Sunday Salon: What I’m learning from using my e-reader

Good morning! Right now the sun is rising and I’m at my desk with a cup of coffee and music playing in the background. The kids are awake but in their bedrooms somewhere, so I have the front of the house to myself. *sigh* Paradise.

A little more than a week ago, I bought a Kobo e-reader. Borders had it on sale for less than $100 and I couldn’t pass it up. I wasn’t a huge fan of e-readers before I bought it but being able to read e-galleys from NetGalley on something else besides my desktop pushed me to do it. Yes, you just heard right. I bought an e-reader to read free books. NetGalley offers a ton of great e-galleys for bloggers and sitting at my desktop to read them when the last thing I want to be is a slave to my computer, made me look into an e-reader.

I love Edison. (I may change its name later.) Having an e-reader made me realize that in the past week some of my reading and buying habits are starting to change.  Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. I’m still a cheapskate. Being a college student and a single mom with a house filled with unread books, I know I don’t need to buy any more books. I try my best to buy only books I know I’ll read in the next month or want to add to my permanent collection. With Edison, I’m able to buy slightly more books since e-books are cheaper and there are no shipping costs. So far I’ve bought the short story “Foster” by Claire Keegan, Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff, and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
  2. I’m almost tricked into thinking that having an e-reader is more convenient than a physical book. It’s nice not to haul around the printed version of The Warmth of Other Suns, which is almost 600 pages, wherever I go. But because Edison doesn’t have a highlighting feature, wherever I take it, I also have to take my journal to take notes. With a physical book I can easily mark a passage with a pen or post-it.
  3. I’m reading more short stories, essays, poetry, and non-fiction. Last year I rarely read anything that wasn’t fiction. I’m finding that e-readers are very friendly to these genres. Instead of hauling around a collection, I have it on my e-reader. When I’m in the mood to read something in a small amount of time, short pieces are perfect for just that. Non-fiction books are so expensive nowadays and my library can’t buy everything that I want to read. Plus I can’t afford to buy everything that they can’t buy. Instead of spending $17-30 on a non-fiction book, I can spend $9-12 on the e-reader version. If I were able to buy short stories and essays in printed singles instead of in a collection, I think I would read them more.
  4. Having an e-reader hasn’t stopped me from buying physical books. Yesterday when my small order of books arrived through the mail, I dropped everything to look at them. There’s nothing like the smell or sight of a new book. There’s one medium that e-readers will never be helpful for: graphic novels. As a huge graphic novel reader, e-readers aren’t right for this formatting of books. There’s something about being able to look at an illustration up close that you can’t do on e-readers right now.
  5. Wanting the printed version of a book. Even though I’m reading The Warmth of Other Suns on my e-reader, I’m enjoying so much that I already know I’ll probably buy the printed version of it once it’s in paperback. What does that mean that certain books are okay as e-books but not as printed ones?
  6. E-readers are fragile. I’m pretty rough on electronics. I’ve been known to drop mp3 players on sidewalks or in bath tubs. An iPod wouldn’t last a week in my possession. So I’m well aware how easy it is for me to damage my e-reader. Already I’ve had a few close calls when I leaned on it with my elbow. With a book I don’t worry about getting it dirty or dropping it in the bathtub. It’s still okay.

My package of books

So that’s some of the things I’ve noticed. If you own an e-reader,  have you noticed a change in your reading or purchasing habits?


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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37 Responses to Sunday Salon: What I’m learning from using my e-reader

  1. Ash says:

    You’re so right about not giving up buying physical books. I still buy as many physical books as I did before I got an ereader and most of my reading is physical copies of books. One of my favorite stories about having an ereader is that last semester I needed to read a book for a paper I was writing but none of the local bookstores had it and neither did the library so I got the ebook version and started reading it right away. That’s convenience.

  2. bookmagic says:

    One other thing I like about the ereader is the sample feature. I’ve been excited about books that I then get, start reading and realize that the writing is sub-par. The samples save me time and money. Plus I only buy an ebook as I am going to read it, unlike physical books which I might load up on and then not get to them for months (years even)

  3. I think I’ve bought more books since getting my eReader! I think that is down to the fact I do make use of netgalley a fair bit, and so figure I’m allowed to buy books I can’t get on there!

  4. Anastasia says:

    Aw, that sucks the Kobo doesn’t have a highlighting feature. Good price, though.

    For myself, I’ve owned my Kindle now for a little over four months, but I don’t think my buying habits have changed overly much. I’m purposefully trying to only buy ebooks this year, whereas before I’d just buy whatever was cheaper. I have been hoarding a lot of free/public domain books, though– it lets me feel like I just went on a huge shopping spree but I don’t have to worry about the money! So, yay. 😀

  5. Literary Feline says:

    I really like my e-reader but haven’t used it all that much. I love the idea of using it in conjunction with NetGalley, but since I’m not committing to anymore review books at the moment, that option is kind of out for the time being.

