How Do You Read?

No, I’m not asking you to teach my illiterate self how to find meaning in the written word, rather I want to know how you find yourself gobbling up the wordy goodness you love.

Do you read “real” books?  Ebooks?  A mix of both? Why?

I find myself incredibly torn these days between “real” books and eBooks. I have a Kindle, an iPhone, and an iPad, and the wireless syncing between devices verges on miraculous.

I love being able to stand in line or wait somewhere and pull up whatever novel I’m reading without worrying about carrying the book around with me. And then when I get home, the book tells me what page I read to while I was out?

We certainly are living in the future.

I love being able to read on my iPhone in bed at night because I don’t have to use a light–even a booklight–that would keep my wife awake.

And when I’m just curled up reading on the couch? The Kindle is better than a paperback because it’s more comfortable to hold. So is the iPad 2, for that matter, as long as I have it set to white text on a black background.  No more hand cramps from keeping a thick wad of pages propped open.  No, sir.

The last physical books I read for pleasure were The Hunger Games trilogy about 11 months ago when I received them as gifts. I just find myself gobbling up ebooks because of convenience. Though, I did find Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell in hardcover at my library’s used book store. It was both cheaper than the ebook and next on my to-read list.

Which again comes down to convenience, albeit a different kind.

What about y’all? How do you read these days?



By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. I never thought it would happen, but the last dozen or so books I’ve read have all been on the Kindle app on my iPad.

    For me the best part is that I can get books on my iPad instantly, I don’t have to go to the store or wait for them to be delivered from Amazon.

    Though I love physical books, I also like to keep them in pristine condition. With an eReader I can just toss it in my purse without having to worry about bending the corners or cracking the spine.

    1. I actually hate pristine books because of my tenure as an English major. We’re taught to write in our books, and I teach the same thing. A book that hasn’t been creased and colored and written in is a book that someone hasn’t loved. I have my collection of certain books I keep pristine–like my hardcover Dark Tower series–but those are separate from my beaten up reading copies.

  2. Frankly, I listen to most of my (entertainment) books these days instead of reading them. It seems to go so much better with limited time as well with a job that requires me to read/write on a computer screen all day. Listening lets me rest my eyes, lets me “read” while doing manual labor, and even when playing games that don’t need my full intellectual attention.

    When I do read, I usually read physical books though I’m trying out ebooks right now. I used to read ebooks on my phone, but that ended up being uncomfortable and I stopped after a couple of books.

    1. I started listening to audiobooks a few years ago, and I fell in love. I generally listen to a few a year as I commute, and now that Audible has an iPhone app, I can change the settings to 1.5x speed which is barely noticeable distortion, but gets me through more books than standard speed.

      It took a while to get used to reading on my iPhone, but I’ve got the settings now that work so it’s comfortable 95% of the time.

  3. I’m reading almost exclusively ebooks now. I mix and match between reading on my ipod touch and Kindle but most of the time it’s on the Kindle. You basically already stated all the reasons I love it, but ease of purchase is another huge factor. I don’t have to go to the bookstore any more, I can just buy it on my kindle and be reading within a minute.

    1. I’ve run into one issue with the ebooks that bothers me. I wanted to lend a book to a co-worker yesterday, and the first in the series is lendable, but the second isn’t. The third is, but the fourth isn’t. It’s ridiculous not to be able to share them with her. I wish lending weren’t an opt-in feature for publishers.

      1. Sharing with anyone would be cool. My wife and I get around it by using the same amazon account for two kindles. We only have to buy a book once and we can both read it simultaneously. It’s awesome.

        I know that doesn’t help you lend it to a friend, but it’s still a cool feature.

  4. I was so… reluctant to switch to digital. I love the feel of a book. I break the spine almost immediately, eliciting cringes from my husband.

    But now, I love the Kindle. JUST LOVE. The convenience is awesome. I end up reading MORE because I don’t have to find time to browse a bookstore or wait for shipping. Book shopping is something that got tossed out the window when I had a kid… thankfully, book READING is still totally possible.

  5. I’ve been reading free ebooks on my Kindle app on my HP Touchpad. It’s great for in the car at night (as long as someone else is driving). I love classics, and since most of the ones I like are in the public domain and free for the Kindle, I’ll just download those there.

    But I still prefer paper books. I would never trade my giant text of the complete works of Oscar Wilde for a digital copy. Many of the contemporary books I want to read are released for just about the same price as the Kindle edition. So I’ll spend the extra buck or so to have the paper copy.

  6. I am about 50:50 at the moment between real paper books and ebooks on my Android phone.

    I do a lot of reading on public transport to and from work. A slim paperback works because it will fit in my pocket but I struggle with hardbacks and large paperbacks. In these cases my phone is a better option because I can hold hundreds of volumes in my pocket. I have also used my phone to read in bed without disturbing my wife. My epub reader has a night mode (white text on black background) which is perfect for minimising the amount of stray light.

    When it boils down to it though getting the books I want to read at a price I can afford is more important to me than the format I read them in. I am an avid consumer of second hand and bargain books and there is no legal equivalent in the ebook world. I am not interested in piracy. I have also borrowed ebooks from my local public library (epub format) although the choice is still very small.

    I think the ebook market has a long way to go to become more user friendly. In the first instance there are at least two major formats (kindle and epub) which are not compatible and I find that neither format has every book I want to read. This as put me off from buying a proper ebook reader. At least my phone can handle both formats although it is annoying to have to use two reader programs. Region restrictions are another annoyance. Amazon for example seems to have more books in the US Kindle version than the European and I am not allowed buy US ebooks.

    Finally I think the price of ebooks is still way too high. If ebooks were €2 or €3 a piece then I would buy a lot more of them but popular titles can cost €10 or more and at that price I am inclined to look around for a paper copy.

  7. I’m loving the whole ebook phenomenon for the simple fact that I read a lot of pulp sci-fi and fantasy when I’m not reading for school. My kindle is a god sent for this because I can have my trashy novels and not have to worry about them cluttering up book shelves.

    However, I am still adamant about owning physical versions of books that I love or books that I use for my own research purposes because ebooks can be a little awkward to work with in sometimes….

  8. I am an avid reader and have almost totally switched to ebooks on my Kindle. I have a few authors I follow and still buy hard copies to add to my collection. However, I love the ease of my Kindle. I often read series and can get the next one in the series as soon as one is finished. I like the ease of having a book available at all times since it fits in my purse. I especially liked being able to read at lunch in the workplace while not advertising what I was reading at the moment. I think I’ll always buy some hard copies but I am a true convert to ebooks!

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