Digital books: Reducing physical clutter and overtaking the market

On September 10, The Economist published the article “Great digital expectations” discussing the consumer shift from print to digital books:

In the first five months of this year sales of consumer e-books in America overtook those from adult hardback books. Just a year earlier hardbacks had been worth more than three times as much as e-books, according to the Association of American Publishers. Amazon now sells more copies of e-books than paper books.

As someone who reads an average of three books a week, I have embraced digital books and advocate their use for numerous uncluttered reasons. First, my library allows me to check out digital books for free using their Overdrive service. (Yours probably does, too.) Not all digital books are available this way, but I still use this service a great deal for research and books I wouldn’t usually buy. And, I can download the books at home and skip the drive to the library. Second, digital books are usually less expensive than print books because you’re only paying for the content not the paper and binding and ink. This keeps more money in my wallet, which I like, and saves a few trees (although the components in my digital book reader probably aren’t super environmentally friendly). Third, digital books keep physical books from cluttering up and overwhelming my bookshelf. I love having books in the house, especially children’s books for my son to read, but my house is a home, not a library. I don’t need all books on display. Fourth, and this is my favorite benefit, my digital reader weighs the same if I choose to carry one book or three dozen books with me at a time. I can read whatever book fits my mood, without having to lug around multiple physical books in a bag.

That being said, I still acquire a lot of books in print. Any book that isn’t available in digital form that I want to read, travel books, children’s books, and cookbooks still end up in my house. These come in on a one-in-one-out basis, however, as I am out of bookshelf space.

Speaking of bookshelves, not only are publishers responding to consumers desiring digital books, but so are bookshelf manufacturers:

Next month IKEA will introduce a new, deeper version of its ubiquitous “BILLY” bookcase. The flat-pack furniture giant is already promoting glass doors for its bookshelves. The firm reckons customers will increasingly use them for ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome—anything, that is, except books that are actually read.

As a way to curb book clutter, have you made the switch (or a partial switch) to digital books? Could a digital book reader help you to get an out-of-control book collection down to a more meaningful size? As someone who consumes a ridiculous number of books a year, digital books have certainly saved space in my home and office, as well as kept some money in my pocketbook. (FYI: I primarily use a Kindle, but for library downloads I use my laptop since they’re usually research related.) Are you surprised to learn that Amazon sells more digital books than print books? What might be keeping you from making the switch to a digital reader?

Check out the full article.

86 Comments for “Digital books: Reducing physical clutter and overtaking the market”

  1. posted by Vikki on

    I have not made the switch to e-books yet. I haven’t found the right reader yet plus I have a TBR to the sky paper books that I haven’t read.

    I may as of yet make the switch, but I haven’t done it yet. Still, I don’t consider books clutter, but if I don’t love a book or think that I will re-read it, I don’t keep it. I donate it to my library for their quarterly book sale. Being surrounded by books increases my happiness level.

  2. posted by Elizabeth Finney on

    I love love love the kindle and the ability to carry multiple books around with me. I acknowledge the downside, which is the battery life, although I keep wifi turned off as much as possible. For those of us who PANIC if we have nothing to read, the kindle is a GODSEND. I do buy children’s books and there are clearly books that won’t work on the kindle (ones with beautiful pictures, for instance). My husband is getting an iPad for Christmas, and the question then becomes: if you have access to the iPad, does that wipe out another category of books that you buy?

  3. posted by Availle on

    Digital Rights Management (DRM) is what keeping me from getting any ebook reader. Especially since I heard that amazon can delete any book from your kindle, even if you legally purchased it.

    To curb book clutter (800 books at the moment, and still can’t resist), I started to check the library first whenever I want to read anything. As I keep a list of “books to read” to which I add at any time, I can check the library for those whenever I get there.

    I also have a “books to buy” list, once I read something I really want to own myself. I only look at this one ever so often, and mostly a book on there gets much less appealing over time, so I end up not buying them after all.

  4. posted by Availle on

    Oh, I forgot: I have also been “reading” lots of audiobooks lately. has a large (DRM-) free catalog, so all of my audiobooks come from there.

  5. posted by Megan on

    I use my Nook e-reader sporadically, and only for reading shorter fiction. I am a very visually oriented person and like to flip back to sections in a book to reference key points, or to pick out something for further research – and it’s very difficult to do that with an e-reader. That’s why I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully switch. There’s just something about physically experiencing a book that goes beyond the words involved.

  6. posted by heather on

    Digital books and e-readers were a hot topic in my Master of Publishing courses this past year. Some considerations:

    • Major publishers (most notably HarperCollins) are starting to require libraries to re-purchase books after 26 loans to patrons. This is a major problem for budget-conscious libraries. Physical books can be in circulation for decades after the library purchases them for one low price.
    • Currently, the cost of production of most ebooks is paid for by physical book sales. If/when there is a tipping point, either expect a rash of publishers going out of business and/or ebook prices to substantially increase.
    • Environmental impact: books can be passed around for years, resold in the (huge) used market, etc.. Tech hardware is usually replaced every few years for the newest/biggest/fastest. At worst, paper takes about five years to biodegrade, and e-readers…not so much.

    I love technology, but I dislike ereaders very much. I’m very lucky to live in a city with both a magnificent library *and* a huge, top-notch independent bookstore. Unless one of those factors change anytime soon, I will continue either using the library and donating to them regularly, and mindfully purchasing from the bookstore.

  7. posted by Bailey on

    I have the Kindle app on my iTouch and that’s as far as I’m going in the next year or so. Yes, the screen is small but it still is great for reading when I have unexpected time, or on the plane, or in the middle of the night.
    The e-books I’ve purchased are almost as costly as physical books, and I cannot share them with my husband or best friend, as I like to do. Book lovers tend to be enthusiastic sharers of books!
    Also, my library has not yet settled on a format for electronic lending, so it is too soon to choose a piece of hardware that would be easiest for this purpose.

  8. posted by Anna N. on

    The are many reasons I haven’t – and won’t – “make the switch” to only reading ebooks. Many books I read aren’t available in ebook format. I enjoy reading paper books. I like being able to lend my books to friends (and “kindle lets you lend books” is not an answer to that. I don’t have – or want – a kindle and most of my friends don’t have ereaders of any kind). I’m not going to read my ereader in the bath. And so on and so forth.

    I also like actually owning my books.

    All that said, I don’t consider ebooks and paper books mutually exclusive. I have an ereader that I use for books I’m not interested in rereading, for books that are too big to comfortably read on paper, and for travel (I do have some duplicates between my ebooks and my paper books). I can certainly see the usefulness of it in many situations. But I don’t think it’s better and I think it’s shortsighted to dismiss paper books entirely.

  9. posted by Liz on

    I love my Kobo! I was skeptical at first, as I love books, and I love reading, and I love the feel of a book, the way it gets worn, all that stuff.

