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Oct 5, 2020 - 6:35:31 AM
Players Union Member



12704 posts since 5/24/2005

One of my daughters has been a manager for many years for an independent book seller store.
Independent book stores continue to suffer and fade away due to Amazon, e-books, tv, covid, etc. and other changing reading habits.
I told her I would ask all of you for your reading habits.

Here are some questions I came up with:
1. How many books do you read per typical year?
2. What category of books do you read?
3. Do you read e-books, or buy paper books (hard bound or paper-back), or check out at libraries, etc?

Your answers and comments are appreciated.

Edited by - rinemb on 10/06/2020 06:31:06

Oct 5, 2020 - 6:52:01 AM

3022 posts since 4/29/2012

I'm an avid reader. I probably read 3 novels and a non-fiction book in a typical week - so probably up to 200 a year. I've got maybe 2000 books at home and have probably donated or given away a similar number that I'd never read again over the years. But I can't remember the last time I bought a new paper copy of a novel (over 5 years ?). It's all Kindle nowadays. And the quality of my reading has improved. I still read trashy thrillers. But the availability of classic literature as e-books either free or really cheaply means that I'm much more likely to try a classic. I also read more. I'm often lying in bed of an evening reading and when I finish a book I can immediately say "let's see what else they've written" and download it - or try a significant sample. So authors and publishers are making more from me, but bookshops a lot less.
I love bookshops, and feel guilt that I will browse in my local bookshop and then buy on my Kindle. But I fear they will go the way of the slide-rule.

Oct 5, 2020 - 6:58 AM
Players Union Member



12704 posts since 5/24/2005

When I was in Paris a couple of years back, one of our cab drivers owns a book shop that has been in the family for generations. He now mostly specializes in books of antiquity, then drives a cab to pay the bills. I assume the independent book sellers in London, are struggling as well.
Thanks for your reply, Brad

Oct 5, 2020 - 7:11:06 AM

3022 posts since 4/29/2012

If my experience is anything to go by the antiquarian book market also has issues. I used to collect antique books - Anything from the early days of evolutionary theory, which got me buying anything I found from the "International Scientific Series" (a series of over 100 books on scientific topics published between about 1880 and 1910). If I occasionally found one in a 2nd hand books shop or on a market stall it was a real buzz. I can now go online and find just about anything I want in a few minutes. It's taken all of the fun out of collecting and I no longer bother.

Text books too. I still have the 2 metres of science text books that got me through my degree. My son was a science student a few years ago. Never saw him with a book. It was all online. The shelf of computer books that I built up over my software engineering career is in  boxes waiting for the charity shops to re-open. For the past few years I can learn anything I need to know online. My wife, a retired art teacher and art history buff has a bookcase full of art books. But I don't think she's added to it recently - again all reference is online.

Edited by - AndrewD on 10/05/2020 07:18:10

Oct 5, 2020 - 7:26:02 AM

1816 posts since 2/12/2009

I also read a lot and, always have done since reading "Stig of the dump" at about age 8 ! I generally receive books from my kids for birthdays and Xmas, they know my tastes, otherwise all my books tend to be bought from ebay or charity shops, unless it is a specific reference book I need I rarely buy new these days.

Oct 5, 2020 - 7:30:14 AM

Paul R


13354 posts since 1/28/2010

I can't tell the quantity per week/month/year 'cause it varies, but I read a fair amount. Before Chapters moved (and became Indigo) I was buying lots of their discounted hardcovers, mostly history so that was a good fit. I have hundreds of books on art, history, theology, philosophy, education, music, and cycling, and some fiction. I also buy certain periodicals such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic, as well as American Art Review, and certain music publications when I can find them at the bookstore (such as Fretboard Journal). Lately the Internet has been cutting into my reading time, with columns (e.g.: Jennifer Rubin) and letters (e.g.: Heather Cox Richardson) coming my way. I'm also starting to buy books for our seven-year-old granddaughter.

We have one independent bookseller here, and one used book seller. The latter is good for finding books about art.

