How My Kindle Cured My Book-Buying Disorder

Kindle3-224x300If I had to rate the electronics that have impacted my life the most, my Kindle is right up with microwave, DVD, DVR, and computer.

I have always had a compulsion for reading. The only problem is that just any book wouldn’t do. I can remember driving my mother crazy, asking her to drive me to the library. When I was fifteen, out of school for the summer, she had enough, and told me to ride my bike. The trip seemed like 50 miles, riding up those steep hills against the Oklahoma wind.  A smart person would have picked out enough books to last three or four days after a long ride on a bike.  Not me.  Being the persnickety reader that I was, I found only one or two books and the next day I was on my bike again.

While I never had to ride my bike again (and my legs never looked as great as that summer) that set a pattern for my book buying. Back in the 80’s & 90’s books were shipped to the stores and put out when the employees got around to it. And, yes, that was me sleuthing around the un-opened boxes of books, When I found someone I did ask, but I confess I have opened many boxes. Of course the pattern of arrival was irregular enough that I traveled from store to store on my days off, going from Wal-Mart to K-Mart to Target to the grocery stores, and then the bookstore. When I lived in larger cities, I added more bookstores. Invariably, I didn’t want just what was on the shelves, I wanted a certain book.

As time went on I learned that publishers provided set release dates for books. That still didn’t eliminate my driving from store to store.  My first choice, because of the lower cost, was always the discount stores, but they didn’t always have the books on the release date. The bookstores were better at putting out books, but romance books had lower priority. Numerous, times, I had to wait for the book to be found in the back and brought out.  Of course that was after I convinced the clerk that, yes, the book was out.  Typically, they would say this is a February book, and I would say, yes, but publisher releases books on the 15th.

Now, I live about 30 miles from a large city.   My town has a population of 30,000 and one book store plus Target and Wal-Mart that carry romance books.  Before gas prices got so high I would drive the 60 miles round trip for a certain book.    The discount stores do have a set day to put books out, but I have to give them time to actually shelve the books.   And, honestly, some days off I don’t feel like getting out of bed, getting dressed, and driving to the store for one book. Before the Kindle I did, but now I can be slothful.  I order the book and it is delivered at 2 a.m. central time .  I wake up, fix my international coffee, find the book on my Kindle and snuggle in with my dogs, and enjoy my day off.  This week we had bad weather, but with my Kindle, I can still find plenty to read even, when I am iced in.

While it is not a perfect system yet, since a few nameless publishers are dragging their feet on pricing, and release dates, my Kindle has dramatically impacted the amount of time I spend searching for a book.  If you have an e-reader, how has it impacted your life?

- Leigh AAR

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39 Responses to How My Kindle Cured My Book-Buying Disorder

  1. farmwifetwo says:

    I find I buy one book at a time now. Unless they had out a decent coupon :) I also buy what I will read, no more “well let’s grab this one while we’re here”…. the UBS is getting a lot less books.

    I still buy from Chapters – nearest store is 30min away – online but only if I have a gift card (can get them when I have enough airmiles). Still get 90% of my books via the library.

    But actually buying, has been cut down dramatically.

  2. Jane AAR says:

    I haven’t gotten a Kindle — or any other eReader — because I rarely buy books myself. Luckily, unlike you, I grew up within a mile or two of our town library, and now live in a city where, again, the library is a mile away (or about 5 minutes on the bus). I also have had access to decent used book stores. And as a poor college student, I can’t afford to buy books new all the time.

    It sounds like an eReader makes a whole lot more sense for you, though. Maybe one day it will for me, too, but right now it just simply isn’t cost-effective for me.

  3. Laura says:

    I am totally addicted to my Kindle. It goes with me everywhere I go. I am a free book whore. But my husband is happy because my stacks of TBR’s has gone down dramatically. He just doesn’t know it, but the TBR’s have migrated to my Kindle.

  4. Ellen AAR says:

    My space is getting a lot less cluttered since I got my Kindle (also since I started watched Hoarders – YIKE!!)

  5. Karen HC says:

    I have had my Kindle for a bit over a year now, and I have found my reading has been vastly expanded to include new independently published authors as well as the tried and true favorites. The exposure to these new authors in many genres including romance (available only in e-format) is something bookstore and discount store shoppers are really missing out on, and is under-publicized in discussions of ereaders.