    Then I got my Kobo… I will never go back! I love reading on it… It’s light, I can adjust the text font and size the way I want it, I can have a ton of books with me wherever I go. My favourite thing to do is to fall asleep while reading… When the Kobo hits me in the face as I fall asleep, it hurts much less than the 1000+ page tome of A Game of Thrones would in hardcover!

    Plus, my local library as started digital lending. Free books!

    To Availle’s comments about DRM… I only know how it works for Kobo, which uses ePub files, but I download a copy of the book to my computer’s hard drive, then load it onto my Kobo. There is no way that Amazon or anyone else could take that download away from me, so I don’t understand your misgivings on that front. Also, I have a piece of software called Calibre that I use for all my ebook management… It can convert between file types, so I could have the same file as ePub on my Kobo, as PDF on my computer, and other formats for Kindle or Nook if I wanted.

  10. posted by Tiffany on

    My husband and I are huge book hoarders. We were both raised by readers (my dad’s library is prodigious for the amount of space he has for it) and both grew up regarding books as in a special category of “automatically not clutter” But look, there’s a physical limit to the number of books one’s dwelling can accommodate. So we switched to ebooks.

    Upon getting our e-readers, I purged our bookshelves of anything that could be replaced electronically for less than about $7-8. (With a few exceptions: series we’re collecting, signed or inscribed books, books with sentimental value attached to the physical object, that sort of thing). We had also previously purged our “showoff” books. You know- the books you may even have read once, for school or something, but you kept them around more for how smart they made you look, not for any intention of actually reading them again. (No, our exceptions may not work for you, but they work for us and you should develop your own, Unclutterati.)

    My husband and I share an Amazon account specifically set up for ebooks because our tastes overlap heavily and we wanted to be able to share. It works pretty well, and we’ve got 150+ books in our library- some of them were free or cheap, since publishers will often make volume 1 of a series free in hopes of increasing sales of the rest, plus public domain works are available for a pittance. (There would be more, except that once I get into a book I get so absorbed that I will literally sit in the same place for 8 hours to finish, so I have to reduce my book intake for the sake of my job/social life/home.) Some of them are actually digital versions of books we own in paper copy, which I freely admit we did for the sheer convenience of it, not because it makes any financial sense.

    We rarely buy paper books anymore- sometimes I’ll buy reference books or cookbooks that way, but I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, digital versions are searchable, which is incredibly handy. On the other hand, sometimes the index helps you refine your question in a way that a search box can’t, and paper still wins out over digital for flipping back and forth. (Though this could change with better digital interfaces in the future.)

  11. posted by cattlekid on

    I have a Nook Color and love it to death. I have kidney dialysis treatments 3x per week, 4 hours at a crack. Being able to keep four or five books in rotation on the Nook definitely helps keep boredom at bay and heck, sometimes I even learn something. 🙂 I also get my daily newspaper delivered to the Nook Color for a much more reasonable cost than delivery of the print edition.

    I also appreciate being able to download books from the library as well as being able to read certain books for free at Barnes & Noble stores, esp. since there is one across the street from my office.

  12. posted by Kim on

    I have moved more into the ebook realm, reading books on my HTC Desire S Android smartphone.

    Part of the reason for switching over was that I didn’t want to lug a book around with me in my bag to work. Not only do many of the fantasy books I favour weight a tonne, they also get dented and dogeared being carried across London day in and day out. There aren’t many second hand bookshops near me and so its trawl of charity shops for a bargain.

    I don’t borrow many books from friends or others and the bookcase at home has mostly books that we’ve been given for bdays/christmases, or IT books from courses. I also favour books to help me learn something like html coding (Head First)or harmonica (for dummies).

    I would love to have a good (and big) tablet set up for my recipe books though, something with a wipe clean screen I can prop up in the kitchen. If only there was the software out there so I could scan in and browse all of my recipe books and random scraps – you know the ones your mum or auntie wrote for you years ago and you’re still using or know off by heart. Even better if this app could be used to create menus so the recipes I want are to hand. It could help revolutionise shopping lists too that you could take to the store in your smartphone. I find my recipe books do wear out being in the kitchen and opened/closed so many times to choose and use recipes. Until I can have the set up I want, it’ll be paper in the kitchen all the way.

  13. posted by K on

    The #1 factor in my decision NOT to get an electronic reader is my concern for the health of my eyesight. I look at a computer screen all day, I look at my cell phone and we watch television in our home. Staring at yet another electronic screen does not appeal to me, especially not knowing the damage that could result. I am very concerned about the amount of time that young children spend in front of video devices and adding yet another to our lives makes me very skeptical. I’ll have to be firmly convinced that our eyes aren’t suffering before I make a switch.

  14. posted by anonymous on

    So have you gotten an e-book brush yet?

  15. posted by lucy1965 on

    I have a Nook. It’s fair to say that it’s renewed my enjoyment of reading.

    Those of us with visual impairments know too well that there is a limited amount of material made available in a large-print format; such books cost more, they often don’t fit on bookcases or in a bag, and the bindings don’t tend to be up to a great deal of use.

    Like Liz, I use Calibre to manage and store copies of my books in the ePub format; my entire digital library is backed up to a stick drive in the Red File in the firesafe.

    That said, some books (for me. YMMV) will always need to be in hard copy: yes, I have — and am more likely to reread — digital versions of The Lord of the Rings and Alice in Wonderland, and you will get my copies of the 50th Anniversary edition of the first and the hardcover of The Annotated Alice when I die, and not before.

  16. posted by Tim Stringer on

    I have totally embraced digital books. Space is at a premium here in Vancouver, and I reserve space on my bookshelves for a select group of books that I have in printed form (among them, Unclutter Your Life in One Week :).

    I also appreciate the portability of digital books. I do a fair percentage of my reading while travelling and there are certain books that I enjoy having handy for reference. I do most of my reading on the iPad and most of my purchases having been from Amazon/Kindle. If I do purchase a Kindle in the future this will mean that I’ll already have a library to access. I recently discovered Overdrive and was pleasantly surprised to find a rich selection of digital books (including audio books) available free of charge from my local library.

  17. posted by Anne on

    K – The Kindle uses electronic ink, which is different from a computer screen. It is actually easier on your eyes.

    My husband and I both have Kindles. He only buys books he can’t get on Kindle or ones he has decided he wants to be able to loan to people.

    I am a picky reader and like being able to read a preview before I buy. However, I buy craft books (knitting, spinning, weaving), cookbooks, and other types that have lots of pictures and diagrams.

    I also like the idea of being able to take a large book with me without it weighing me down.

    I am, however, concerned about the demise of Borders and other bookstores. There needs to be a balance somewhere.

  18. posted by Dmitry on

    nice post! i`ve kindle and nook for reading.

  19. posted by Gemmond on

    There’s definitely a place for ebooks, and I already have several using Kindle for PC (which I can read on my computer or phone)and my library’s proprietary software.

