Book Club January 26, 2020

How many books do you read?

Tomas Martty @tmartty

Is it 1 book every month?

3 or 4 a year?

Maybe one every now and then?

Also, do you buy them at a library (if physical) or online?

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    I read ~40 serious, non-fiction books in the last eight months. Before that I must have read around 3-5 books in the last five YEARS.

    Buying a Kindle was the game changer for me. I bought the Kindle Oasis and it slips comfortably into my jacket pocket; it's with me wherever I go.

    My style is a bit weird though; I exclusively read non-fiction, and read between 30-40 books concurrently. That way, I always have something to read that fits my current mood when I pull out my Kindle. In fact, while I completed around 40 books over the last eight months, I'm anywhere between 5% and 70% through another 20 or so books, which will slowly finish over the coming months.

    Second, I end up reading in all the nooks and crannies of time during the day (e.g. my commute, during the two or three minutes walking from my office to the cafe downstairs, or between sets at the gym). Having the Kindle in my pocket is the big factor for me; before this, I used to lug around physical books (which I never thought I could give up). The other factor is the top-lit display; I can read it in the evenings and nights while walking somewhere.

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      I think a ritual, e.g. commuting, is a great tool to let you read through your books. I'm curious, how long are your average reading sessions? I never read longer than 45min, averaging somewhere at 10-20min. What about yall?

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        Indeed, I used to commute ~2 hours daily by train (an hour each way), which are also my longest reading sessions. However, I was doing that before I had the Kindle as well, and I didn't read as much back then. The difference for me was:

        1. Having a variety of books at my fingertips. Earlier I used to carry a single (heavy) book during the commute, but was not always in the right mood to read it. Now, I get to pick and choose what I'll read from a huge variety. Also, tracking bookmarks on a large variety of physical books is a pain. With the Kindle, I resume exactly where I left off even if I last picked up the book months ago. I typically back up a few pages to regain context, and continue.

        2. The little bits of reading I get done during the day seem to contribute to progress a lot. Also, over the last eight months, I've seen my reading speed improve significantly.

        3. Giving up on the idea of finishing books. When I was buying physical books, I always felt guilty dropping them halfway through. With the Kindle, I just don't care. I'll read lots of books up to 10-15% and just move on. It's been a great way to sample a wide set of books from a variety of authors. Also, the email-to-kindle feature is fantastic for my laziness; I never have to pull out a cable to connect it to my laptop.

        4. Finally, customizing font, spacing, and margins has been a huge speed boost. (1) I use the OpenDyslexic font in the Kindle, and although I'm not dyslexic (as far as I know!), I find that my reading speed is faster thanks to it's weighted characters. (2) I increased line spacing until I wasn't scanning the same line twice by mistake. (3) I reduced the side margins to form a narrower column of text; this makes it easy for me to scan a line without a lot of eye movement. And finally, (4) I increased the font size to 4 to make it easier on the eyes; something you can't do in physical books.

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      That's just an amazing style though!

      So you completely dropped physical books? What happened with the ones you already had?

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        Yes, I completely switched to ebooks. I had a very large collection of physical books that have gone pretty much untouched since I purchased my Kindle! (I've even boxed up a large portion of them and put them in storage.)

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          Hmm, why not give them away? Maybe a library or some charity? Or just friends and relatives.

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    None! I don't read books! Okay joking, but true in a way as majority of my books last year have been in the form of audiobooks borrowed from library. I am curious why do you ask? What are trying to learn from this question :)

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      If you're curious you can read the other conversations I had on this post! You'll find the motive of my question ;)

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    1-2 a year

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      ebooks or physical? What genre usually?

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        I like audiobooks. I probably don't read enough to have a genre haha

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    I buy probably 3-4 books a week and read at minimum one each week (on average).

    Last week, I read 4 short books (~120 pages each).

    I abandon a lot of books after about 20%~. Sometimes I return, but most of the time I don't.

    I prefer Kindle books, but I buy hard copies when a Kindle edition isn't available (or it's absurdly cheaper to do so).

    Now that I'm posting notes on my personal website, I'm spending more time writing / reflecting on what I read. This means I'm reading less than I used to. But, I like it better because I'm taking more away from each read.

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      Yess, it's really helpful and more insightful to write about what you're reading. I've personally set myself to write a blog post on each book I read after I finish it and before I start the next one. So I forbid myself of starting a book if I haven't written on the previous one.

      So what happens with books you've finished or abandoned? You just keep them around, throw them, sell them or..?

