Daily Archives: October 3, 2012

e-books and hard copy books: the difference between buying and reading

In case many ppl are simultaneously thirsty, a wall of drinking fountains.

I buy a greater number of books on my Kindle, but READ a larger percentage of purchased hardcopy books.

In terms of concrete numbers:
2012: 58 e-books purchased (11 read)
2011: 49 e-books purchased (10 read)

In contrast, I bought about 10 hardcopy books each year (not counting cookbooks), and read almost all of them.

My book buying habits bode well for the book industry if indeed they reflect a larger trend–buying an e-book can be done at any time of day, with nearly-instant gratification. When I was reading the Fifty Shades of Grey and Hunger Games trilogies, I found myself buying and downloading the successive books at three o’clock in the morning. And then barreling forward with my reading.

Or if I hear about a good book during conversation or while reading an author interview. Bam. Downloaded again.

So when is it that I buy a hardcopy? When the book isn’t available as an e-book (like Octavia Butler or many of Chuck Palahniuk’s books). Or as a collectible. When the writer is a friend. Or I want the book signed. I will also buy both an e-book and hardcover copy of a book if I want the book accessible to me while traveling and/or the hardcover gets signed and it becomes precious (e.g., when Toni Morrison signed my hardcover copy of Home).

Maybe the books I buy in hardcopy are the reason I read more hardcopy books, you think. That they’re my friends’ books. Or an author whose writing I’m already familiar and already love.

But inevitably for me, it’s the tactile sensation of reading. Turning an actual page. Hearing the page turn.

The Kindle has its various attractions for me–the aforementinoed instant gratification, and the fact that I can carry an entire library with me on a plane.

I have friends who say they read more on Kindle (and anecdotally, I’ve found these friends are mostly software engineers (including my husband) who might be more attuned to reading a screen)–but for the most part my social network says they too read more hard copy books.

Do you buy more books on Kindle/as e-books? Or as hardcopy books? Why? And which format do you find more readable?


Filed under Reading



I am not sure why, when I was dealing with infertility for 13 years, so many mothers either stayed silent or looked at with me pity and said I was missing out on the Greatest Thing Ever. They rarely shared with me motherhood hardships. I had to figure out the upside of being childless, and embrace a life without a child.

And now that I am nearly 7 months pregnant, I am not sure why so many mothers congratulate me and then share all these AWFUL things (sleepless nights, subjugation of personal dreams, no time to write, no time to groom, your vajayjay will no longer be the same, etc.,) about motherhood.

Couldn’t they have switched the juxtaposition? Why not tell me how hard motherhood is, when I couldn’t be a mother? And tell me about motherhood’s joys when I’m pregnant?

And either way, I’m going to have to deal with my life. I’m going to have to figure it out. Why not at least be kind?

I am going hysterical with panic about writing and motherhood.

I went to the NYPL last night, where I heard Cheryl Strayed talk about WILD, The Dear Sugar column, and mostly about her writing life.

A large chunk of her talk focused on “writing like a motherfucker, during which Cheryl discussed “motherfuckertude.”

And whodathunkit: in reviewing her words last night, they are the VERY things I need to hear with regard to this whole panic about motherhood and writing.

Here are a handful of quotes from Cheryl Strayed last night:

“Being a motherfucker is a way of life, really. Having strength instead of fragility. And leaning hard into work rather than anxiety.”

“I actually think true motherfuckerhood has to do with humility, doing the work. Resilience and faith, being a warrior.”

“Being a motherfucker is about digging really deep. About going beneath the surface to find the truest thing.”

And there you have it. I’ve gotta be a motherfucker about my writing. I feel better now. Juxtaposition wins–I thank my good friend Nova for inviting me to the talk last night. Her kindness and generosity juxtaposed with my panic. Cheryl Strayed’s kindness and wisdom juxtaposed with my panic. It can overcome so much.

I’ve been a motherfucker before. I can be a motherfucker again.


Filed under Life, Pregnancy, The Personal