    But there are still too many issues as regards format (hardware and software), who really owns it (amazon can delete from a library? Really? after I “purchased” it? The supplier can control whether I can lend to someone else? Really. Then I’m not owning, I’m renting, at a high price, that is subsidized by print books).

    I will always have a library of print books (I cannot even imagine trying to replace my various design, garden, photography, and art books using ebooks. UGH! No matter how good the onscreen definition).

    It’s great that many colleges now offer books this way (although cost is still an issue), too. There are many instances professionally when downloads are preferable (really, when you need to reference, I need printouts, which I can’t do with ebooks).

    Finally, I agree with K who noted the issues about preserving our vision. I also spend hours online, watch TV and use my smartphone.

    When I want to read, I need a break from that.

    Portability has its place, but to me, every time you buy a print book, you should automatically get a free option to download an e-book version, so I can go back and forth. I’d pay a bit more for this dual option.

    And as for pricing. E-books I want are NOT less than print books. some are more.

    There are still too many issues involved in switching to ALL books on electronic devices for me. But I like having the OPTION.

    Meanwhile, given where I live, carrying an expensive one of the e-readers around is an invitation to crime. (Not that the thugs who steal are doing it to read!)

  20. posted by LeAnn on

    I really don’t think it has to be an “either/or” proposition. My husband and I each have Kindles, we love them, and e-books can’t be beat for travel reading. Our criteria for Kindle books is (due to DRM and the fact that we’re licensing the right to read them, not own them) we buy an e-book if it’s one we don’t mind giving up in the future, either through technology or licensing changes. We own 2,000+ print books too, and have been slowly purging through them, only keeping the ones that we love and will re-read. We’ll never give up our print books entirely – we have 12 bookshelves in our small house. We also make use of the library, Librivox, Audible, and borrowing books from friends. I think e-books and print books can co-exist, if the publishers can adapt to the new model. I disagree that e-books are always cheaper than hard copy; the publishers have fought tooth and nail to raise the prices Amazon wanted to charge for e-books. But there are always lots of free classics, and we watch Amazon’s sales for $.99 books.

    K, I would highly recommend that you try a reader with an “e-ink” screen, before dismissing the technology entirely. I spend 10 hours a day on the computer and, like you, don’t want to stare at more screens when I’m off work. The e-ink technology is very easy on the eyes, there’s no glare, and you can resize the text for easier reading when your eyes are tired at the end of the day.

    I’ll take my books any way I can get them; I’m not giving up my hard copies or my Kindle.

  21. posted by Jon on

    @K and Gemmond,
    E-ink is different than a normal screen. The problem with most display screens is that they redraw(refresh) themselves many times per second (60-75 times per second for a computer monitor and 120-240 times per second for TV’s). This constant refresh is one of the reasons for eye strain. An e-book reader, at least those with true e-ink, only refresh when you turn a page. The same refresh rate as a real book.

    My biggest reason for not switching is the cost and lack of books available from the library. I don’t buy many books because most I read only once or twice. I don’t want all that money locked up in books.

  22. posted by Sandy on

    For anyone wondering about the environmental impact of electronic reading devices, check out this interesting article from the Houston Museum of Natural Science:

    ps I have a Kindle and love it!

  23. posted by Samantha M. on

    I have a Nook touch which I love with worrying intensity considering a year ago when I tried my BIL’s Kindle I swore up and down I’d never get an eReader. I think because the Nook is so simple and I have a preference for the ePub format. My husband on the other hand swear’s by his Nook colour, I think because reading is so personal the selection of a reader becomes so personal.

    My legally blind mother loves the Nook touch too as she’s a technophobe but finds being able to make the font’s large enough for her to read a Godsend. Now she can read any book she wants and not just what is available in large print.

    @K – if you are worried about your eyes get something with “digital ink” like a Kindle or a Nook it feels no different to reading on paper to me. Where as I find an iPad or the Nook colour tiring too after a day at looking at LCD screens.

  24. posted by Susan in FL on

    We are older people who used to have lots of print books in our house but DH and I have moved to smaller quarters and we got rid of them all. We no longer spend any money on purchasing books because we can borrow an unlimited number of them from our public library system. No kindle, no cell phone, dial-up computer access, only locally broadcast tv.

  25. posted by SMK on

    Don’t forget that your local library might be a free source for e-books and downloadable audio books as well as a resource to try e-readers out or get more information.

  26. posted by Anne on

    If you find yourself running out of shelf space, and there is no ebook version that you can buy to replace your physical copy, scan your books with a scanner such as the Scansnap. It’s quick and easy – just slice off the spine and feed through your scanner. You can OCR at the same time and end up with a searchable PDF file around 20mb that looks great on an iPad. I am, however, considering getting an e-reader with a large e-ink screen, since I do agree it’s easier on the eyes. Can anyone recommend a good e-ink e-reader with a very large screen?

    By the way, I do agree that DRM is a worry. However, if you search online you *can* find ways to remove the DRM from your files, although for legal reasons I can’t recommend you do this. But it would certainly be possible to save a DRM-free version of your ebooks “just in case.” I’ve heard in the Netherlands some ebooks have been released without DRM, using watermarking instead to identify who bought the original file. Hopefully that kind of thing will become common worldwide in the future.

    For me, I love books for the information they contain, not because of the smell of the paper or the illustrated dust jacket or whatever. If you go down that road you’ll end up a clutterer, not an unclutterer.

  27. posted by Rae on

    I still love paper books, but I’ve mostly done the switch to ebooks. To further unclutter my life, I read ebooks on my iPod Touch instead of having a dedicated ereader.

  28. posted by Alyssa on

    I like having the physical copy of the book. I don’t even do all that well with reading from a screen when my fav authors put short stories n their website. I like the smell, I like the tactile experience of reading. Plus, I worry less about reading in the bathtub and accidentally dropping my physical copy of the book in the bath (and yes, that is a concern as I’ve done it before).

    I try to utilize my library, though I’m in a more remote location with a small, limited library. We have no secondhand book store. I’ve found that is a good way for me to go – post the books you don’t want, mail them to the people that ask for them, receive a credit, use that to request books from someone else. I like that it’s kind of like a big, customer run secondhand book store. And it allows me to get whatever books I want, not just what other people in my area have chosen to part with.

  29. posted by jodi on

    I have a number of things keeping me from switching over:

    1. Cost. As someone who buys a lot of books at garage sales etc. I cannot justify the cost of a kindle. With more people switching, there are even MORE good books available second-hand.

    2. If we take a vacation, its less to pack one kindle with 20 books, that is true. But with a family of 6 (five readers), that same trip becomes five kindles, five wall chargers, five car chargers, and an extention to plug in more than one while driving. All the cords getting tangled is a perfect reason to stick with paperback.

    3. I get migraines (sometimes with nausea) looking at computer screens too long. My 14-year-old gets carsick (nausea/vomiting) and its worse with electronics. That isn’t the kind of uncluttering that makes ebooks worth it.