Oct 5, 2020 - 7:32:29 AM

1816 posts since 2/12/2009

whoops, I guess I failed to answer your specific questions Brad,

1, probably upward of 200
2, I enjoy history a bit and, classic Victorian stuff
3, I sometimes use the kindle I received one Xmas from my kids but, anything suits from dogeared used paperbacks to nicer hardback editions.

hope this helps.

Oct 5, 2020 - 7:36:02 AM
Players Union Member



12704 posts since 5/24/2005

I used to check out 3-4 books for every job I went out on. Which lasted for 5-10 days each, staying in a small jobsite trailer or shack. Then the operators started adding dish tvs to the trailers and I started playing the banjo. This really cut into my reading.
My daughter gives me a new book every birthday and Christmas. Also, we get a "family" discount for all purchases. We still buy quite a few books and go to many of the author events...well, live author events have been on hiatus since covid.
To support our daughters livelihood, wife and I do not buy or read ebooks. Only rarely do I find the need to buy an Amazon book.
I noticed you can even buy air sprays that smell like book paper and print. So when you read an ebook you can spray the room for the proper atmosphere.

Oct 5, 2020 - 8:18:34 AM

33 posts since 1/17/2019

1. 25/year
2. 80% historical non fiction, 20% fiction
3. Since March been using ebooks from the library. Prior to covid Used hard cover from library (which I prefer)

Oct 5, 2020 - 8:26:44 AM

2324 posts since 4/22/2018

I read far far less now than I did 10 years ago.

Maybe 30 books a year.
More factual/biographical books than novels
Paper books - usually bought online due to where I live and access to physical book stores

Oct 5, 2020 - 8:40:53 AM



1452 posts since 8/1/2005
Online Now

I probably buy around ten paper books a year, but realistically only get all they way through about three or four of them. I pretty much only read while on vacation nowadays. I’m dyslexic and a slow reader.

But I have an audio book subscription and probably listen to about one book a month. Maybe more I’m not really sure.

I do own a Kindle, but I’m not sure where it is and I never really got into using it. That reminds me I need to go look for it. I did enjoy using it.

I read all kinds of books, but mostly fiction and biographies.

If you take children’s books into account, then wow I’m very well-read! I read for my kids each night. My kids and I don’t have the same taste in literature. Lol.

Oct 5, 2020 - 8:42:18 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)


25135 posts since 8/3/2003

I don't know how many I read a year, but I read daily ... make that nightly, in bed until I get sleepy. Probably in the range of 10 to 15, but that's a guess.

I like mysteries, whodunits, medical novels. I can't stand romantic novels (I know, I'm weird).

I purchase books at the store, buy online for my Kindle and sometimes my friends and I exchange books, usually paperbacks.

Oct 5, 2020 - 9:02:10 AM
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56053 posts since 12/14/2005

Someone once said that it is odd to think about what reading a book really IS.

We stare at ink stains on  slivers of trees for HOURS, hallucinating wildly the whole time.

I enjoy mysteries and sci-fi and thrillers like what Tom Clancy writes.

Used to do about a half a book a day, when I had less to do.

Now do maybe one book every two months or so, but subscribe to 3 magazines and a newspaper.

Strange but true:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about Sherlock Holmes actually CHANGED the way police work is done.

Arthur C. Clarke predicted geosynchronous satellites.

Franklin W. Dixon*  predicted the  camera/telephone (1914)

Chester Gould predicted the wrist-sized radio. (Dick Tracy comics)


* Various freelance writers wrote the TOM SWIFT, Boy Inventor stories, which were published AS IF written by Franklin W. Dixon.

Oct 5, 2020 - 9:14:05 AM
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Players Union Member



12704 posts since 5/24/2005

The same bookstore where my oldest daughter works, is the same shop that when my kids were toddlers to reading on their own, I would go to that shop every payday and buy them each a nice hardbound children's book. When they were very young I would buy less wordy but beautifully illustrated stories. Then eventually, the books had no pics and more words.
We read aloud every night to them.
We pitied the babysitters when they showed up and the girls had already selected a stack of books for her to read-more than she could read the entire evening.

Oct 5, 2020 - 9:23:07 AM
Players Union Member

Brian T


17265 posts since 6/5/2008

I have enjoyed reading print all my life. Best estimate is 2,000 titles in my little library.
I find myself shifting away from fiction, principally were the big names and up-and-coming names in science fiction. A lot of reference books, many of which I have actually read in their entirety.

