Amazon Has Drastically Changed the Way I Read

Since I got my first Kindle my reading habits started to change. That was a few years ago, so the change has been very gradual. Here are some differences:

– A few years ago I might finish a book and not have another one in the pipeline. I would start watching a TV series, which would occupy my spare time for a while. The Wire was the last one, I downloaded all seasons and watched them in a couple of months. Now my Kindle is filled with unread books, so when I finish one I naturally start another one. As a result I haven’t watched TV in a couple of years. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with watching TV, it just turns out that I find reading more relaxing.

– The Kindle is not a device; it’s a platform. Besides the device itself, I use Kindle for Android, for the Mac, and even for the iPad sometimes. A great feature of the platform is that it synchronizes to the last page you’ve read on any connected device. Of course I prefer to read on the Kindle, and on a rainy day like today I may spend several hours with it in bed or the couch. If I’m at work and a meeting finishes early, I may stay in the room and continue reading a book on my laptop. When my wife goes to the bathroom at a restaurant, I can either check Twitter or read a couple of pages on the phone. As a result, I go through books much faster than I used to.

– I’m starting to buy books based on their availability on the Kindle store. Last week I was trying to choose my next book. The one I wanted the most only had a hardcover version, so I “postponed” reading it. I can’t wait for all books to have electronic versions. Obviously for some the printed medium matters, but for the vast majority (in my opinion) it doesn’t.

– I’ve begun to see printed books as deadweight, a burden to carry. I do not have a bookcase anymore, and during my last move I gave away all but a few of my printed books. It used to be very rare for me to re-read a book. It’s happening more often now that I see them on the home page of my Kindle!

– I don’t pirate books unless there’s absolutely no alternative. An ebook typically costs $5 to $15. I’m going to spend hours reading it, and I value my time highly. I also value the enjoyment I expect to get out of the book. With Amazon’s one-click delivery to my Kindle, paying for it is a no-brainer. The only reason to pirate a book is when I want to read it NOW and nobody sells an e-version. I’ll spend a couple of minutes searching for an “unofficial” e-copy. If the quality is acceptable, I’ll read it. Publishers please take note: printed books are going the way of CDs. I have bought mp3 albums a few times in the past year; I have no idea when I bought music in a physical container for the last time.

– The Kindle is so cheap that I see it as a “physical app”, just like the iPod Shuffle. I couldn’t care less about the object itself. I don’t have a case for it, and when it breaks I’ll order a new one overnight without thinking twice about it.

This “future” that we live in is a mixed bag, and this is one of the good things about it.

14 thoughts on “Amazon Has Drastically Changed the Way I Read

  1. The other reason to “pirate” a book is because of the Kindle’s DRM: http://www.defectivebydesign.org/amazon-kindle-swindleThe Kindle is just an Android device, you really shouldn’t see it as an appliance. It’s a general purpose computer and you should see it that way. Opens up a world of possibilities! :p You could toss out the iPad, netbook, iPod, etc. :DThe other points are good and I agree. The first point, I use my Android phone with Cool Reader (http://coolreader.org/e-index.htm) and when it’s loaded up with unread books, I feel like reading the next one.

  2. onmouse: My Kindle is certainly not an Android device, I think he’s talking about classic e-ink Kindles, not Kindle Fire that runs on Android.

  3. slaven: good point, I was assuming Kindle Fire, since it’s the new thing ;p still you can read epub books at the least and dump the device for something freer later on.

  4. When I buy a printed book, I can share it with my entire family. The Kindle needs to enable such sharing without having to buy a Kindle for every one in the family and not having to sign in with the same amazon account on every device that has the kindle app. May be it does, I have not checked.

  5. @KrishG: You can't share it with your entire family *at the same time* unless you buy several copies. You have to do it sequentially or take turns. How is the Kindle different?

  6. Here’s my thought. I don’t read a whole lot of “crap fiction.” I typically read the kind of books i want to reference later and would like to lend to people.If I could lend books an unlimited number of times (as i should be able to), I would never buy another hardcover again.As it is, I often end up finding a book I think I’d like to lend out, since I can only lend once ever on kindle, i buy a hardcopy used book (giving nothing to the publisher) for a few dollars used, then download an ebook copy pirated and read it on my kindle…. ticks me off that this is potentially the best thing since sliced bread and I’m fearful the model will be broken for the rest of my life due to these fools.if i could lend books i would buy books like crazy from amazon, everything from amazon, and the publishers would get something. as it is, i buy rights to the book used and then read it how i want.annoying.

  7. Speaking as someone perhaps a few miles further along this road, and as an author re the disruptions/opportunities Amz Kindle affordspros – A slew of really excellent non-name brand fiction and non-fiction authors are releasing excellent books: sample, and judge for yourself.- Speaking of samples, any sample that contains nothing but frontmatter – no real meat – just saved you money. Boycott clueless publishers.cons- Unless you’re prepared to go down the road of trying to OCR screenshots, it’s impossible to get content out of a kindle book. It’s look, but don’t touch, save, quote, share.- Amazon needs to up its game, get the new HTML5 format out, and stop treating tools for publishing books as an afterthought.

  8. I read a lot, but since I bought a Kindle, a read much more. The books are cheap, way more cheaper than a local bookstore and Amazon gives very good recommendations, I discovered authors I’ve haven’t heard before, I’m very pleased. For me the Kindle is not that cheap, because I have to pay the shipping, taxes, etc., but if it breaks, I won’t hesitate to get another.

  9. @BobWalsh — it is very easy to share content from a Kindle book. All of your highlights are accessible online at http://kindle.amazon.com/ as well as a file you can download from the Kindle itself. You can also tweet highlights directly from the Kindle, which will create a quote page for your highlight and then share it through a shortened link on Twitter.

  10. Actually you may not have to buy a new one when your kindle breaks. When my screen got scrambled, I called them it was out of warranty, they still sent me a new one of the same model, without me asking. They said it was because that should not happen.

  11. I read over a 100 books a year, some on paper, some on my eReader (nook). Points well made, the delivery platform is convenient, easy and has many other benefits (font size) for the market.Besides the pricing issues (major cause of piracy) there are very little downsides to eBooks. I don’t buy the “I like the smell/feel of books” argument because, let’s face it, paper books are not quality book any longer. They get yellow before you get home from the store.There are certainly kinks that needs to be worked out (pricing, sharing, management, etc.) but most of those are on the publisher’s side who, in my opinion, are making the same mistakes the music industry made when consumers started demanding MP3s.How did that work out for them?http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

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