    4. One of my favorite book categories is legal and legal fiction. Highlighting and dog-eared pages are a staple of my reading style.

    5. Even if there is a way to highlight an ebook, I am also a visual person. I remember this or that was about the middle of the book on the bottom left page.

    6. Many family activities we enjoy do not give us access to electricity (i.e. camping). A paperback is good in ANY light, regardless of electricity.

    7. A paperback wont electrocute me if I fall asleep reading in the pool or bubble bath.

  30. posted by Kees Reuzelaar on

    I read a lot of books. Two of my living room walls are covered in bookcases. I didn’t like e-books at all.

    Turns out I didn’t like the readers, it wasn’t about the books themselves. Since I’ve gotten an iPad I actually prefer e-books to paper ones, but for non-fiction only.

    Fiction, for me, is about sitting by the fire with a nice glass of wine and drifting off into the far reaches of fantasy.

    If only I could trade in my paper books for e-books…

  31. posted by DJ on

    Yes, I have, as a means to control clutter, switched partially to e-books.

    But I am disappointed at how many are offered at the same price as print books. I really feel that if I don’t have a physical book, but one that depends on me purchasing an expensive e-reader, then the cost for them should be less!

    And I am VERY disappointed by the poor quality of the editing of these files… typos, strange punctuation, repeating lines, etc. Totally unacceptable in print books, but glossed over in e-books. Boo.

    So for me it’s been a mixed bag. But I do save a lot of shelf space.

  32. posted by JustGail on

    After much waffling (yes? no? which one?) I have a Nook Color now. I didn’t get it for purchasing new books, I got it for books from Project Guttenberg, Antique Pattern library, etc. and to replace my PDA (still need a calendar and notepad app istalled). I also will be trying some magazines on it. As far as new books, I don’t read fiction and there seems to be a lack of sewing and needlework ebooks so far.

  33. posted by Sue on

    Not me. I uncluttered my book habit in a couple of ways:

    1. I have one full-size Billy bookshelf. When it’s full, I have to purge some books before I can buy more.

    2. I recently donated a lot of books that I will never read again.

    3. I started using my library. It has a great online system, so I can request a book even if it’s checked in. All I need to do is go to the front counter, say they are holding a book and then checkout. Simple and no time wasted.

    Step 3 is what changed my life. No more book clutter. No more book budget. I can take that money and put it somewhere else. If I had gone the e-reader route, I’d have to put the initial money into the reader, plus the extra cost to charge the thing, even if I only ever used free e-books from my library.

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  35. posted by vickie on

    I’m in the camp with those who don’t see an e-reader in my future.

    I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for a book. Everything currently on my TBR shelf is from a used book store or traded from a friend. I also make liberal use of my library.

    The social aspect of trading books with friends or discussing good reads with others in bookstores is something that’s almost an integral part of reading to me.

    One other downside to an e-reader I haven’t seen anyone mention is the ‘drop the book’ factor. I read every night in bed and occasionally wake myself up dropping the book on the floor. An e-reader just doesn’t seem like it would hold up to this very long!

    @ Heather – that info about major publishers (Harper Collins) requirement of libraries is interesting. Personally, I find it darn near obscene. If I purchase a book from a bookstore, would they make me re-purchase it after I’d read/loaned it a few times? Obviously not. Unless they’re giving the first copies to the library, it doesn’t seem like they should have ANY input beyond the sale of the book.

  36. posted by anonymous on

    When the Post-Apocalypse World Order arrives, you won’t be able to burn the pages of your e-book for warmth and cooking and light.

  37. posted by Emilie on

    I don’t think ebooks and paper books are mutually exclusive, either. I got a Nook for a gift, but I still get 95% of my books from the library as I always have. I read maybe a book a week. As someone on a limited budget, I don’t see the point in purchasing a book in any format if I’m only going to read it once. If I do buy books, I do one in/one out so that my collection doesn’t grow to an overwhelming size.

    I’ve been disappointed with some Nook editions. Like a book where footnotes were important, but I couldn’t access them. I read mostly nonfiction so I want to be able to flip easily back to the notes and citations. Much harder to do on a Nook.

    I think it would be useful for long trips (although I haven’t gone on one since I got the Nook) but for me, when I’m just reading in the house, a paper book is a more pleasant experience.

    I feel sad that so many bookstores are going out of business (I was reading an NPR article that said two are closing every DAY in the UK? I’m in the US, but I wonder what our statistics are). It sucks because independent bookstores tend to be community centers in a way. But since I rarely buy books at all, I know I’m not helping the problem myself.

  38. posted by Electrifieds on

    I have a nook from Barnes & Noble. I really like it and the fact that I can load my own pdfs to it. But there are times when being able to prop open a real book is better. I find that I prefer my programming books to be “real”, but I do love that fact that I can lug around 12 programming books as pdfs on the nook.

  39. posted by Karen on

    My husband gave me a Kindle for my birthday. I have to say that it is a piece of junk. Within a month, it stopped being able to connect with my wireless network (and my husband thoroughly checked out our network, so that is not the problem). So I figured, no problem, I can download Kindle books onto my PC and then use my USB cable to get them on the Kindle…only, for some reason, my computer no longer wants to even load the Amazon home page. Every other internet site works, just not Amazon.

    I am very disappointed with both Amazon and the Kindle. I am currently reading the books I managed to download onto it, and I have a word game on it, but other than that it’s useless at the moment.

  40. posted by chacha1 on

    I like Gemmond’s idea of getting a free digital copy when we buy a hardcover book. Amazon does it with DVDs, why not with books?

    Re: cost: this is not an issue for me. I have a book budget and it doesn’t matter (for the budget) what format they are in.

    @Karen, I think a call to customer service is in order if you haven’t done so already (you didn’t mention doing so). Any time I’ve had an issue with any aspect of Amazon use, an email to customer service has fixed it promptly.

    I have hundreds of “real” books and hundreds on my Kindle. Not at all mutually exclusive. My desire for, and love of, the Kindle was based purely on convenience – access to hundreds of books wherever I happen to be without filling my overnight bag with paperbacks!

    It’s an inexpensive device, IMO there is NO chance Amazon will stop supporting and improving it, we can use the content on multiple devices … I think it’s a good deal and it has CERTAINLY facilitated decluttering many, many books from my collection.

  41. posted by Anonymous on

    Jodi – it is inaccurate to cite the hassle of bringing multiple chargers on vacation with you. eReaders have batteries that last more than a month assuming one hour per day reading. It is highly unlikely that you will run out of battery, let alone having every eReader in the house run out of battery simultaneously so the worst case scenario is bringing one charger.

    Incidentally, that charger is a slim, low profile micro-USB cord. If you need an outlet attachment, the Kindle and most other eReaders come with one.

