Why Kindles aren’t (too) bad

Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion about whether reading e-books, most popularly on Kindles and other e-readers, is good or bad. The debate seems to centre around Kindle vs Physical Books, with the main arguments normally consisting of weight (aka, the ability to carry many books on Kindle instead of just one or two physical books), feel, authenticity, and preserving the bookshop.

As a bookseller, I have my own opinions on this topic, but as a reader I have even more – put together, there’s really only one sentence that I think really sums up my thoughts on whether we should use Kindles or Physical books and that is:

Reading is reading.

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Before starting my work in a bookshop, I predominantly used my Kindle. It was light, it was easy, and books were far, far cheaper. I hadn’t picked up a proper physical book in a long time, and the books I typical read were more romance and whimsical, with no real weight to them (pun intended, although that was a pretty poor one). I still classed myself as a bookworm and voracious reader, but it wasn’t until I started working in a bookshop that I realised how much it felt like I missed out on. My first day of work, I walked into the staff room to see everyone reading proof copies of A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara, which of course I then picked up and read (review here). Not to sound too cheesy, but this book honestly changed my life, and completely changed the way I read books. All these books I’d read on Kindle couldn’t even hold a candle to this novel – because whilst you can get all sorts of books on e-readers, I tended to buy the cheapest, which didn’t always mean they were the best quality. For my first year of work, as you can see on this blog, I continued to read on my Kindle, but also began to read more and more physical books, and really from the beginning of 2017 I’ve barely used my Kindle.

For me, it felt like my love for books and reading had be reignited. When a customer comes in and talks about buying all these books they see on their Kindle, I usually shake my head and tut. “It’s the independent bookshops you’re killing!” I’ll tell them with a laugh, as they sheepishly grin. And whilst this holds truth, and whilst I still believe that Amazon is the devil in the book world, I don’t think we should discourage the use of Kindles, e-readers, and other ways of accessing e-books.

As I said earlier, e-books are usually far cheaper than physical books. For 99p, someone can download many different books straight onto their phone or computer. In this age of technology, there are so many ways someone can access reading – and no matter what, I stand by my opinion that reading is reading, and no form of reading should be discouraged. Whilst older generations may wag their fingers at youngsters reading books on their phones, what they’re doing is not discouraging using phones to read books, but reading entirely. Kids may be more attracted to shiny gadgets over paper (and what a generalisation that is, a stereotype that everyone uses), but what should that matter if they’re reading? For them, it means they may well pick up the new Percy Jackson or Roald Dahl or even Dickens, but will read it on their phone instead of buying a physical copy. For many, they can’t afford to buy books and don’t have access to a library, so to have a more painless, easy way to access literature is a godsend.

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I joke around a lot about Amazon, threatening to disown members of my family who buy physical books off there (and I hold by that threat, no family of mine buys physical books off Amazon without incurring my wrath), but what they have managed to do is bring a new dimension to reading. I for one am a huge fan of audiobooks, something which I would never have dreamed of investing my time in before audible became available to download on my phone.

Reading is reading, and whether someone is reading from a huge tome, a computer, a phone or a Kindle, no one should be discouraged from unlocking these many worlds that books bring to us.

Rant over.

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July Wrap Up

July was not a good month for several reasons (head over to my personal writing blog for more info https://alwayslovetowrite.wordpress.com/ ), and so I had a terrible reading month. About halfway through July for personal reasons, I didn’t really feel motivated to do much at all, including reading. I was so proud that I’ve been able to keep up with posting at least 2 or 3 times a month on both of my blogs this year, but that all went down the drain in July. Anyway, let’s jump into not only the books that I actually read, but that I started reading – yeah, it was one of those months.

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So the first book I started was The King Must Die by Mary Renault which was for my dissertation, and I had been reading it for a few weeks and hadn’t even managed to get halfway so I set it aside to try again another time. I’m not sure why, really – the writing is very well done and I love the classics-elements, but for some reason it just didn’t hook me. Perhaps if I get further that will change, but for what I read I wasn’t interested in the characters and didn’t really connect with them. Instead of coming home and wanting to read, I would think that I’d have to read that book so ended up not reading and doing something else. So concludes my second excuse.

I’m currently reading, and still haven’t finished, two other books. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and a manuscript sent over from a publishing house I’m interning at next week (ah!) to read through. It’s been difficult to find time to read these two the past week, what with emotions, full-time work, and the need to sleep. I’m happy to say though that Fates and Furies is helping to get me out of this reading slump.

