now I can really read what I want. :)

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