    Likewise, the commenters who are worried about eye strain have clearly not used an eReader. eReaders use electronic ink screen technology. Looking at one is like looking at a sheet of paper, with the exception that eReaders also include options for altering font sizes to make book reading easier on your eyes. Moreover, the Kindle and some other readers will even read the book to you if you want to close your eyes. I’m not talking about paying for audiobooks, I’m talking about for free and with every book on your device.

    There are reasons to avoid eReaders-price of paperback books used, tactile and/or aesthetic tastes, the upfront costs for readers, arguably the visual element of “collecting” books but I guess that’s not something that’s all that prevalent on an uncluttering site.

    But many of the grievances listed in this comments section are factually untrue.

  42. posted by Nupur on

    I curb book clutter by only reading library books. If I move to a place where there are no good public libraries, I’ll definitely invest in an e-reader.

  43. posted by Leonie on

    never thought I’d make the switch to the kindle. Got one for my son years ago and watched him go from reading two books a week to 5. Yes, my amazon purchases went up too :-). I got myself a kindle for traveling and have enjoyed that tremendously. My son continues to read both print books and ebooks on the kindle and his ipad.

    I only “buy” free books or mysteries under $3. That’s what I’d pay for a second hand book. For newer releases, I borrow from the library. Most of the print books I purchase are not available electronically or are reference/work/craft books I rather than on hand.

    It’s not an either/or proposition. Both e-readers and print books have a place in my family’s life and our home. We love reading so anything that enhances that, delivers more or makes it possible for us to consumer more books, be it e-reader, library or bookstores, – it is all good 🙂

    I do appreciate the kindle’s font choices. now that my eyesight is not as perfect as it was a year ago, it’s nice to be able to enlarge the print when I’m tired or when the line seems to blur.
    As for charging the e-reader, I’ve gone on vacation with my kindle on full charge (and forgot the charger) and was fine for 2 weeks. not a problem. Besides, the charger is no bigger than my iphone charger. And certainly smaller and lighter than my laptop charger.

  44. posted by Anne on

    I too have a Kindle and also read paper books. I tend to use the Kindle when I’m away from home (including travel so my luggage is oh so much lighter) and in bed before sleeping because I can adjust the font so I don’t have to wear my glasses. Otherwise at home I read paper books. I mostly have public domain and free books on my Kindle although I’m not averse to paying for a Kindle edition of a book I want to purchase anyway. The Kindle has allowed me to carry less in my bag and always have reading material with me. It also allows me access to classics that I don’t read often but want to have on hand without clutter.

  45. posted by JJ on

    I know lots of people who love these things, but they just aren’t for me. The books I want to read are either a)not available in e-format, or b) frequently MORE $$$ than the paper version. Something very odd there, if you ask me.

    But all that aside – I’m far too much of a klutz – I would have a kindle destroyed in under a month. If book clutter becomes a problem, I’ll purge, or start visiting the library more often.

  46. posted by Jodi on

    If you are suggesting that e-readers would last without chargers I am shocked. Reading only an hour a day would defeat the purpose of bringing something to read in the car on vacation, while waiting for kids running errands, etc.

    Even so, who wants the added stress of remembering to stop reading to save your battery. Regardless of how long a battery lasts, electronic devices need recharged and cords are the only way I am aware of to accomplish such a task. Needless clutter, but if that was something you were willing to put up with that is certainly a choice, but to say the need of a method to charge the device is “factually untrue” would mean they would NEVER need charged. And there is no way to predict who would run out of battery when (our phones chronically die all at once) so we would still need all the chargers to ensure the books worked. Not a worry with paperback; no matter which way you look at it, I have never needed to charge a paperback.

    The screen issue is interesting, but not compelling enough to convince me. The device still gives off a glow and that glow is the issue for my family/migraines. Again, how can you say this is factually inaccurate? Believe me, our migraines are very, very accurate and real.

    You can be an uncluttered person and have books. I don’t fall into the “electronic clutter is okay because it takes up so little square footage” mentality. Clutter is anything that keeps you from living the life of your dreams (by Erin’s definition) and e-books would diminish the quality of achieving my dreams. If your dreams are different, wonderful! But my dreams (and the reasons behind my dreams) are not “factually inaccurate.”

  47. posted by Sharon on

    I LOVE ebooks … we recently shifted interstate and packed up 13 bookcases of books! Never again! Now I am slowly purchasing ebook copies of my favourite books as they become available and happily read them on my iPad, and I then donate my paper copies of these books to our local community centre.

    I love being able to purchase and begin to read a new book in just minutes, and now don’t have to worry about running out of ‘bookcase space’.

    I back up my ebook purchases on my computer at home, so don’t fear that my books will ‘disappear’ if the ebook provider goes out of business. Even though I am a librarian by trade, I don’t miss the physical paper books at all; I am a big ebook fan.

  48. posted by nmrosycheeks on

    Kindle has revived my interest in reading (after grad school + thesis, I was pretty burned out). It’s backlit, so there’s absolutely no eyestrain, and I make the font huge so I don’t have to wear glasses that slide down my nose. Also, husband and I share books. I still occasionally reach up to the corner to “turn” a page, it’s so very book-like to me. Husband laughs when he catches me doing that. With my built-in nightlight in the cover, I read as long as I like without bothering him, and vice-versa. Kindle games are fun, too–I’m into all the word games. Finally, no more lugging a backpack or canvas bag of books on trips–I choose what I want, when I want, and I can often find samples of books available before investing. Wish I’d bought one sooner.

  49. posted by nmrosycheeks on

    BTW, @Jodi–There’s no “glow” to hurt your eyes… turn on a Kindle in a dark room and you see nothing at all, just the green blink of the “power on” light. I do this all the time; turning on my Kindle before I remember to also pull out the nightlight while laying in bed. It’s definitely NOT a computer screen. Also, FWIW, my Kindle gets plugged in next to my cell phone; the 2 chargers are hooked to the same extension cord, so packing is a breeze (we’re a Navy family, so we travel–A LOT). We still have hundreds of books (I’m a teacher), but I never lug them with me anywhere. I also get magazines and blogs and “shorts” and games on Kindle.

  50. posted by PracticeMakesProgress on

    At first glance, e-readers seem to be nothing more than extremely popular uni-taskers. However, I think that something that gets such heavy use, even though it’s a single use product, is still worth owning.

    That said, I use my iPad when I read something other than a traditional book. It’s the ultimate multi-tasker.

  51. posted by MJ Ray on

    Firstly, DRM is a pain in the bum. I don’t let the bookshop come in and take books of my shelves, so why would I allow that for ebooks?

    Secondly, isn’t e-clutter still a type of clutter, weighing on your mind and needing some (maybe less) management?

  52. posted by ninakk on

    @Jodi: I have a Bookeen Cybook Orizon and there is no glow, it is not backlit since it uses e-ink. I can’t use it without a lamp and the screen is exactly like the one of a paper book. I have migraines too, but definitely not from using my e-reader.