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Now onto the list of short, not necessarily good, ebooks I downloaded due to my guilt of not reading anything but wanting to read something so mindless it didn’t matter that there were often grammar mistakes amongst bad writing. It’s my guilty pleasure, leave me alone.

Idol by Kristen Callihan was one of the better ones that I read, with some great witty lines and overall good fun. Then it was Stealing Home by Nicole Williams which I also lost interest in halfway through but then it picked up a bit by the end. Wicked by Geissinger  which was, agian, easy to read and good fun.

The final two were polar opposites – and one of them I’m counting as a proper book as I would have bought the physical copy had I been more patient and not buying it on kindle as soon as I could. This would be Torn by Jennifer L Armentrout, one of the authors that I immediately buy when I see a new release. I loved the first in the series, and I read this one in a single sitting and did enjoy it, but decided I preferred the first more – even though I read it two years ago. The final book I read, however, was called My Clarity by M. Clarke as someone recommended it. I had to skim read most of it due to lots of over-explaining and not great writing and really had to force myself to finish it. Not much fun at all.

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That means that my count of books this month is five books, although only one ‘proper’ book counted – I really need to find a new word, I don’t mean proper I mean physical copy of a book that isn’t a flick. Anyway, this means my book count goes up by a measly one to 35/50 – and I think I may stop counting the kindle flick total and just focus on this one! Here’s hoping to a better August.

My recent favourite reads on Kindle

A lot has already been said on the subject of ‘ebooks vs print’, a topic which I even briefly discussed in 2013 – two years ago, for those who are extraordinarily bad at maths, and it’s safe to say that technology has come very far since then. What I do mention in a few of my blogs on alwayslovetowrite is that I always consider myself to have very different book-buying habits on Kindle than I do in print. I’ve recently got back into buying ‘proper books’ that I can display on my shelves, and I usually veer towards fantasy or big, chunky, ‘thought provoking’ reads. However, on Kindle, I usually stray towards contemporaries, and more often than not smutty romances that I can finish in a day. So, for today, I’m going to mention five of my favourite recent reads on Kindle – although, warning, in my opinion I’d say the main audience for these reads are majority female.

1. Every Last Breath by Jennifer L Armentrout

Jennifer L Armentrout was one of my first Kindle purchases, and I’ve bought every book she’s written since. I first found her when she wrote Obsidian, a new (you guessed it) fantasy/sci-fi book about aliens – a series that I devoured. When she released her novella Bitter Sweet Love I expected a very smutty romance, and what I discovered was a something completely different. Her Dark Elements series is about gargoyles, yes, you read that right, gargoyles, and demons. I’ve not encountered a book about gargoyles before, which was the same about aliens with Obsidian, and man did I love it. Every Last Breath is the third and final book in this series and it did not disappoint. I don’t care what people say about love triangles being ‘done’ – Ms Armentrout makes a good one. I mean…GARGOYLES people, how cool is that?

2. Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young

A book that can be read as a standalone, but I’d advise to read all of the books in this series by Samantha Young. All contemporary, romance novels set in Scotland, Ms Young just knocks out one after the other with characters you can’t help but love. If you want a bit of love and drama (and some fantastic heroines) then definitely check these out.

3. Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

Kristin Ashley has a formula for her writing, and it works. You know what to expect, when to expect it, and know you’re still going to read a great, fun book. Ride Steady is part of a spin-off series that focuses on the members of a Motorcycle Club. If you’re a fan of Sons of Anarchy, you might just find yourself loving this series by Ashley. I think you could get away with reading this as a standalone, but I’d again recommend going to the start and working your way through.

4. Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley

For some reason, I never picked up this series by Kristen Ashley until recently and I just don’t know why. Once again, as I said above, these books follow a formula that works. You have a sassy heroine who you’re always rooting for, hilarious dialogue, action, a great love interest, and just a lot of fun. I think that’s how I’d sum up all of her books. When you read them, you just have fun – which is something that is completely underrated these days.

5. When You’re Back by Abbi Glines

Abbi Glines is another go-to buy, as her reads are just so sweet and heartwarming. I don’t think I’ve ever not finished one of her books in one sitting, or at least within a day. When You’re Back is the sequel to When I’m Gone so I don’t want to give spoilers, but I did not expect to happen what did happen (how vague can I be?), which is surprising as I always expect to be able to anticipate where the story is going. This book was a surprise for me, and I loved it.

Bloody hell, there is seriously a gif for everything, huh?