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.