I’ve continued to follow ebook developments over the past few months, and I’m really curious to see how the new Sony Reader that’s coming out in December and the Barnes & Noble reader stack up against the Kindle. Both have some intriguing features. Barnes & Noble’s Nook (kind-of a lame name) has a really nice-looking dual screen. The Sony Reader Daily Edition uses the EPUB format and will also be compatible with Overdrive ebooks – how cool for libraries! However, I’ve had such a positive experience reading ebooks on my iPhone that I doubt I’ll bother investing money in a stand-alone reader. It would just be one more unnecessary item to carry around. That’s becoming increasingly true of print books as well. On an experience level, I still say I prefer print books to ebooks. But over the past several months I’ve read a lot more ebooks than print books.
Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I compared my ebook downloads with my reading history at the library. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve downloaded 30 books to my phone. Of those titles, I stopped reading one because I didn’t like it. Four are still in “to-read” status. I’m in the process of reading two right now, and I’ve finished 23.
In the same period of time, I’ve checked out 42 books from the library. Of those, I completely finished four. There were nine others (mostly parenting books), that I checked out in order to read only a particular section of interest. I got what I wanted out of the book, even though I didn’t read it cover to cover. I’ll count those as finished, too, which brings my total up to 13. The rest I started and didn’t finish.
I’ve finished about 76% of the ebooks I’ve downloaded, but only about 31% of the print books. I always check the library collection first because I like to read for free as much as possible, so there’s a slight bias there. I’m unlikely to purchase a book unless I’m sure I want to read it. However, almost all of the unfinished books on my print list are books I still want to read – the issue wasn’t that I checked out a bunch of stuff I didn’t really want, it’s just that it’s more convenient for me these days to read books on my phone so I’m a lot more likely to finish a book in that format. The comparison was revealing – I knew I was reading a lot of ebooks, but I didn’t realize the shift had been so dramatic.