Reading has always been my idea of fun!
I love reading and I love books, plus I believe writers are usually great readers. We spend our lives immersed with our minds elsewhere, in someone else's world or one of our own creation. Happy times indeed!
Hugh Howey posted a video about his reading habits and thoughts on the state of e-readers last week, and I was inspired to create my own version.
In the video below, I talk about how I read, I show you some of my book collection, how I discover books, what annoys me as a reader and how I review and share the love.
You can watch the video below or here on YouTube, or read the notes underneath, which include (affiliate) links to the books I talk about. The mic is a little off (I've got a new one on order) but I hope you enjoy it!
How do I read now … and how I ended up that way
I love the auto-synch between devices. I finish in bed on the Paperwhite and start on the Tube on my iPhone. I get highlights from non-fiction on the Kindle app on the Mac when I am working – I LOVE highlighting. I'm probably an addict! I later transfer my highlighted notes to my notebooks by hand.
I own over 1000 books on Kindle and have about 200 samples on my Paperwhite right now. In the same way that owning print books was part of my life even without reading them, it's the same for ebooks.I also think it's an extension of my brain and I use search on the Mac app when I want to research stuff and often find books I haven't read in a while.
I rarely read paper and never read fiction in print anymore. I do own some non-fiction in print and I show you some of my books in the video:
- Textbooks – STORY by Robert McKee
- Poetry – An African Elegy by Ben Okri (only available second-hand)
- Beautiful art books / Talisman books – Alchemy and Mysticism. I mention the Wellcome Collection Blackwells bookstore which is my addiction, as well as Waterstones Piccadilly and Foyles on Charing Cross Road.
- Books to keep forever – The Red Book by Carl Jung oversize full color edition, The Empire of Death by Paul Koudounaris and Palestine by Henry Bordeaux (antique)
- Travel books – Lonely Planet South India and Kerala from our cycling trip
I also listen to some non-fiction audiobooks: Jack Canfield – The Success Principles and Steven Pressfield's Turning Pro. I own both of these books in ebook, print and audio formats as they continue to have a huge impact on me.
One of the reasons I believe digital is the future is the demographic shift into cities and smaller space living. Americans may not see this so much, but in Europe, we mostly live in smaller spaces and physical books clutter the place quickly.
We left behind over 2000 print books when we left Australia – many of which I had paid to ship from England to New Zealand and then on to Brisbane. It was practically impossible to sell them second-hand so we gave most of them away to local students. I find I am now replacing books I used to own in paper on ebooks even if I am not ready to re-read them yet.
I probably read about 5x as much fiction now as I used to in print, because of the prohibitive cost in Australia and New Zealand.
Why am I a Kindle customer?
It's basically first mover advantage! I love Kobo and iBooks and Nook and all the other options but they weren't around when I started on ebooks.
I was living in Australia in 2008/2009 when e-readers started to emerge. At the time, print books were AU$25-$35 which is about 3x the price of UK books. I had almost stopped reading fiction and my non-fiction reading had dropped significantly.
The Sony Reader was the first on my radar but it wasn't compelling. Then the Kindle launched and I was hooked. Here's my review of the first international Kindle. [That brings back memories!]
I continue to be a very happy Kindle junkie!
How do I find books
If I know and love the author and the book is available on Kindle, I will pre-order it. I don't worry too much about price.
For impulse purchases, I will buy anything I fancy under £2 (US$4), but I don't usually download free books. I prefer to pay, and I'm not a member of Kindle Unlimited, mainly because so many books are not in KU that I want to read.
I don't have a budget for books, so I buy what I want, when I want. I buy books almost every day, but then it's pretty much my only vice!
I will buy books to keep for later and I don't necessarily read everything I buy. When I'm researching something e.g. mythology, I will search in my own ebook library first to see if I have already bought something on the topic since I often buy in order to “own” books, as I did with print.
I rarely browse the overall bestseller lists as my book turnover is so fast. I definitely download samples based on cover design – I picked up Jonathan Maberry's Code Zero because I loved the cover and have spent the last month binge reading his Joe Ledger series.
I will pay more for non-fiction and will buy from unknown authors more easily if the topic grabs me. If I can learn a couple of new things per non-fiction book, I consider that worth the money.
I will often buy based on listening to author interviews on podcasts or books recommended by bloggers like Tim Ferriss. I also monitor the fantastic Brain Pickings site and get a lot of books from there. Plus, I find books on twitter through recommendations that way.
When I find things I like, I sample. That means that I download a percentage. I usually give the book 4- 5 clicks/page turns and if it hasn't grabbed me, I delete the sample. If I make it to the end of the sample, I will usually buy and continue reading. I've talked in length about the importance of sampling for authors before.
What annoys me as a reader
- Books not available as Kindle books, for example, the entire James Michener backlist, which is substantial and weighty. The Source is one of my favorite books and it's not on ebook. Seriously Random House, sort that out!
- US first releases. In a world of online marketing, staggered releases by region is just a pain and annoys readers. I will see a tweet from the author on release and then I will forget about it unless I can immediately download a sample.
- Print only launches. I generally won't buy books in print so if you don't release a Kindle version on launch, I may well have forgotten it by the time the ebook version comes out. At least include a pre-order button if you want to do print first.
- Samples that include acknowledgements, forewords, essays by someone else etc. That should all go at the back so I don't have to wade through that. Make sure your words hook me and I don't have to wade through
- Ebooks that are clearly just scanned versions of print books so they don't flow properly. Please invest in doing a specific edition for Kindle.
How I review books
I also share a lot on social media, primarily Twitter, with buy links. Plus, I buy books for others as my primary gifting.