Some thoughts about reading

Well, I did the math, and it was a good year for me for reading. (It helps that I am retired!) I read 131 books (including 13 nonfiction) and 21 pieces of shorter fiction. I also listened to 4 audiobooks.

My husband read somewhere the other day that the average person reads 4000 books in their lifetime. While that number seems both way to large and way too small, it made me think about how I compare to that.

In 2009, when I first began keeping track, I read 72 books. (My goal had been 81 – 9 books in each of 9 categories.) In 2010, it was 86 books. 2011 was a little worse — 85 books read. The next couple years were down to 60 because I was driving about 500 miles a week and working full time. So let’s say I read an average of 70 books a year. If we start counting in 1980, after my kids were a little older and I had a little more time to read, that would give me 2590 books. Not bad! And of course, in 2016 and 2017 I read way more than 70 books. Hopefully that trend will continue for several more years.  If it does, I think I will easily make my 4000 books even if we just start counting when I was 37!

Having my ereaders has helped me read more, I know. I still switch off pretty regularly between the Kobo and the Kindle, depending on what I feel like reading. I have plenty of unread books on both to make it easy to always find something to read!

I am really glad that I started keeping track of my reading here on the blog. It has helped me to challenge myself and has inspired me to read more. What inspires you to read?

 

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eBooks vs. paper

I read an article on the Guardian today that has me thinking. The title is “How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’. Unfortunately, I am not sure what I think about it.

The author talks about the resurgence of physical books, stating

figures published today by the Publishing Association show that sales of consumer ebooks have dropped by 17%, while sales of physical books are up 8%.

Overall sales of books in Britain have risen, she goes on to state, which is the good news in all of this as far as I am concerned. The format of the books isn’t as important as the reading of books.

What irritated me was this:

Once upon a time, people bought books because they liked reading. Now they buy books because they like books. “All these people are really thinking about how the books are – not just what’s in them, but what they’re like as objects,” says Jennifer Cownie, who runs the beautiful Bookifer website and the Cownifer Instagram, which match books to decorative papers, and who bought a Kindle but hated it.

In general, this seems like a throwback to the days of people having libraries or bookshelves filled with books that were there to impress, not to be read. That doesn’t seem like progress to me. Books are for reading, not as a kind of art. It shouldn’t matter what the cover looks like; the story is what matters.

And I have to wonder why she didn’t like her Kindle. Was it because it was unhip or because reading on it was not pleasurable? Did she give the Kindle a chance or just abandon it right away?

Buried way down in the article was a very important statement:

The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.

Most of the authors I read are self-published. Part of that is because there are some awesome self-published authors out there, and part is because traditional publishers often price their ebooks at or higher than the paperback editions.

There is another side to this discussion, too, and that is privacy. My husband sent me a link to a First Monday article by Clifford Lynch on reader privacy in the age of reader analytics. I will admit to not having read the whole article, but his closing thoughts include these:

At some point it’s worth asking what readers of various kinds will actually tolerate before the creepiness factor becomes overwhelming and repulsive. Suppose, as a thought experiment, that Amazon said it would share every purchaser’s e-mail address with the author of books they purchased? (Pick your own opt-in or opt-out boundary conditions). How about sharing this information with the book’s publisher? Would a discount on the purchase price or some other reward make most readers more comfortable? What conditions (enforceable or not) might be imposed on the author or the publisher regarding reuse of this purchaser information, and would this make any difference to readers’ comfort levels? What choices would customers make in such situations?

I probably don’t worry as much about privacy as I should. Do I need to worry about Amazon or Kobo selling my data? Would I be better off switching to paper books? Amazon could still sell my data if I buy my books from them.  I don’t see much way around it: we have very limited privacy anymore.

My husband loves to buy and read physical books. He only reads used books that he buys or gets from lending libraries without any paper trail. He is very concerned about privacy and, although he has had two ereaders, never got into ebooks. His approach is a fine one, I think. But it doesn’t work for me.

I love my ereaders. I love my ebooks. I buy mostly genre fiction by independent authors, so ebooks are right for me. What about you?

 

OK, I’m happy again!

My new Kobo arrived yesterday. Instead of the Glo HD, which they no longer make, I was given an Aura, 2nd Edition. It is very comparable to the Glo HD, as least as far as I have seen so far.

I charged it and set it up yesterday. That part went extremely well. Of course, this is the 3rd variety of Kobo and the fourth actual ereader I have had over the last 5 1/2 years, so I have a lot of experience with the setup process.  But I really think this was the easiest setup ever.

The Aura supposedly has up to 2 months of battery life. I was below 40% a little while ago, so I am charging it again. I did some stuff with wifi after it was charged yesterday, so that may have affected battery life. After I unplug it this time, I’ll be better able to talk about battery life.

The only thing I am having trouble with is using the virtual keyboard. I swear I hit one key and it gave me a different letter. I am not sure what happened. Fortunately, I don’t use the keyboard much except to set up wifi connections, so this isn’t a big deal.

I am so glad to have a functioning Kobo again! I read a lot on my Kindle ever the past month, and I have to say I just don’t like it as much. It isn’t as comfortable or as intuitive for me. But I have to say that it has been very reliable so far, and that counts for a lot with me. I read too much to not have a functioning ereader! But I am really happy that my new Kobo gives me a functioning ereader that I really like!

 

It just occurred to me…

Every year I when I list me reading by genre, I start with non-fiction, but I seldom read more than one non-fiction book a month. So why does that come first on the list? The only reason I can come up with is a kind of vanity. As an intelligent, educated woman, I think I am “supposed” to read non-fiction. So I put it first and hope people will see that and think I am a serious reader. Truth is, it is all the other books that demonstrate how serious I am about reading. I guess I am more vain than I like to think!

I’m so sad…

My Kobo died this morning. I am trying a couple things, but so far there has been no luck.  From my dealings with Kobo Customer Service a while back with my old Kobo, I know better than to try to talk to them about this one.

I can read all my Kobo books on my tablet or my phone, but I really like using dedicated ereaders. I won’t buy another Kobo, in spite of how much I want to like them.  Actually, I like them. I just don’t like their ereaders anymore, and I HATE their customer service.

There aren’t a lot of other options out there, so I will probably just make do with what I have. But I won’t be happy about it!