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Mid-Week Poll: How Do You Read Books?

This week, we have a poll for all the book readers out there. Do you still buy books in print, or have you moved on to an eReader, tablet or other electronic reading device? Which do you prefer?

I’ve been on a bit of a reading kick lately. It helps to pass the time during my daily subway commute. As I stand (or sit) clutching my paperback in a sea of Kindles, iPads and other electronic reading gadgets, I have to wonder if I’m a dinosaur. I have no problem surfing the web or watching a video on my smartphone. In fact, my new phone has a large enough screen that reading a book would probably be fairly comfortable (much more so than my last phone). Yet I still find myself gravitating toward buying books in print, even though I know that storing a huge library of books on one compact device would be a lot more convenient.

Much has been written by others about the tactile pleasure of flipping pages on paper, but I don’t think that’s my reason. I just like to own and collect things like books, and media stored electronically feels transitory and disposable. Is that weird? Maybe. I don’t pretend to be rational about this.

Am I missing the boat on this? Has switching to an eReader or tablet changed your life for the better?

You may vote for more than one option in this poll if you read by multiple methods.

How Do You Read Books?

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27 comments

  1. T.J. Kats

    Books have always been a library thing for me so I never really buy. Because of that moving to my ipad was an easy transition.

  2. Alex

    Ran out of shelf space. Ran out of wall space to put up more shelves. Had to either buy a new house or get a Kindle. Kindle was cheaper.

  3. BambooLounge

    I don’t read with enough frequency to make owning physical books a space issue. And what I do read is generally stuff that I like to keep around as an off the shelf reference (collections of film criticism, director interviews, etc) as opposed to novels, which are more of a one and done affair for me.

  4. Ryan

    I don’t like the “I still prefer print” option, but had to choose that since it’s the only print option.
    Anyway, I mostly prefer to read on my Kindle. But I’ll still read traditional books from time to time. Sometimes I’ll read on the computer as well, but that’s rarer (hurts my eyes).

    • Ryan

      Also, for special books, I will buy the print version of a book just to display and collect….but I’ll actually READ it on my Kindle.

    • William Henley

      I read in print if an ebook version is not available. I have started scanning and using OCR to convert some of my books to ebooks, but it is time consuming to clean up – I can usually read a book in less time than it takes to scan and clean up, so I really only do that if I plan to read a book several times.

  5. William Henley

    I started with the Kindle app on my tablett, and then moved to a Kobo eink reader. I like the fact that the eReader can go for about a month on a charge, versus about two hours with my tablett. The eInk reader is also more rugged, so I don’t mind taking it to places that I might feel hesitant to take the tablett into. I also prefer the display of the eInk reader – its like paper.

    As much as I like print, I read about 5 books at the same time, depending on my mood. It is just much easier to carry around an ereader with 1000 books loaded on it over carrying around 5 books with me.

  6. Nick Haddad

    I definitely prefer to just having the physical book in my hand. The weight and feel of it all. BUT that being said, when I go to amazon and the same book I want is $.99 compared to $15 at a store it’s hard to be a purist. So when I can I still go print, but I’ll slip into digital once in awhile using the kindle app on my computer

  7. Lord Bowler

    I still prefer to own a copy and have it in my hands.

    That being said, I’m just starting to read free books on the Kindle.

  8. Owning actual books and having lots of them around the house is essential for me. Whether or not I read all of them more than once or not at all, they’re a great thing to have! Though I would like a dedicated library…

    I prefer books in paper form, though I will occasionally read an E-Book on iPad/computer/Kindle-like device if I can’t get it in print.

  9. William Henley

    You know, Print is still ahead in the poll, but with as many people who chose one of he electronic options, I am surprised that I am the only one who defended the reason why. Several people mentioned that they have an eReader or Kindle app, but it sounds like everyone who has commented chose the “I prefer paper” option.

    Could somone who prefers the electronic devices please comment?

    • Ryan

      I definitely prefer reading on my Kindle…the option just wasn’t there for us to choose.
      The kindle is just much more portable than a hardcover book (they can get pretty big, bulky, and heavy). I can throw it in my bag and have a whole library waiting for me. It’s great for trips, the gym, the park…everything.

  10. EM

    Definitely print. Heck—I just came from visiting the comics shop for this week’s fix; I’ve lately been on a bit of a book-buying binge; and last week I received a belated birthday gift of the huge, two-volume Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. (Sadly, I dropped the HTOED on my foot; a friend says I will now have many alternatives to saying “DANG!” the next time I am so careless! Actually, when it happened the first time, I did utter some other choice, albeit unscholarly, word of the same length…)

    In principle I think e-books are fine. But I have had concerns, such as the impermanence of purchases. I haven’t lately surveyed the options to see if there are any that satisfy my concerns.