    The back lists of many of my favorite authors are appearing with growing regularity as well. ‘Out of print’ will no longer mean the that these works become inaccessible and authors will be benefiting from increased sales as never before.

  6. JML says:

    I’ve had some type of ebook reader for a long time but the Kindle is the easiest and fastest and I love it for books that would not become ‘keepers’ for keeping the bookshelves lighter.

    Finding a new author and then getting his/her backlist is suddenly very simple with the Kindle. Unfortunately some- make that many- publishers/authors are being very, very slow in catching on to how profitable the ebook backlist could be.

    I’m still willing to wait for the hardcovers of authors I collect like J.D. Robb or in mmp like Singh and Feehan. Fortunately Amazon is now sending out new paper releases so that they arrive on the release date. Nice.

    Still: what is up with the release date thing? With ebooks shipping and shelving isn’t an issue so why release them all on the same dates? It’s the 13th which means there are 5 more days until the new releases that I want. Five days that I’m doing re-reads or buying less expensive Harlequin or cozy mysteries when I could be purchasing the more expensive new books by bestselling authors. It’s something that REALLY should be changed in the publishing world.

    Back to your point: love my Kindle’s efficiency. I haven’t been in a used book store in over a year. There would be even more money in the publisher’s/author’s pockets if they would just get with the new program and do e-released backlists and bring the prices for ebooks down even a dollar less than the paper issue.

  7. farmwifetwo says:

    JML – it has to do with making the best seller’s lists. They aren’t bases on the overall books you sell but who sells the most that week or another time frame.

    If you make the list – you get paid more.

  8. farmwifetwo says:

    JML – it has to do with making the best seller’s lists. They aren’t based on the overall books you sell but who sells the most that week or another time frame.

    If you make the list – you get paid more.

  9. Vi says:

    I love my Kindle. I’m surrounded by bookstores, but after getting my Kindle, I don’t have a need to visit them to browse books. With the free first chapter previews, I can do all my browsing from home.

    I’ve been sick the past week and a half. With my smartphone, I can surf the web from my bed, mainly to sites like these to discover what new books are worth buying. With my Kindle, I can read all day. Despite Agency pricing, I’m still impulsive as ever when it comes to books. I’m just a little bit more choosy about what Agency-priced books I buy.

  10. Hannah says:

    I have two e-readers–a Kindle and a Sony Reader–plus I read on my Ipod touch and the Kindle for PC. I like the freedom of buying one book at a time and not paying shipping costs. I can also read ebooks from the library on the Sony Reader, though I’ve only used it to read two books in the 2 1/2 months I’ve owned it.

  11. maggie b. says:

    OMG! I always thought my addiction might be a tad bit worse than others but this is frightening! The Kindle has made things more convenient for me but I still browse bookstores – those people are my friends now :-) – still shop for used books, and still compulsively pick things up at the library.

    I may have a problem . . . . . .

    maggie b.

  12. Cindy says:

    I like my Kindle too, but I LOVE real books and I have a panicky feeling deep down inside when I read things like this. Are our grandchildren going to know the smell of paper and ink or the feel of a glossy new cover in their hands?

    • Cris says:

      Cindy: …. I have a panicky feeling deep down inside when I read things like this. Are our grandchildren going to know the smell of paper and ink or the feel of a glossy new cover intheir hands?

      As much as I love my Nook, I always get sad when I think about this too.

  13. AARPat says:

    The Borders that carried the best selection of romances closed; the UBS that was primarily romances downsized its romance shelves to become more mystery oriented. Life as I knew it ended. Then I got my first Kindle.

    This fall I “graduated” from the K1 to the K3, the newest Kindle version, and gave my daughter my K1 with its 350+ romances on its chip. In other words, I spawned another Kaddict.

    I never had another eBook reader and just fell instantly in love with my K the minute I got it. I immediately bought a skin for it from DecalGirl (and called it my Kindle’s dress-up clothes). Reading in public was impossible because everyone around me would ask about it and I was unintentionally shilling for Jeff Bezos wherever I went.

    To say I love my K3 is putting it too mildly. I carry it with me like I did the K1 wherever I go. The difference is with the K1 I only read; now with games–particularly Triple Town and Panda Poet–I’m a really happy K owner.

