What Are Your Reading Habits?

Yesterday on my personal Facebook page, I posted the video above. A very good friend replied, saying that he’s all about e-books and audio books these days, because it allows him to not be weighed down by books and lets him read/listen on the go.

The Power of E-Books

I love physical books, but I’m not against e-books and audio books; in fact, in the past two years, I’ve read more digital books than physical books.

I find myself taking in non-fiction as audio books more and more, because it’s easy to listen to while at the gym or formatting things at work. (As a technical writer, music with lyrics and podcasts can be distracting, but sometimes — if I’m formatting a lot of procedures and not writing — I can listen to something with words.)

This is the point my friend made: reading is no longer this thing we do before bed, or on lunch breaks.

  • Long line at the DMV? Pull out your phone and read.
  • Ride a train to work? You’ve probably seen more e-readers in the last couple years.
  • That kid you think is checking Facebook on her phone? She’s actually reading. (Okay, reading and checking Facebook.)
  • Long commute or road trip? Listen to a book.

E-readers were big sellers this past holiday season, and I have to think that most of the people buying and receiving an e-reader don’t leave it on the nightstand. I see them at work, at cafes, and even in restaurants.

All over the place.

So What About Physical Books?

Just because I love e-books and audiobooks (although I’m still not a big fan of fiction as audiobook — I like the way it all comes in when reading silently), it doesn’t mean there’s not room for physical books in my life.

I didn’t get an e-reader for Christmas, but I got a small pile of books I’ve been enjoying.

The Start of 2012's Reading List

For some reason, before bed at night or on a lazy afternoon on the couch, I like physical books best. With an exception: BIG books.

I recently reviewed Craig Thompson’s Habibi, which is a stunning physical book in its design — but at over 660 pages, it’s heavy and not as easy to get comfortable with as my phone or an e-reader.

Still, for certain authors, there’s just something about cracking open a book that I will always love.

What About You?

How have your reading habits changed in recent years? Do you find yourself reading more e-books on the go, like my friend, or do you still prefer to curl up in bed with a good [physical] book?

One thing’s for certain, whether you prefer digital books to physical books (or the other way around) — taking time out to read, and the habits that come with doing so, will hopefully never die.


  1. says

    I’m still reading physical books, though I have a Kindle, and I have read perhaps a half dozen books on it, including a Pulitzer Prize winner. I can see a benefit to an ereader, but I like the more tangible benefit of an actual bound book. Perhaps it’s generational. Of course, a lot of what I read is the kind of obscure, out-of-print stuff that won’t be available on a Kindle ever.

  2. says

    Paul: I definitely think part of it is generational. Not that my bookcase is a trophy club, but there have been some e-books I’ve read that–when I’m finished–have made me think, “I need the print version.” I don’t know why, other than there are some stories that hit me in such a way that I want a physical reminder that I read it.

    I had the flu with John Irving’s last novel came out, so I bought it as an ebook and read it on my iPhone. It was very convenient since I was sick. And…it was more affordable than the hardback. But it was a bit of a departure for him, and I keep meaning to get a physical copy of the book, even though it’s still easier to open my Kindle app and go straight to the parts I’ve highlighted in the story that I sometimes want to refer to.

    The out of print books…I LOVE hitting a good used book store and hunting for old books, and I can’t get that with e-books. At the same time, some out of print books have seen a good second life as e-books. For me, this is what I like about print and e-books: some books — and I don’t know why — I just want a physical copy to go back to. Other books, I like as e-books. I love that I don’t run out of room with e-books. But even though I’m reading e-books more and more, in ways, it’s made me appreciate print books even more.

  3. says

    I still like to pick up the odd paper book here and there, but I’m pretty much mostly digital now. The last several books I read were all on the new Kindle. I listened to Stephen King’s “11-22-63” in audiobook format (while at the office, no less).

    But still, even as an e-published author… there are times when I just want to read a book. Feel it in my hands, you know? Biographies are like that with me — I read all three of Richard Hammond’s books in hardback recently, and somehow I think that was the way they were meant to be read.

  4. says

    Shawn: With the exception of the current pile of books, I’m mostly digital, too. Like you, there are certain books that feel right as traditional books in one’s hands, but I’m definitely a fan of digital books. I have a little backlog of audiobooks to get through. With cooler weather, I haven’t hit the gym–where I usually listen to audiobooks. Since I’ve been walking and doing things outside with Cynthia, I haven’t listened to a thing. But audiobooks work for me as well.

    Really, any way to get a story or information from somebody’s mind to mine works!

    Thanks for the reply.

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