    The only reason I’m not buying e-books yet, but rather downloading the free ones, is the price. I have found very few books that are cheaper than the paper versions, which is rather unbelievable like someone else commented above. I’ve looked into many books on decluttering and lo and behold, almost all of them are more expensive as e-books. Seriously ridiculous.

  53. posted by ninakk on

    Oh and Jodi, at least the Bookeen Cybook Orizon uses energy from the charged battery only when you turn a page. The energy you push into it when charging should supposedly last for 10000 page turns, which is quite a few books.

  54. posted by Janet on

    This is one area of my life I will not be uncluttering.

    Nothing – NOTHING – takes the place of opening up, holding and annotating a book in my world. I work in a restored 19th century home filled with thousands of books. Walking into the library with its walls lined with books ranging in age from 150 years old to the latest editions both calms and enervates my mind. My own book room in my home is the place I go to when I want to relax, think and pray. Reading to me is much more than a way to just pass the time. And books – especially well-used books – are more to me than information receptacles.

    My husband and I recently visited a beautiful new home built by a couple we know well. Everything down to the light switches were planned and beautifully executed since they are in the construction industry. The furniture was exquisite and all needs were anticipated. And yet, there was something missing in it and on the way home we both realized what that was. There was not a single book anywhere and that absence could be felt.

    I don’t think having a well-stocked reader on the coffee table would have filled the void.

  55. posted by Jodi on

    Even though I will likely never ever own an electronic reader, I am intrigued by all who are convinced they will not cause migraines. I have looked at them, but never taken the time to “read” on one. I am going to make a goal to spend one hour reading on a kindle and see what happens. I am skeptical beyond skeptical, but willing to experiment.

    As for the cords, as far as I am concerned, cords to charge things are the new clutter. I just don’t care how small/compact/portable the cords are. Cords drive me crazy!

  56. posted by Julie T on

    As much as I am a fan of decluttering, I have NEVER considered books to be clutter. They are an essential part of my life. That being said, I am an avid library patron, and I do not own many books. I’m on a first-name basis with the librarians at my community library, which I visit twice a week.

    Since I’m in front of the computer eight hours a day (sometimes more) for my job, the idea of more screen time makes me shudder. I LOVE listening to books on CD while I embroider, and can think of little more satisfying than falling asleep at night with a book in my hands.

    I’m rarely without a book – the paper kind – when I leave the house. No batteries (or cord) required.

  57. posted by Rachel on

    @ jodi:

    “7. A paperback wont electrocute me if I fall asleep reading in the pool or bubble bath.”

    Never mind the book–or ereader! What about the risk of _you_ slipping below the water line and drowning? Yikes!

    Can some of the tub-readers reassure me that drowning by tub reading is highly unlikely (e.g., the shock of a wet face would wake you up immediately)? Or can we expect a long series of B-grade movies in which the villain lures the hero/heroine into a cozy bathtub with an ominously inviting stack of paperbacks close by? Threatening music swells up as as the camera lingers on the book spines or the cover of the topmost book…

  58. posted by Linda on

    When my late mother gave me a Kindle she included a leather cover for it. Reading it then felt like reading a nicely-bound book.

    She loved her Kindle (the large-sized one) because she could change the font size and also have it read to her, as her vision became worse.

    Please make sure you are not repeating erroneous information–or even good info that has been stated several times. For example, every time someone corrects the impression that these are “computer screens” (they are “electronic paper” that will not cause eye-strain any more than paper books will) a few comments later, someone says’ “I work on a computer all day and…” There is a lot of this type of clutter in the comments every time I look through them on this site (and others).

  59. posted by Rondina on

    I may have stated this before, but after downsizing I have had the spines cut off of all but a handful of reference books and am on the home stretch scanning them. I run Adobe Acrobat’s OCR function and they are much more user-friendly. I have found that this has given me a huge amount of book shelf space. Many of these books are out of print and can not be downloaded in any form. The books remaining on the shelf are those that don’t have anything to do with my research. Basicly, if it is a book to curl up with, I would rather have the hard copy. (But that may change in the future too. )

  60. posted by Linda Varone on

    I have not made the switch to a Kindle or other e-reader. I am a fan of my local library. I read a lot of books and getting them from the library and then returning them solves my book clutter problems.I am a glutton at the library, borrowing books that look intriguing, but I am not committed to reading or keeping them if they are not what I expected. It is ecological because one book is read over and over again by many people. I do buy reference books, or books I know I will be writing in.
    And I do an annual decluttering of my books when I realize something is out of date, my interest in the topic has waned or realize that I really won’t read that book ever. I donate them to my local library book sale. They take the profits and buy more great books for everyone, and I come home with a handful of specific books that I give to friends and family. And I keep a few for myself, for awhile.

  61. posted by Amanda on

    If any type of e-reader was much cheaper, I would get one for taking on trips. Otherwise, I love my books. I love the smell of a fresh new book, the feel of the paper and the turning of pages, and the look of my book collection. I have managed to declutter my ginormous collection by selling a few that I’ll never touch again to a used book store, but really, I just love to hold a real book in my hand.

  62. posted by Christine on

    My mother who has gotten carsick her entire life and is now in her 60’s has been pleasantly surprised to find that she can read her Kindle in the car without becoming ill, making long car rides more endurable. Also, she has macular degeneration and is blind in one eye and being able to change the size and type of font has been wonderful for her.

    I find that for myself, the e-ink and the flat page, have nearly eliminated the headaches and eye strain from reading paper books. I am now able to read like I used to be able to and once again enjoying one of my favorite hobbies.

    As far as charging and battery life, I rarely have to charge and I read for more than an hour a day. The charger has a usb plug at one end and a micro usb plug at the other. For households with many electronics that need charging while traveling, there are adapters for the car that have several usb inputs, and most newer phones also have usb ports at one end, and if I understand correctly, they are moving towards a universal micro usb charging system which would mean one charger would fit all systems. We have found this to be true for 4/5 phones in our house the exception is one being several years old. Also, you do not have to wait for the battery to die to charge, so you could take turns plugging in so no one runs out. Just a thought for those who have charging concerns.

  63. posted by kate on

    I was recently laid up, and a generous friend lent me her Kindle, which was stocked with great books. Wonderful to have and to use! Not hard on the eyes at all, a seamless reading experience, and so many choices available in a light and convenient format.

    I lust after one, especially for taking on the subway commute. But, given that my access to fabulous libraries, it makes no financial sense for me. If I were to buy 3+ books/week for the Kindle, it would cost me $120.00 or more/month or close to $1500.00/year. That would clutter my budget considerably! So, for now, it’s paper for me. (Nor do I have cable tv or a smartphone. The small convenience is not worth the budget trade-off for me).