    I have no doubt that, even if I finally find an e-book technology I can embrace, I will still want some physical books. For instance, electronicized 3D pop-up books would lose the charm and wit of actual paper engineering. And it would take a rather large e-reader to satisfactorily duplicate the gorgeously illustrated coffee-table books in my collection—though I suppose it could be done…maybe.

    I pity those who answer, “Books? What are those? If it doesn’t have moving pictures, I don’t want it!” After all, some books do have moving pictures! I recommend trying out the Scanimation books by Rufus Butler Seder, including Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz, and similar books such as Dan Kainen and Carol Kaufmann’s gorgeous Safari: A Photicular Book. (I’d love to see a similar book of clips from silent film…)

    • William Henley

      Ah, well, none of my eBooks have DRM in them. I tried, and failed, to purchase eBooks and get them to work correctly with my readers (Kindle seems to have the best luck of working, but if I buy on my pc, its hit or miss if it ever makes it to my device, more misses than hits, and books on my Kobo device – even free books in the public domain, will randomly deauthorize). Project Guttenberg is a great place to get DRM free ebooks, and there are a few others. Load them into Calibre, get them all in the format I want, dump them onto my SD card, pop SD card in Kobo, and away I go!

      • William Henley

        I guess I should say that “few of my ebooks have DRM” as I do have a few I have bought through the Kindle on Amazon

  11. JM

    Macbook, iphone, Kindle, Fire are all readable, but only paper do I love.

    Gadgets feel like gadgets. Books feel like books.

    I prefer books to feel like what they are. The older the better.

    Except for science fiction, which feels more authentic on tablets.

    The public library is the core of my lifestyle. It’s better than religion.

    Maybe someday they’ll manufacture an ebook indistinguishable from a hardcover…

    • That is, unless it’s a gigantic Stephen King book, or a ‘Game of Thrones’ novel. Those books make my fingers hurt to hold. ‘Under the Dome’ gave me a forearm workout just holding the damn thing up.

  12. A combination of print, tablet and phone for me. I’m not about to get rid of my meager collection of books, but I also like the convenience of the Kindle app.

  13. Mostly digital, I have stuff on Nook, Kindle and Google Play Books, I also read any comics I can get digitally too.

    Books in general I only ever read one time, never have a gone back and re-read a book, I just dont have the time when I can be reading a different good book instead. Books arent like movies to me and paying for a cheap one to read once is great and I dont worry about having a physical copy, movies I do and on that front I can see people who read and collect books would feel the same way about DRM, digital and actually owning a copy.

    But since I only read anything one time, I’m not really worried about if I own the book 10 years down the road or have enough room to display a book collection, I already have most of one wall taking up my movie collection ;)

  14. FLskydiver

    I wind up reading on my iPhone most of all; because it is always with me and I always have access to books on it. Anytime I’m stuck waiting somewhere, I’m reading.

    I still collect favorite books in Hardcover, and sometimes read them there first, but there is no denying that reading on an e-reader is just more damn pleasurable.

    I have an iPad 3, but I seldom read on it due to its weight. Bought my neighbor an iPad mini, and am jealous as hell. It’s AMAZING for reading. I’m sure if I had one myself (or a Kindle Paperwhite) I’d read a whole lot more at home. If the next iPad mini still doesn’t have retina, I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold off buying the Kindle.

    • FLskydiver

      ^ Should have added I read most of all when I’m eating out alone (at lunch usually) or (in the warmer months) taking a relaxing rest break on a hike … and for that too, of course, my iPhone is my always there go-to device.

      Opening iBooks for the first time on a retina display in the AT&T store is, hands down, what made me buy my first smart phone. I do use the Kindle App almost exclusively now, however.

    • William Henley

      Go down to the store and check out the eInk readers (sounds like you are already looking at a Kindle Paperwhite, but the Nooks and Kobos are pretty cool too). You may need to learn how to use Calibre to convert your eBooks, but I find my eInk reader to be perfect for reading books.

      Ironicly, that is why I originally bought a 7 inch tablet – it felt more natual for reading. But with the time it takes to boot my tablet, and the shorter battery life than an eInk reader….

      Anyways, yeah, the iPads are great, but are kinda awkward for reading. I definately recommend looking into a Kindle or something. You will be amazed how much it changes things!

  15. FLskydiver

    BTW, since this is a thread for avid book readers, let me recommend to you all the outstanding Mercury Series by Robert Kroese.

    http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Kroese/e/B003PEDI66/

    If you are a fan of Douglas Adams, you will love Robert Kroese.

    Picked up “Mercury Falls” during a Kindle Daily Deal and got instantly hooked. The series has quickly become one of my favorites. Give it a try!