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        They're on kindle, so they're with me everywhere I go ... ready to be rediscovered.

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          I meant with the physical ones

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            They either sit in stacks or on bookshelves around the house, or I give them away.

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              So unless you give them away, they're pretty much dead in a stack or a bookshelf.

              Now, what if you could give them a second life by sharing them with others? Like "hey I finished this book, anyone else want to read it?". You'd let people know your book is up for grabs through an app and let neighbors contact you to pick it up.

              What do you think?

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                connect people with books, great idea.

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                I do that sometimes.

                There are others I would offer to give away, but my concern / the roadblock would be the time investment / logistics of the give away.

                I.e. If you made it super easy for me to give them away / it made me feel good to do so, I would probably do it.

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                  Well, it'd be geolocated so mostly neighbors.

                  And also probably specifically targeting big cities where there's way more people and you could grab books from people in your same building/block.

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                    The social component - "bond over books" would be an interesting value prop with that.

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    It varies. It's also really hard to measure since my apartment is full of partially read and then abandoned books. Some I get back to and finish but many others, I don't. The low end is maybe one a week, the high end is one a day or maybe a bit more if I get sucked into a series.

    I like physical books more but for convenience it's usually kindle books plus very occasional trips to the used book store.

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      Yeah, ebooks are usually more convenient but it's nothing like reading physical paper books.

      So you say you have lots of abandoned books, do you end up selling them or lending it to others? And what about buying new physical books, how often does that happen?

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    I read 5-6 books a month. over 60 books a year. buy them used mostly. im an old school, i read physical books.

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      I just checked out your website and it's awesome! It's good to write about everything you read, so as to share thoughts and ideas and also encourage others to read more. I noticed you have referral links to amazon on each post, is that profitable?

      Also, if I may ask you, what do you do with books after you finish them?

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        amazon: not profitable ( they even terminated my affiliate program, fair enough) because I didn't do anything much about it, just put an SEO plugin but I never promote my site or write seductive review. the site is not what I focus on at the moment. though I have another idea to test Bookdepositary affiliate program. gotta make time for this little project.

        books after I finish reading them: 99% I keep them the rest is either let friends borrow or give away. I am a reader and a book collector. I like to pick up a book to reread or reexamine again and again.

        I'm not sure of what you are trying to pursue here but feel free to ask away. happy to help.

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          I was wondering when people would get curious after so many questions, ha.

          I'm building a book lending platform, where you can put your books up for grabs once you finish them, and grab someone else's if they're available.

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            apparently book swapping exists and very common. I used to do it before for a few years in a book club, met up once a month to do, we call it, bookcrossing. The problem I had with this was book got lost, couldn't remember who borrow my books, 2. the person claimed it was her books, 3. people do leave to new places and never return books. Although I don't do book swapping at the moment but I'd be more comfortable and happier if there is a platform to accompany this kind of transaction/activity.

            also another random situation, there are publishers who give away free books to reviewers, the books influencers give away books to their fan etc. this activity is done by either Instagram DM or email.

            anyway, I've done a quick research and found that there are fb groups who organize book swapping. Also, I highly recommend do check on Instagram with a hashtag #bookswap if you haven't. Read some of those posts, there are insights that could initiate many ideas for your nitch. Good luck!

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              Thanks! I'm familiar with the book swapping concept and book clubs doing these kind of things. But what I'm thinking of is more of book giveaways, without expecting the book to be returned or even to get another one in exchange. It'd probably be a paid community, where you know you're not giving the book to some random folk who might end up selling it, but rather someone who'll give it good use, take care of it and then once he finishes it, give it up to someone else that wants to read it.

              What do you think? Any suggestions?

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                I am going to give my 2 cents.

                I don't think this concept could work as a paid community. Why would I pay money when I could buy a used copy for pretty much the same? Especially if I am not expected to get something in return, and even if I do, who knows if I will enjoy the book.

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                  Hey, thanks for hopping in!

                  Well, the price of being part of the community would have to be cheaper than the price of buying the book, whether it's new or used.

                  What you'd get in return for being part of the community is the possibility of, for a flat monthly price, grabbing any used physical book from people around you, for less money than buying it. You'd probably have a benefit for putting your own books up for grabs, so maybe a free month every 5 books you lend someone else.

                  What other monetization options could you think of?