  64. posted by Sharon on

    I was a book hoarder. My attic was filled with bookshelves full of books. The I decided that was ridiculous. My husband bought me the large Kindle for my birthday and I spent a couple of days pulling books out of my attic and donating them. I have about 75 books on my Kindle that I haven’t paid a dime for and I’ve really enjoyed 99% of them. I use my library for any new books so I don’t have to buy them, either paper book or ebook. Sometimes it means I have to wait until it’s available but it’s not like I don’t have anything else to read. I still have some of my paper books but not nearly as many. It’s not all or nothing. I read paper books and I read my ebooks. My two biggest reasons for getting a Kindle was to clean out my attic and to cut my book purchases down to nil. After the initial ereader purchase, it hasn’t even cost me yard sale and thrift store prices to get books. I rarely bought new hard backs anyway, but now it’s virtually free! On Facebook I have liked a couple of FB pages that announces free and cheap books when they come out. Usually $0 to $3 and this has been great. You can’t be any cheaper than nothing! Now, some reference books I can see needing a paper copy for. But I have found some great Christian non-fiction books and I use the the builtin highlighter for underlining and the bookmarking feature. I will probably never give up totally on paper books but I’m hooked on the ease, convenience and cheapness of ebooks too.

  65. posted by dianon on

    my husband gave me a kindle for christmas two years ago and i love it. have always been a big reader 2-3 books per week and thought i would never like an electronic book. turns out it’s one if not my favorite “toy”. i’m on a free kindle book emailing and belong to several kindle boards. i always have more than enough to read, especially since most of my reads are free. couldn’t be happier!

  66. posted by Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home on

    I love my Kindle. The only drawback to digital books is the new book smell. I have my own ebook (pdf)that I am sending to Kindle soon. It’s called Sassy Decorating Secrets: A Diva’s Guide to Interior Design and Feng Shui. The first chapter is available for free here: on the Sassy Decorating Secrets page.

  67. posted by MelD on

    My husband gave me an iPad for Christmas but I was so disappointed when I found that iBooks has copyright issues where I live and apart from a few free classics, there was nothing for me to fill my virtual bookcase 🙁
    However, I did later find that I could download a Kindle app and buy books – though again, my choice is severely limited due to my location (central Europe). Although I am mothertongue English (British), I can only buy a selection of ebooks from or .de where the choice is very US-orientated or else in German, not always my first choice, to say the least. Still, better than nothing and I have quite enjoyed the books I have been able to download, it’s fast and easy and reading them isn’t too different than a real book.
    However, I will probably never switch totally, despite what the minimalists say about getting rid of books. Special interest books simply don’t go digital and I still love the feel of a real book. As you mention, children’s books, too, some coffee table books I enjoy etc. Plus you can’t lend an ebook to someone, which has been frustrating at times. Or just pass it on for someone else to enjoy. Or even copy a page for personal reference.
    Although I halved my collection of physical books in the last few years, I still have a houseful of books and am happy for that to be my weakness, as I consider it a strength! And I still buy them, too.

  68. posted by MelD on

    I also wanted to point out that we don’t have a particularly good library system here, either. And even the small libraries we have usually only have German books, often out of date, too. Their choice is also not my choice, so I don’t use the libraries, sadly. The Germanic world is not the Anglo-Saxon world!

  69. posted by Jude on

    I just bought my teenage son a Kindle. He absolutely loves it. He says it makes him want to read more. He’s being very careful about choosing books to purchase. I, on the other hand, am constantly downloading free chapters and “buying” free ebooks from Amazon to read on my PC Kindle.

  70. posted by Leslie on

    Nook color owner here. I spent months researching the different eReaders and settled on the Nook color for several reasons. 1. The beefy android os that if cracked (note: WILL negate warranty), would allow for a greatly expanded use other than as an eReader. I also have a variety of apps on it that allows me to sync up my family calendar, keeps my contacts close at hand and if I have wifi access, I can surf the web if I don’t feel like reading. I buy my books at BN, Powells, Diesel as well as loans from the library. I love the look of magazine and some of the full color children’s books are gorgeous. It’s fast, it’s light, and my failing eyesight loves the ability to increase font size. Battery time has been great. I think I charge 1-2x per month and because of its small size is easy for me to carry.

    AND BN now offers digital textbooks for the Nook, which is great for school work.

    The downside to ebooks is the cost. And having worked for publishers for MANY MANY MANY years. It’s downright criminal how much many publishers charge for eBooks.

  71. posted by Anonymous on


    First of all, even if you read 4, or 6 hours a day, the Kindle’s battery will still last long enough to take an entire vacation without recharging. It’s true that if you are moving to a tropical island with no electricity for a year and you plan on reading all day every day, you will have to recharge your eReader. I did not recharge my eReader on my last vacation, where I spent all day reading the entire time. Provided you read all day and take an extra long vacation, at some point you’d need to plug the device in. I assure you, it won’t be in the top 20 highest maintenance things you pack in your luggage.

    Second of all, no, eReaders do not give off glare. It is factually untrue to say they cause migraines. I get migraines too, have since I’ve been a kid. eReaders use graphite to display text against a static plastic screen. Can you read paper without getting a migraine? You can read an eReader without getting a migraine. They do not have lit screens. They do not have LCD screens. This has already been explained multiple times in the comments.

    No one is doubting that computer or LCD screens strain your eyes or give you migraines. No one is making light of your family’s migraines. No one is telling you you don’t get migraines. People are just telling you that, factually, eReaders are fine for your eyes if paper is, and in fact they’re generally better because as I mentioned they allow adjusting the font size and have read-it-to-you features.

    When I made my first comment, pointing out that your concerns were not accurate, your first reaction shouldn’t have been to assume your concerns were accurate and I was wrong, it should have been to reflect on the fact that you are not familiar with eReaders and seek the facts.

  72. posted by Jennifer on

    I have a Kindle and love it! I have the 2nd generation and the 5-way broke on it last week, but when I called Amazon they said that was a known issue (it’s been redesigned) and they replaced it for no charge even though I have had it almost 2 years! Other than being without my books for a couple of days and then having to reconfigure my collections, it was so painless to have it taken care of.

    I should probably research DRM though, as my criteria for selecting books is directly opposite what someone else mentioned (only buying books they would not mind losing at some point)- I only get ones I want to keep a long time to refer to again and again! 🙂 Oh, and the free or “under $3.99” deals that I know my Grandma, Mom, or sister would not want to read, too. I still buy my Christian fiction in paper because my 93 year old Grandma is an avid reader and she loves my hand-me-downs. I would get her a Kindle of her own, but she also falls asleep and drops her books fairly often. 😉

    I have never had a lot of book clutter; if I won’t be reading something again I pass it along. When I first got my Kindle I held on to the hard copy of some favorites I also got on the Kindle, but have been letting those go. I probably have fewer than 30 print books, yet read several books a month- frequently borrowed. I do prefer the Kindle due to convenience and the fact that I have diverse tastes and often want to read one chapter of something then move on to another genre for a bit- I usually have at least 4 books in progress at a time…

    @Jodi, I have enjoyed your kind posts and I’m glad you are going to try a Kindle. I think (hope) you won’t be disappointed. I don’t get migraines myself so I can’t comment on that, but the Kindle does not strain my eyes at all.