    I still read wood product books (mostly galleys and other review books), but definitely not as many as I did before.

  14. Leigh AAR says:

    I still do use the library. And if the paperback version of a book is cheaper then the kindle version and I am in the store, I will buy it if it is a book I don’t think I will re-read. But I rarely go to the store now just for books. And it has at least six month since I have been to the USB.

    Several people have mentioned the lack of clutter and that is a big one plus for me too.

    A friend of mine received a nook for her birthday, and her grandsons both requested one for Christmas. They are about 10 and 14. So the younger generation is taking notice of e-readers.

    I love the fact that out of prints books are being converted to e-books. Finally reader will have a chance to read a long wished for book.

    Didn’t J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) write how rare paper books were in her world .

  15. EC says:

    I have had a Sony Reader for over 2 years and I love it! Great for travel as it has gone on all our vacations since 2008. It is so much better to put 10 books on the Reader and pack your bags with other stuff. I like this reader because I am able to check out books from my library. Along with my IPOD (for audiobooks & music), it is my favorite electronic device. It has made reading much easier while I am standing in line, at the doctor’s office or just waiting for something. I take it everywhere. My only complaint is how the 5 Agencies have refused to give us deals on the ebooks especially since they have less costs with ebooks.

  16. Janet W says:

    Oh it’s a plot … alright Leigh, only for you: by the time my birthday rolls around at the end of June, I’m going to OWN an e-reader!

    • JML says:

      Janet W: Oh it’s a plot … alright Leigh, only for you: by the time my birthday rolls around at the end of June, I’m going to OWN an e-reader!

      Welcome to the dark side; have a cookie!

  17. willaful says:

    It’s a little early to tell, but I think my Nook has helped/will help a lot with my book hoarding. I no longer feel the need to keep any and every book around “just in case.” I’ve dumped some of my TBR and I also got rid of a bunch of public domain keepers, freeing up more space. Feels good!

  18. xina says:

    My husband gave me an ipod for my birthday last summer. The very first app we put on it was the Kindle app. I somewhat reluctantly downloaded my 1st book, and started reading. 5 minutes later I was completely hooked. I loved it. I did a lot of reading on our deck overlooking our woods at night. It was so wonderful out in the summer night, my ipod, possibly a glass of wine…enjoying a book while listening to all the night sounds. Now…months later I have many, many books on my ipod and read from it every day. I love the conveniece of getting a book in seconds. I have also thinned out my paper books to only the books I really loved or the ones that have $$ value. However, I still buy paper books. I still love Barnes and Noble and various smaller bookstores. I still love checking out used book stores regularly. I don’t think I will ever lose the love of that. Still…I love reading e-books and have many of my favorites and have been on a big rereading binge lately. As for spending less now…I think I probably spend more, but I’m hoping to cut that down a bit. I’m trying to control myself a little more this year. Sadly, it adds up. I just got my bill today, and wow…I did some damage last month.

  19. xina says:

    In my post above, I meant ipad (not ipod). That is what I get for doing 3 things at once. :)

  20. Diane says:

    I thought I was the only one who drove around from store to store looking for that one book. I have embarassed my daughter more than once opening boxes at stores. I don’t have an ereader yet but it is only a matter of time and which one I want.

  21. Jill B says:

    I have cut back on book buying each year, but I have cut back even more dramatically since I got the Nook. I mostly just get library downloads and free titles, so I have spent almost no money on books since I got it. I got a nice sturdy cover for it and I carry it everywhere – I read two chapters waiting for the dentist this morning in his office and I didn’t mind waiting! I still get paper books at the library (my place of employment) but we are getting more and more patrons who want help learning to download ebooks to their devices. It may take quite some time, but libraries of the future are going to look very different, IMHO.

  22. Susan/DC says:

    No e-reader yet. I can walk to my local Borders in less than 10 minutes and to an independent bookstore in less than 15. I love browsing among all the books, getting a cup of coffee in the cafe, and running into people from the neighborhood. Trips to Borders have became part of my standard weekend routine, and I’ll miss it terribly if Borders goes out of business (the independent bookstore is wonderful but doesn’t carry romance). If truth be told, in these hard times I also like the idea that I am supporting jobs in my neighborhood.

