Writing on his personal blog, Hyatt says that he is setting ebooks aside for 2016, in part because ebooks don’t fit with his reading style. Hyatt is a non-fiction author, and from his points about note-taking and retention I think he is also a non-fiction reader as well.
He says he likes to take notes in the books he reads, and that he has trouble remembering what he reads or quickly flipping through an ebook to find what he’s looking for. He has a point in that ebooks don’t work well for non-fiction, but the part that really struck me was the first section of the post:
My goal for 2015 was to read twenty-six books. I ended up only finishing twelve. Worse, I actually bought 106 new books.
I realize I can’t blame my failure to read more all on ebooks, and I don’t want to. But I do think they were a contributing factor. Here’s why, and for me these eight reasons are why I’m going back to physical books this year.
1. Ebooks Are out of Sight and out of Mind
Physical books occupy physical space. Wherever you keep them—the shelf, the nightstand, the bathroom—it’s hard to avoid them.
It was easy to buy nearly 90 percent more books than I read because I forgot what I’d already had in the hopper. A physical book has a way of staring back at you. My ebook library is almost entirely out of view.
Been there, done that.
No matter which side of the debate you’re on, I’m sure you have had a similar experience with buying ebooks that you’ve never read. That matches with my reading habits, and it is also why I have said that, as a rule, ebook purchases exceed consumption.
For example, I tend to buy every ebook bundle from Humble Bundle and StoryBundle, and then chuck most of the ebooks into calibre unread. I also have a tendency to get all of the free Kindle First books Amazon gives away each month (even though I’ve never read any of them) and I usually get the Baen Webscription bundles.
That’s about fifteen to twenty books a month that I am buying and for the most part not reading. Of course, I don’t see a problem with that, but I also see how it proves Hyatt’s point that ebooks lack the physicality and immediacy of paper books. (It also makes me really glad I can simply toss the ebooks into calibre and let it keep track.)
But is that actually a problem with ebooks? I don’t think so. Do you?
Speaking of out of site and out of mind, how many ebooks do you think you’re buying and not reading?