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                I think it doesn't hurt to look up at #bookstagram (38.9M) or #bookswap community a little bit. those are instant, free insight. even reddit has several books community. run a survey, validate a hypothesis or something. hear it from other communities. i personally wouldn't want to pay to be a part of a community. I already have one, it's free and im ok with it. i don't care so much for free books though. Now I imagine using your platform as craiglist, i post a book that i wanna give away, write a quick note or a long review, the condition of the book (like new, fair, good etc). or if i am looking for some book, I could post as well. users can rate one another as well.

                monetize, i don't know, sell ads to publishers, self-published?

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                  I understand, they're all valid points.

                  I'll check out those communities you mentioned, thanks a lot Anny for the feedback and the suggestions!

                  Yup, monetization might be an issue.

  7. 1

    I read a book per week, and 80% of those are ebooks from my library (through OverDrive/Libby).

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      That's a lot of reading, cheers.

      Apart from the obvious reasons, why ebook and not physical books? Have you tried local libraries?

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        Ebooks are generally more convenient (don't have to physically acquire them, don't have to use 2 hands to hold the book open, can travel with 100s of them in my backpack, automatically have them synced on my phone for when i'm waiting somewhere unexpected, etc, etc). I occasionally check out a book from my library if there's some I really want to read and there's not an ebook version of it.

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          And libraries usually have it? Or have you happened to not find a book neither digital nor physical?

          Yeah, the two-hands-to-hold-it is probably the biggest advantage for me too, but I'm getting better at one-handing physical books too.

          What about piracy? What percentage of ebooks you have you actually paid for? Don't worry, I'm not FBI.

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    I read probably 2 books a month on average, sometimes more, sometimes less (depends on what I’m reading). 100% of the books I read are physical and come from my local library.

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      That's quite a lot, also go physical books!

      If I may ask, do you pay a monthly fee on your library? How much? Also, have you had any issues like them not having a specific book or any other problem they could improve on?

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    I probably AVERAGE one per month, but in reality it's several months without reading at all, and then I'll finish a book every 5 days for a while, and then repeat that cycle.

    I feel like I have this natural producing vs consuming cycle and am unable to do both at the same time. Not sure if I should try to change that or not.

    Fun question!

    Also, I get them all, mostly ebooks, through my library.

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      That's cool, so it's not like super consistent but maybe you get an urge and read intensively for a short period of time.

      If you could instantly have it right now in your hand, would you rather read a book physically or in ebook format?

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        Definitely paper book. But I travel a lot (in Chile right now for example) and so I've gotten on board with Kindle life. It's not half bad. But I still prefer paper. You?

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          Well yeah, travelling is an issue in regards to moving around with physical books. Ebook is the best solution.

          I usually read on my tablet (pirated pdfs) but buy physical ones every now and then through, which has free global delivery. If I could I'd read everything physical but they're not cheap and most titles here in Argentina are translated into Spanish and I like reading in the authors original language.

          With all the travelling you do, what happens with books you've already read? Do you keep them somewhere or give them away?

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            I only own two Brené Brown books, and Fight Club, hah. Despite living a mile away from Powell's in Portland, I borrow ALMOST everything from the library. And on the rare occasion that I buy a book, I'll obnoxiously mail it to a friend afterward and demand that (s)he read it... or put it in a Little Free Library nearby.

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              That's wonderful.

              Any issues you've experienced with libraries in general? Do they always have enough variety? Isn't it expensive? Far away?

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                Libraries are completely free in the USA. And I can borrow from abroad! I just log in to my account and search and they don't care that I'm out of country. I click "borrow" and then the big gets automatically sent to my Kindle the next time I have wifi.

                Selection is pretty damn incredible. Often I won't get my first choice right away. But I can either put a hold and get it in a week or two, or I can usually get my 2nd or 3rd most wanted book.

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                  Wait a minute, so you can borrow ebooks from a library, for free? What the...

                  Umm, and what about newer books, is there availability in general?

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                    Hah, yeah. It's wonderful. There's often a line for brand new stuff The library will buy maybe 40 copies of a book, and then lend them out for 2-3 weeks to people. Works the same for physical and digital books. I've never had to wait more than 5 weeks. But usually there's not a single book I want to read that badly. If the book I want is taken I just go to the next one in line.

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                      Thanks for the link, will check it out and investigate. I had never heard of that concept. I'll see if there's anything similar here in Argentina. Thanks again Patrick!

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                      @tmartty though there are MANY libraries in the states that do the same thing. Maybe even most?

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                      It is! Could you link me to that library so I do some research?

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