How Did You Read Your Books Last Year?

This is going to be a very brief and non-very-fantasy-focussed post, but I’m curious to hear about other people’s reading and book buying habits.

For interest’s sake, I decided to work out stats on what format I read my books in last year (with the help of Goodreads). Here is the spread:

Audiobook 58%

Hard copy 32%

eBook 10%

So obviously I’m a big audiobook fan, and I’m not that into eBooks – I guess I spend too much time during the day staring at screens so I’m glad to get away from them when reading. Plus I have an Audible subscription, which encourages audiobook listening. I only buy an eBook if it’s not available in audiobook or hard copy format, or if I need to get and read a book quickly (e.g. before a book club meeting).

As for the genre spread:

Fantasy 62%

Science Fiction 19%

Other 19%

But that’s just my reading habits. What spreads did other people have? Anybody else have a year this audiobook-heavy, or are there people who’ve gone exclusively the hard copy or eBook route? All my hard copies were paperbacks, but did anyone get hard covers?

If you have your own percentages or thoughts on book formats, feel free to share them in the comments.

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13 thoughts on “How Did You Read Your Books Last Year?

  1. Mine is 100% ebook and 100% Fantasy. I can’t do audiobooks at all, I prefer to read ebooks on my nook reader. I read all the time, while commuting, eating, waiting in lines, on smoke breaks at work. When I am not writing, I read. I tried audiobooks but I can’t focus my attention enough to listen more than 30 seconds for the life of me. I guess I am a completely visual person, I need to see the words to get into the story. Audio just doesn’t do it.

    I read strictly fantasy, nothing else interests me these days and I suspect I will be reading fantasy for a very longtime, since my huge TBR stack has hundreds of fantasy books in it.

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    • Interesting! I can’t imagine reading 100% ebooks, but maybe if I had an e-Ink reader like a nook I might find it more appealing (mine’s just an iPad). A few of my friends also tried out audiobooks and didn’t like them, I guess they just aren’t for everyone. I can see how they’d be frustrating or hard to focus on if you’re very visual and like to read fast. I find they work for me when I’m doing mundane things (e.g. cooking, cleaning, walking etc.) because they make those things less boring, but that’s just me.

      Can totally relate to the 100% fantasy… I think I would also be much closer to 100% if I wasn’t part of a book club that reads mostly other things. When the choice is mine I almost always pick fantasy 🙂

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  2. I am an old fashioned reader – one who likes the smell of the publisher’s binding and the the printer’s ink. India is still a land of hard cover books – but here is the paradox! Fantasy genre has not really caught on in India in a big way, so I actually read about 50/50 eBooks and hard copy.

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    • Yes I’ve seen some beautiful book shops in India – last time I was there they seemed to be everywhere. I’m wondering if that will change though and people will take to reading more eBooks, like you? I guess that might not be clear for a while.

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  3. I’m not sure how the spread breaks down for me, as I don’t track my audiobooks, just ebooks and paper books, and I don’t differentiate between the 2 on my lists. If I had to do a rough guess, it’s probably about 70% and growing for ebooks. I read on my iPad, but I’ve done a lot of fiddling with the settings to make it an optimal reading experience. If I’m reading at night, I always do white letters on a black background, and that helps a lot. I travel quite a lot, so not having to lug along extra books is a huge plus when I’m on the road. No idea about the genre spread – maybe 50% fantasy/sci-fi and 50% everything else?

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    • Yes, i can imagine if you travel a lot not lugging physical books around would be a big plus. I still occasionally throw a few hard copies into my suitcase but I am increasingly trying to stick with ebooks/audiobooks when I travel.
      That’s interesting about the white text on black background, hadnt thought of that!

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  4. I still favor paper copies over electronic, emotionally. However, my split is about 60/40 paper vs. electronic. #1, I do want to support tree-free and formats of the future, and #2, for popular series that come out in hardback first, electronic is significantly less expensive. Also, the selection in electronic books is clearly more expansive compared to what’s on book store shelves.

    Physical locations where I buy books are either Hastings or Barnes & Noble, since these are closest to me. (Hastings especially since they host most of my signings.) My e-reader is a Nook, so electronic book purchases are in that format. I also borrow about 30% of paper books from the library. I haven’t yet figured out their mechanism for borrowing e-books.

    What I read is about 90% fantasy and 10% nonfiction. Mostly gardening information, a bit of biography also.

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    • Interesting combination, particularly the gardening books and fantasy! Great that you support the store that does your signings. I try to go to local stores that host author signings and launches too, since they are supporting local authors.

      Its a good point that the ebook selection is wider and generally cheaper. In Australia I find it can be tricky to get certain overseas books in hard copy, but with an ebook it’s one click away.

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  5. I love my physical books, but I have this weird obsession with keeping the bindings crease free. Unfortunately the manner in which I have to hold my books to keep them this way has started to cause my hands to cramp up as I’ve gotten older, so I’ve used my e-reader more and more. I would say that I am likely 90% e-reader at this point 10% paper.

    I’ve been on a dystopia kick recently, with traditional fantasy as a close second. Sci-Fi, and general contemporary fiction round out the balance.

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  6. I’ll always love real books, and jump at the opportunity to buy them when I happen upon a deal I just can’t refuse.

    But the ebooks are becoming an important part of my reading (and writing!) life. You just can’t beat the convenience of having the equivalent of a small-town library in your pocket. It’s great for catching a few pages while running errands, waiting for appointments, etc.

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    • True, taking a virtual library around with you is so convenient, even if you like real books. I guess audiobooks can work similarly – as long as you don’t need to hear what’s going on around you. But if you get me in a book store, I’ll still come out with a stack, especially if there are good deals like you said.

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