The Many Ways I Get Books

I am someone who smells books – both new and used. There is a difference between them and I love them both. I love to touch books and feel the pages. (Can we talk about the dust jacket for 1Q84 and the silky paper?) I will always buy copies of books to put on my shelves, typically ones I know I will read and read again.

I’ve also become a convert to ebooks. I’ll read on my phone in a pinch but I prefer my Kindle. The blue light does keep me awake (another vote for a book in hand) but I can download anything if I need something new to read immediately.

[Side note – This does happen, as in, I realize I need something to read RIGHT THIS MINUTE and nothing I have on shelf, read or virtual, will do.]

There is a hierarchy I’ve imposed on an ebook versus a print book.

Print Book Ebook
I will reread this book. I’m not even sure if I will like this book.
I already LOVE this author and will read anything s/he publishes. Who wrote this?
I am into this series and want the next one. I don’t know if I will like this series.
Fiction Non-fiction (not usually read again)
I am convinced I will love this book. (Mind you, I may be wrong.) I don’t know if I’ll even read the entire thing. (Mind you, I may be wrong.)

It feels strange and kind of bad to admit that I use ebooks to take a chance on an author or a book. Ebooks are cheaper than print books so less of a financial commitment. I used to take a chance by simply perusing a bookstore and buying whatever looked good. Now I do that with ebooks and feel better about the savings. I will then buy a print book if it needs to be on my shelf. Like The Martian.

Quick sidebar.

EVERYONE GO READ THE MARTIAN BY ANDY WEIR! Oh, and WOOL. GO READ WOOL BY HUGH HOWEY AND ALL THE BOOKS IN THE SILO SERIES!!

And we’re back.

A while ago I learned about my library’s ebook lending website and that let me take more chances for free. I swear I’m not a cheapskate. I like libraries and I like authors but I can’t support both at the same time. The one drawback, well, two drawbacks are: limited ebooks available and the potential waitlist.

The library waitlist can be fun. I put in a reservation and then weeks/months later I get an email that a book is ready to be downloaded. It’s like a present.

However, the waitlist doesn’t help me in my urgent time of need for a BOOK RIGHT NOW. I go to my Kindle for that. Amazon’s got them all.

Then I decided to give Kindle Unlimited a try. One month in and I like it. There are certainly limitations – not every author nor every book is included so I still need to purchase some ebooks. However I have read books and authors I may never have stumbled upon, for better or for worse, if I’m being honest. In the past month I have read:

  • The Paper Magician Trilogy by Charlie N. Holmberg – all three books
  • Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
  • Beacon 23: Parts One and Two by Hugh Howey
  • The Coven: Book One by Chrissy Lessey
  • The Harlow Hoyden: Book One by Lynn Messina

I don’t think any of the books listed above are anything that I would read again but they suited me at the time and kept me engaged enough to read through to the end. (Although I can never forget the fact that authors are paid based on pages read with Kindle Unlimited so it would have to be pretty bad storytelling for me to give something up. And I’m someone who will drop a boring book like a bad habit.)

It’s an interesting dilemma sometimes to decide if a book will be purchased as print or ebook, or not purchased at all but borrowed. I’m certainly happy with the gluttony of options. But I still know that when the final book in the Pink Carnation series comes out on August 4th, I’ll be in a bookstore picking up my print copy to read and shelve next to the other eleven. The lure of the print book will never die.

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