    I understand the appeal of e-readers and certainly could do with less clutter, but I’ve not yet taken the plunge.

  23. renee says:

    Several years ago, my family gave me a sony reader which i maintain is the best book they ever got me :). I still go paper book shopping but in general I find having a reader which allows me to carry and read mutiple books at the same time has cured me of the desire to paper books. For Christmas this year, my family bought me a Nook color so I now have added some other features like email and internet browsing to my portable reading experience. And I love being able to download free books which exposes me to new authors and checking out a sample to help me make my purchase choice. I don’t think paper versions of books will totally disappear but the new technology has and will change our buying approaches. Dare I mention music albums, and CDs? Ipods and MP3 players have certainly changed the ways we buy our music.

  24. renee says:

    Sorry, I meant to say the Sony reader was the best gift they ever got me LOL.

  25. Linda says:

    My husband bought me a Kindle. I didn’t think I would like it but I do, especially when we are camping. I don’t download books from publishers that won’t discount. Those I buy from the local discount stores. I still get my hardback books from the library. I have to put a spending limit on how much I buy. However, I still am surprised when I get my Visa bill.

  26. Kristine says:

    When I got my I-pod last year one of the first apps I downloaded was the Kindle and I was able to access books instantly which meant I could have the book without waiting over a week to get it. One of the last book hunts I went on before, I had to wait until I recieved the money in order to get i wanted, I got my I-pod took going though 3 on-line stores because the book was a catergory historical that had gone out of print and then waiting over a week to get it and having to get other books so I would not pay almost as much for the shipping as the book. Now most books are available for at least 3 months on download so I can order it when I want it. So I do not have to do a hunt to get a book any more which makes my life easier, and without as much hassle of juts geting books means that I am reading more than before because I can buy one at a time and this means I can pick and chose as I want and it beats leaving the house just to get a book. I have no idea if this is going to help with my other book addiction and that is looking though used books for out of print gems. There is a historical website that lists every book that was published in each setting and at one time or another if the book’s is not outragious, and yes one circa 70′s historical is over $200 so I am not going to pay that much no matter how much I want it, I will make an effort to find it and I have found a number of them at one time or another. I do not know that the Kindle will help much with that much but I can hope.

    I am going to get my mother an E-book reader before the weekend is out. I wanted to get it for her for Christmas but I did not have enough money to get one. I decided on a Nook because it has a touch screen and fewer buttons that my mother has to figure out the better because she still has not idea how to use a computer yet, and she wants anything on line she asks me to do it. So I hope that she can use it with out a problem and I may buy a couple books that I need for my classes at the same time.

  27. Mary Anne says:

    I somewhat reluctantly got a Kindle before beginning a month-long trip at the end of last year. I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry enough books with me and had been told that it wasn’t easy to buy English-language reading materials where we were travelling. Turns out I really like the Kindle–although it also turns out that I didn’t read all that much of what was on it, since I kept busy with the in-flight magazines, local newspapers in English, touring, visiting, and using the internet. Still, I’m really glad I have the Kindle, since I can just grab it and go when I have an appointment, etc., and of course will take it along on future trips. I still buy (or will buy when I get a chance to go shopping) favorite authors in the form of “real books”–I just like the feel of a book in my hands, even though the Kindle is a very pleasant reading experience. And I’ll still take hardcover non-fiction out of the library. There are some bargains in ebooks (the Mark Twain autobiography for $10!) and the free books are great, but a lot of the romance books that I want are almost as expensive in ebook form as in paperback as are most of the non-fiction books. If I buy the paperback, I can give it away, trade it, or take it to a UBS. But I have discovered a few new authors through the free or really cheap romance books without adding to my TBR mountain or spending (much) money on an unknown. Now that I have it, I wouldn’t give my Kindle up.

  28. Kathy W says:

    I received a Kindle for my birthday from my sisters. (love you guys!!!!)
    It has been a wonderful addition to my crazed life. I can sneak in a few pages while I’m waiting in lines or to pick up one of my kids. I am fairly addicted to the Top 100 Free list. I check on it daily and select from it heavily. The K3 is small and light – fits in my purse easily. I am looking forward to taking it on travel in lieu of a stack of paperbacks that I read and leave (or lug back if it turns out to be a DIK).
    Now when I Power Search I can often buy instantly! Scary stuff (but whooo, what a thrill to have it in a minute!!!!)
    I still browse B&N, and am a card carrying member…I will continue to buy books with illustrations at the store too.
    I think the future has a place for both e-books and wood-based books –
    I definitely want both!!!!