    My buying habits have changed but not so much because of the e-reader. It has to do with other things–like an upcoming move and a baby on the way. Kind of puts a damper on buying too many new books. Luckily, I have a house full of books to keep me busy for quite some time. I’m sure my shelves and floor are greatly appreciative of the reprieve. LOL

  6. Absolutely, the reason that I got an e-reader (Nook in my case) was free ebooks…and actually that’s why I chose the Nook was because of its ability to download free e-books from Google eBooks and also borrowing from the library. With the Kindle, those possibilities aren’t there — at least not yet.

  7. I need to use my e-reader more. I find it more interesting to carry a physical book around. So many books I read are not available as e-books, sadly.

    And I must tell you that I am very happy that you are loving Warmth. I am crazy about that book.

  8. Great post! I enjoy my ereader for the same reasons and I do think about buying the physical book if I really enjoyed the ebook. NetGalley is a grate reason for a blogger to purchase an ereader! I have read quite a few great books from there, and I do not like reading on my computer.

    There is a blog called “Books on the Knob”,(if you do a google search it should pop up) that lists free book offers from mostly Sony, B&N, and Amazon, but sometimes Kobo. Sometimes there are great books from a publisher trying to get us readers interested in the author.

    I also bought myself a Philadelphia Library card to check out ebooks for my Sony, but these are epub books and should work on your Kobo. The card is $15 a year.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing! And enjoy your ereader!

  9. vivienne says:

    I just included the Net Galley in my post for Tuesday. It has some great books on it. I haven’t got an ereader yet. Ho hum.

  10. Care says:

    As much as I have enjoyed the experience of reading the books I have with my ereader, I FORGET that I have books on it (I use my iPad). So I still get pulled to my next paper book when I’m ready for my next read.
    I do think it is awesome to read chunksters on – I’m not distracted by the heft nor how far I have yet to go by where my book mark is placed.

  11. A cover will protect wee, fragile Edison from many possible terrors and perils. A friend of mine is considering getting a Kobo (it’s more convenient here in Canada than a Nook, which is what I have), and she told me that you can get a Moleskine cover for it. Pretty tempting.

  12. Teresa says:

    Since I’ve only owned my Sony Touch for two days, I haven’t had time to figure out how I like reading on it, but I don’t think it’ll stop me from getting physical books–I’ll probably just be choosier about the physical books I do get. I do like your thought about short stories. I downloaded several free collections from Project Gutenberg, thinking they might be fun to dip into. I am a little worried about the possibility of careless damage. I lost one iPod to a disastrous water spill (may as well have dunked the thing in water).

  13. Jenny says:

    I’m petrified I’d lose or break my e-reader if I bought one. They look so pretty and shiny, but like you say, one good elbow lean and there go all your books. I am very sad if I ruin a book by accident, but it’s just one book and, in most cases, not difficult to replace.

  14. I don’t think my reading has changed too much since I got the ereader, but I don’t really use it that much. I want to use it more — and have quite a stock of free or cheap books on it, since I’m a cheapskate too — but tend to gravitate towards my print books most of the time still. I’m hoping once I get my print TBR pile down a bit, the ereader will get more attention.

  15. Erin says:

    Having my Sony Reader has caused me to notice the same things you have! Except for the last one…I’m the opposite of rough with my electronics, often treating them far more carefully than they probably need to be treated.

    Between NetGalley and Project Gutenberg, I may end up never buying an eBook!

  16. Gavin says:

    I don’t know, I just don’t know. Friends who have them love them but I have managed to stay away. There is nothing wrong with being a cheapskate, I know just what you mean about having a house filled with book and not wanting to spend money on more.
    I do like the idea of having easy access to short stories and essays, that makes the idea of an e-reader sound even more interesting. Have a great week!

  17. bermudaonion says:

    I do own an e-Reader but rarely use it, so it hasn’t changed my habits at all.

  18. Wallace says:

    How interesting that it doesn’t have a highlighter. I bet they will eventually add one in an update (which you will be able to download). I need to figure out how to put netgalley books on my Nook… I’m sure it’s easy, but for some reason I am intimidated.

  19. Memory says:

    I use my iPod Touch as an e-reader, and I find that I’m actually less likely to purchase e-books. I’ve bought a few here and there, but only very cheap ones or things I desperately wanted to read right away.

    I love the idea of e-reading electronic galleys and free e-books from publisher or author promotions, and I’ve loaded many out-of-copyright works, but I can’t quite make myself spend money on e-books. I only keep things I love enough to reread, and most books don’t make the cut. I’d rather have some way to pass my unwanted titles along to others, and e-reading doesn’t allow me to legally do so.

    This has made me reluctant to buy a dedicated e-reader, too. They’re so pretty, but I don’t know if I’d purchase enough to make it worth my while. Maybe in a couple of years, if the price drops dramatically.

  20. No highlighting? Lame! I love the highlighting feature on my Kindle as use it more than most features. I love that I can access my highlights online or with my Kindle.