  73. posted by Jennifer on

    I started reading ebooks about two years ago, under protest. I got an iPad and then was old about a book that was only available in digital form. Then I found a book that I would normally be embarrassed to read in public (you know, like trashy vampire fantasy etc.). With an ebook no one sees the cover. 😀

    Now, I almost hate reading real books. Ebooks are easier to read at night without disturbing my family. They are lighter and take up less space. I review a lot of web design books and many ebooks come with interactive videos embedded. I tell publishers I prefer reviewing ebooks, and I check out lots of books from Overdrive.

    The only thing I don’t like about ebooks from publishers are the extreme prices. Sometimes you can get good deals, but often the book costs more than a paperback.

  74. posted by Deborah on

    I didn’t think I would like ebooks, but they are so handy when traveling. Now I can bring 5 books with me on vacation and not worry about the space they take up or the weight.

    I do, however, check the library first when at home before I buy a new book I want to read.

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned LOVE it! I posted all the ISBN numbers of the books I no longer want on the web site and people request the books. For each book you mail (book rate, about $2) you get credit for another book from the site. I cleared out a ton of books, and got new books to read in exchange. Anything that wasn’t requested in a few months, I donated to my local library.

  75. posted by Tim Gray on

    What I am waiting for is a Kindle that will display PDF’s well and have a letter sized display. the kindle is nice if you want really light and read amazon books. It falls down when you want books from other sources. you need to run through their converter or use other hoops. I settled on an iPad because it reads ANY ebook and has a nice big screen. problem is it’s expensive, light, DELICATE (screen breaks easily, kindle screen does not) and 10 hours of battery sounds like a lot but in reality is not. a Kindle will got a week easily between charging.

    When someone comes out with a universal ebook that uses epaper and can display a letter sized pdf perfectly, I’ll be on top of the ebook world.

  76. posted by lady brett on

    i adore my kindle. i don’t care as much about the space books take up at home, but i hate carrying a huge bag of stuff with me when i leave home.

    ever since i stopped wearing the sort of clothes that can fit a novel in the pocket (it’s been a minute!) i find i read less, because i don’t carry a book with me. my kindle fits in my purse, which books do not, and i read regularly again! it is lovely.

    however, i find e-books to be *much* more expensive than print books, because it has been years since i’ve bought a book new, and used books are cheap. of course, most of the books i read are old and *free* on the kindle, which helps.

  77. posted by gypsy packer on

    I love e-books, and have an iPod Touch stocked with quite a few, either public domain or purchased. I’ve given up on the Nook app since they only allow you to read your purchased items online, and I often read offline with no available Wi-Fi.
    Much of my entertainment reading consists of books purchased from local secondhand stores or flea markets. Seriously educational reading, the kind where I would have hoarded the books, is where e-books make real sense. I’ve uncluttered from a full hallway of bookcases to two 24″ shelf areas. If I could afford the ScanSnap, I’d get rid of those.

    Digitized books and digitized music are huge blessings to allergy patients and to those of us who still believe in the “small is beautiful” lifestyle.

  78. posted by Bilgo on

    I am not a book junkie and am very selective about what I choose to read, but I count myself amongst those who believe that e-book readers simply cannot match the experience of sitting down with a good back in hand. I am actually far more weary of uncluttering electronic items rather than physical objects made of natural materials. An e-book reader is just another screen to stare at in addition to my computer, TV, cell-phone and iPod. Thank you but I will pick paper to screen anyday.

  79. posted by Jaimie on

    I found Heather’s comment above really intriguing, especially about how the e-book version is paid for by the sale of the physical books.

    I personally cannot read books on a computer screen the way I read physical books. I like the idea of less physical clutter, but I can’t focus as well when reading that way, and it’s hard on my eyes. I wouldn’t be able to absorb into a story that way. There’s just something so nice about a physical book. I periodically go through and sell books that I know I will not read again, but I have several I do re-read (when I can find the time) because I love them.

    And then there’s textbooks. While I don’t love carrying a 8-12 pound text around, the e-book versions you can only keep for two years and then they’re gone. I have kept most of my chemistry and biology textbooks as references, and as I am looking at another 5-6 years of grad school after I finish my bachelor’s, I believe they will be invaluable for me.

  80. posted by Murray Lunn on

    I’m really glad to see such a large push for ebooks.

    Years and years ago when ebooks started to make their way online I remember thinking about how well they would be accepted one day but it really did take readers to let them enter the market fully.

    I’m still a bit basic in how I use em since I’m generally in front of my computer for work – I just read them on my laptop but I’m more and more leaning toward getting a Kindle these days for the exact purpose.

  81. posted by Xandra on

    I have made the switch, and I LOVE it. I live abroad for half the year, so I do a lot of traveling back and forth with weight restrictions on my bags, and books weigh a LOT, I’ve come to realize 🙂 I also love Notes & Highlights on my Kindle, because I prefer to digitally store information.

    However…nothing compares to the feel of a nice fresh new hardcover, so sometimes I indulge in a paper copy, which I may end up giving away after reading it.

  82. posted by Maarten on

    Books are NOT clutter! E-books are nice when you want to buy a new (recently published) book and have a choice between a paper copy and an e-version. But what about all those books published before, say 2009? Books feed the mind and imagination and I do not give a #@$ about the space they need. I rather ditch the TV than a great book. If you get rid of paper books in favour of e-books only NOW, you will miss some wonderfull stuff and you let a commercial and therefore politically biased third party decide what you can and cannot read. Even when every published book (even those flyers published 3000 years ago) have been converted to e-books, I wil continue to buy paper. Get rid of clutter, not things that enrich your life. (Rembrandt’s and Van Gogh’s paintings are also digitalized, but can one find the original painting in the dumpster? Did and do not think so!)

  83. posted by Lo on

    Why don’t i go all digital for books? I hate the screen. i pass all day long looking at a screen at my PC, on my smartphone and my eyes really welcome the sight of book pages when I read books.

  84. posted by Michael A. Robson on

    This is awesome. As a purveyor of eBooks and a fledgling writer, I love love love this. The old model of publishing, shipping, distribution and book/mortar stores (kinda like HMV, remember them?) can’t die fast enough.

    And to those not into iPad screens, get a Kindle. The screen is beautiful and sharp.

  85. posted by Kwesi on

    If uncluttering your life means to abandon real, physical books and switching to eBooks, I do not by any means want to unclutter it. I want my life to be the total, unimaginable chaos – with me and my books. Their smell, their feeling – who wants t sit in a big armchair or lay in bed with a screen?

  86. posted by Renee on

    I’m very curious how you find time to read 3 books a week. What are your strategies? I struggle with my goal to read 2 books per month! Right now my goal is one hour per day, but it ends up being about 30 minutes and some days I don’t find time to read at all. 🙁

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