  29. JMM says:

    While I love the feel and smell of paper books, I also like the idea of a Kindle.

    I’m just worried that “OMG! It shorted out, my library is LOST!” How do these readers work? Can you “store” books elsewhere?

    I admit, publishing being the way it is, ereaders are probably a godsend to writers who can’t get a publisher to take a chance on going to the expense of printing out/binding regular books.

    Oh, well. When I get a job and my car paid for…

  30. farmwifetwo says:

    With the kobo I can back them up onto my harddrive and a flash drive. I can reload/read them using Adobe Digital Editions. I can also load them to the device via ADE too.

  31. Harriett B says:

    I’ve had my kindle since February and I haven’t purchased a paper book since then. I take it everywhere I go. I especially love the adjustable font, so many books are using small fonts now! (And I’m not seeing as well as I used to!)

    JMM; you Kindle library isn’t just on your Kindle. You should have an app on your computer and they archive all the books you purchase. In addition you can have your Kindle library on up to 6 devices, so you’ll never lose them!

    The kindle hasn’t cured by book purchases, but there are so many free books, check out for reduced and free books daily.

    My hoarding days are over, I can load all of one series and have them with me all the time – awesome! This is definitely the way to go. I also enjoy reading and replacing out of print books that are now available as e-books and I agree with the reader who enjoys Indie authors, I have read so many books that I would never have had access to. They are reasonable and very entertaining.

  32. Claudia says:

    I love my e-reader but like many here I still love the feel of a ‘real’ book. I tend to give new authors or not-so-sure books a chance on my e-reader but I continue to buy the physical book of all my favorite authors for my collections. Definitely still browse the bookstores and second hand stores but I also browse the e-bookstores. It’s an addiction, I think :)

  33. Maureen says:

    I am addicted to my Kindle. I put off getting a Kindle as I love the feel of a ‘real’ book. Wow was I wrong! My husband suggested I purchase the Kindle, stating that we would end up like the individuals on the show Hoarders, surrounded by stacks of books, if I did not do something. I awoke today to a snow day, and Sabrina Jeffries’ new book already downloaded and ready to read on its release date. Now that is a great day!

  34. Suzanne says:

    The Kindle has changed my life in serveral remarkable ways:

    I’m never bored when waiting anywhere. I just whip out the Kindle and read

    I read almost twice as fast as I adjust the font and scan width to fit the way my eyes move across the page. Therefore, I read about threee times more books a year.

    I travel with 400 books with me so I never worry I have taken the wrong ones

    I get migraines so the feature where a somewhat mechanical voice reads to me is an amazing gift when I am locked up in a darked room for the day.

    I have read many of the letters of my favorite historical people thus not being dependent on others but being able to develop my own understanding of their motivations and personalities (Jefferson and Adams in particular).

    I love the “try a sample” feature, so I can try the book out.

    There are some disadvantages as have been discussed above. But for me the positives way exceed the disadvantages.

  35. Linda Wisdom says:

    I have a Nook and my husband’s mentioned alienation of affection. Now I love that they have shelves so all my sample chapters are in there, genres divided up and it’s nice that a pre order book will show up when it’s available. Or I can be anywhere and add to my library.

    A dangerous and wonderful thing!

  36. Konyha says:

    I’m late in responding but I really appreciate this article and can relate to so much that has been said. I was becoming awful about hoarding books. My reading patterns & purchasing habits are much more streamlined. Yes, I still love browsing in a bookstore – but that’s all it is.

  37. Cris says:

    My Nook is at the top of my “must-have” list. I have always been an avid reader. I used to beg to go to the book store like some kids beg to go to a toy store.

    My biggest problem has always been that, once I read a book, I can’t give it up. There was no way I could borrow a book from the library, fall in love with it, and then meekly give it back. I had to buy the books, and there was never any talk of selling or donating any of them. Needless to say, this resulted in some serious space issues.

    Now, I have my Nook. I get to have all of the books my little heart desires in this single device that is the size of only one book!

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