    I’m glad you got an e-reader and are enjoying it! I much prefer it to print books and only still read print books because of price (or opportunity in the form of ARCs). I gave up buying print books years ago and now only buy books for my Kindle, read library books and read galleys.

  21. Shonda says:

    I love my Kindle. Even more than I thought I would. I like that I can download a sample chapter for a book. I have a case with the light included and it’s perfect for late night reading in bed. Like you, I still enjoy reading print books. Despite my love for my Kindle, I still enjoy going to the library. I can NOT see myself giving up my weekly library trips! And book browsing at Borders and B&N is different than browsing the Kindle Store from my Kindle! I don’t think one has to choose between ebooks and print books. Both can live comfortably with each other.

  22. Frances says:

    I just cannot get excited about my e-reader options yet. Just love the physical book, and do not care that much about the free e-books because my tbr pile will keep me warm for ages. I do read newspapers and magazines electronically though. The difference? Not sure. Could just be me being stubborn.

  23. LOVE the name of your e -reader. Mine is SNOOKIE (its a NOOK). I have not had mine long enough or messed with it enough to know what i think of it. I have put books on it – but have not had a lot of time to read off of it or see what else it can do.

  24. Bree says:

    Congratulations on your new purchase. I considered same purchase for a hot second before deciding it was just a fad feeling of wanting it. I know I really wouldn’t use it at this point in my life. I certainly hope it does help you read more.

  25. Betty McB says:

    An ereader is great when going out of the country! The first 2 weeks of 2011 I was in Israel and Jordan. Didn’t have to carry a pile of books in my suitcase, the iPad Kindle app was enough! When I had to wait for the group for 1 1/2 hours I started a new book on my iPhone Kindle app. Time flew.
    Downloading the Border”s app will get you a free cup coffee there.

    I also love my Bible in the ereader, someone mentions a book, chapter, verse and I find it while others are still flipping the pages for the book.

  26. Alex Baugh says:

    I also have an ereader, but I don’t use it nearly enough. I have used it for library books, but I have only bought two books for it. I think I will reread your post and maybe become a better ereader user.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  27. I actually find myself to be more of an impulsive book buyer now that I have my Nook. The 3G connection makes it easy to download books from wherever & whenever I want. That said, I do still buy just as many print books, much to my husband’s dismay!

  28. zibilee says:

    I have been using my e-reader more lately, but I still haven’t gotten totally used to it yet. I still buy paper books, and I think I always will, but the e-reader is so convenient on trips or at the doctors office. I am glad to hear that you are liking yours and hope that it continues to grow on you!

  29. Andi says:

    Surprisingly, I’ve noticed I actually don’t miss owning a hard copy of the book in most cases. This makes me wonder how on earth I amassed so many books if I don’t so much mind not having a pretty version sitting on my shelves. lol

    I do wish I could view graphic novels on them, but I use Chuck’s iPad for that! 😀

    Glad you’re enjoying Edison!

  30. Ronnica says:

    I love my Nook, and yes, I mostly read free books on it (from the library and from Netgalley). I have a good cover, too, so that allows me to write down quotes (though the Nook does have a highlighting feature when pressed).

  31. iliana says:

    Oh you got one! I’m really wanting an eReader and could probably justify getting one soon but I have to say I don’t know which to get. I think I need to do some serious thinking and just take the plunge. I keep hearing a lot of good things about netgalley too. Congrats on your Kobo!

  32. Kailana says:

    Yeah, I keep reading ebooks and thinking I will probably buy the paper edition eventually, too. And with my gift cards from Christmas I only bought 2 ebooks and the rest were paper backs… I like reading on my eReader, but it just isn’t the same…

  33. Molly says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you are enjoying your ereader. I too tend to use my Kindle for the public domain books (or those that are occasionally offered for free via Amazon). I enjoy have the classics available to me at all times and only weighing in at less than two pounds (some of Dickens novels weigh more than that for just one book!)

  34. Beth F says:

    My Nook (not color version) has highlighting and bookmarking, which I really like, but you have to tap a few buttons to get there, so it’s not as convenient as placing a sticky flag next to a great passage.

    I don’t use my eReader a lot, but I do like to instantly buy books and I like taking it on trips. And there is Net Gallery too.

  35. Kathleen says:

    I’m so happy to hear that you like your eReader. I love my Kindle. It is great for when I travel and want to carry lots of books but can’t have them all in my suitcase or carry on bag. I notice that I seem to read faster on the Kindle (not sure why). And I also know that I prefer a “regular” book to those that I read on the Kindle!

  36. Edi says:

    I have to remind myself to buy books in ebook format and I have to then remember to read them. I just have too many print books. I’m attempting to borrow an ebook from the library, I’ll see how well that works. I think I’d feel better if I felt that I could or would ever read up some of my print books.

  37. Lydia says:

    I haven’t ventured into e-reader territory, mainly because I’m a little stubborn and too attached to physical books. They are, however, quite handy for traveling, I’m told! You’ll be able to bring a whole library with you on vacation!

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