Reading Habits: Switching Between Books And E-Books

One of the silver linings I found during this time of great upheaval and uncertainty is my easy access to a variety of reading material. Thanks to a small, but sizable pile of books I have in my unread pile, I have been ticking off books as read in the last few months. After discovering an Amazon Prime membership also entitles me to add a maximum of 10 e-books from their collection, mostly classics and older books, to load onto my iPad through the Kindle app for free, this hungry reader won’t be left wanting for books. As I devoured book after book, a curious pattern began to emerge—the need to swap the form my book took.

I’ve always been a bit of a purist when it comes to my books. I want to be able to hold a book in my hand. I love how the smell of the pages instantly teases my nose with the promise of a new adventure, or hearing the flutter of a page as I turn it with my own hand. My adoration for a physical book had me denouncing the proliferation of e-books, e-readers, and tablets for a long time.

Eventually, I came around to the convenience and streamlined experience reading digitally offered book lovers. My resolve against e-books may have softened over the years, but this doesn’t mean I started favoring one type over the other. What it meant was figuring out a way to use either format interchangeably to suit my personal needs.

When I finished reading a hardcover book I had bought last year, I decided my next book would be one of the ones stored on my iPad. I had a few unread e-books sitting on my device for a while. I thought it was the perfect time to devote some of my attention to this other way of reading I’ve only just decided to embrace. As soon as I finished the e-book of my choice on my iPad, I immediately went back to another hardcover book I had.

What I realized was I formed a habit of switching between physical and electronic books. If I spend so much time on one type, I already want to go back to the other one. This pendulum swing continued until it became a routine I barely noticed.

There were some things I missed that one format didn’t have. If I spent time with an e-book, I already missed the act of turning a page. If all my reading has been done on a paperback novel, I’m already longing for the nifty feature of my tablet telling me I have X amount of pages left of a chapter. The pros and cons both types have offered, after experiencing them firsthand myself, made me realize there’s no need to choose one over the other. I can have both and savor my stories in whatever way I feel like it. Or at least until I’ve read all the books and e-books on my unread pile.

Do you find yourself switching between books and e-books when you read? Or do you stick to one format only?


9 thoughts on “Reading Habits: Switching Between Books And E-Books

  1. Honestly I always read normal books. Not a fan of E-books. I only read in that format when it’s absolutely necessary, but I just prefer books themselves. Call me oldfashioned, but I just love the look and feel of normal books 😊

    1. Exactly! Owning physical books is getting a little less practical for me these days because of space problems, but I can’t resist owning one or two more if it’s something I know I want to hold in my hands.

  2. For me it’s either normal books or audiobooks, which are great for making time more productive when you have to do something tedious and can’t actually read to pass the time. There were a few massive novels and histories I never would have gotten through if it hadn’t been for the long work commutes I used to have. That’s the only benefit to living in a big city with horrible traffic. When the virus is finally done, I’ll have to stock up again.

    1. I only got into audio books recently, and I agree. Some books are easily digestible when you have a good narrator to read it to you vs. you reading it yourself. I’ve also got a few audio books in my to listen list!

  3. I’ve consumed digital content almost exclusively for around 5-7 years now. Living in a cramped apartment setting gave me little choice in the matter, as surrounding myself with physical media resulted in an uncomfortably cluttered and chaotic feeling space. I kept material copies of only the things that mattered most to me, and after some organizing I was able to reclaim my sanity. For books, I used to use my iPad but I’ve learned that a Kindle suits my needs better. The “texture” of the Kindle’s screen makes the digital book reading experience feel a little more tangible.

    1. I had to scale back some physical book purchases over the years because of space issues or simply wanting to focus on what I already had. While I still prefer reading a physical copy over e-books, e-books are useful in not adding to the clutter in your home space. It’s also a lot easier to carry on the go vs. lugging big bulky books with you.

  4. I’m 99% eBook reader. If I feel I really special connection to a book, I’ll buy the physical version to display on a shelf. The problem is I don’t have enough space for physical copies of everything. My video game collection takes up all my space, haha.

    Physical copies would be better for my eyes though. I spend far too much time staring at screens.

    1. Haha, yeah, I think that’s probably one of the main reasons why some people have switched over to digital copies. Not enough space! That’s probably another reason why I like to switch between reading a physical book and e-book. I’m also spending too much time looking at a screen almost every day. Reading the physical copy is a welcome break from the screen time.

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