Now, it's a lot of food writing and anthropological works about the western First Nations in North America. If the books come in a set of several volumes, open stock, I buy them all. Can't stand broken sets.

A special thanks to the little used book shop in our village. She has gone out of her way for the obscure things she knows that I'll buy. Hindsight leads me there to fill in gaps in sets, too.

Questions and answers:
1. Probably read 20 books in a year, no more than 30. Substantial amount of e-reading online.
2. Food writing, Anthropology, a few cook books each year.
3. I have been a great supporter of libraries both as a patron and as a donor.
My preference is to buy the books, new or used. is useful. They make those after-midnight credit card purchases all too easy.

Oct 5, 2020 - 9:42:29 AM

3022 posts since 4/29/2012

And I forgot about cookery books. Into cooking and eating and have a yard or two of books in the kitchen, but the only cookery books I've acquired in the last few years have been gifts. If I want to know how to make something I'll go online. I'm a particular fan of Felicity Cloake's "How to cook the perfect..." column in The Guardian.
I really got into the Kindle when I was regularly flying across the Atlantic for work and staying in hotels. Having 1000 books in my pocket really helped.

Oct 5, 2020 - 9:51 AM



53692 posts since 10/5/2013

I’ve always had a book or two on the go, but the past few years has me taking much longer to finish them what with online activities and instrument practice/playing.
I have kindle but I’d much rather read from a traditional book - there’s a comfort zone there.
Rarely read novels anymore - mostly books about music, sports, history, or spirituality. Some favourites though are still Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, O. Henry short stories, and W.O. Mitchell novels.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 10/05/2020 09:52:42

Oct 5, 2020 - 10:03:40 AM



146 posts since 12/13/2012

The only paper book I read any more is the Bible and that's really only at Church; the rest of the time I have a Bible app on my tablet and phone.

The rest of my "reading comes from Audible audiobooks; listen to one a month, mostly fiction.

Oct 5, 2020 - 10:06:28 AM

587 posts since 8/14/2018

I've worked in publishing for 30 years, so what I read has been somewhat dependent on that (reading for work and reading for myself becomes a blurry distinction). I've read plenty of books only because I was paid to read them. These days mostly what I actually buy is cookbooks, though even that not so much, as I have a whole bookcase full and don't really need more. I used to work in science fiction publishing, but after burning out on that I unloaded a lot of my collection, just keeping books by friends and people I worked with.

Oct 5, 2020 - 10:15:04 AM

4014 posts since 11/29/2005

1. How many books do you read per typical year?
So far this year, 43 total with about 10 more on the table next to the chair. (I have 3 going at the moment)
2019: 60
2018: 25
2017: 41
2016: 30
2015: 41
2014: 64
2013: 59
2012: 61

2. What category of books do you read?
Sci/Fi, science, fiction, humor, politics (really only picked these up over 2016-2020).

3. Do you read e-books, or buy paper books (hard bound or paper-back), or check out at libraries, etc?
Hard-bound, paper-back, then, only as a last resort, e-books (hard to find except at B&N for Nook - I have an old one of those, B&W only) as I find them hard to read. I buy a lot of books, and use the Library very often. I have given scads of books away over the years, often a trade-in at a used-book store for credit on more books.

I prefer independent book-stores, but will often use the brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble, or purchase through them through their site on-line if I can't get out. I read very few e-books, since I prefer the heft, smell, and tactile ability to easily find desired pages in a paper book; "let's see, that info was about -this- far back in the book" riffle, riffle, "ah, here we are!"

(Brad, if you're interested, I have an Excel spread sheet that includes most of the books I've read since 2012, when I started keeping the list. I'd post it here but I don't think I can upload an xls format file.)

Oct 5, 2020 - 10:16:44 AM

2270 posts since 2/10/2013

I buy lots of music books. Many of the books I buy are only available online.

If local sources had the ability to spiral some material, I would special order books through a store and have them spiral bound. Spiral bound books are easier to use and don't fall apart as easily. I asked Mel Bay why they stopped spiral binding some publications. They told me that book dealers requested that they do this. That my help the dealers, but makes things harder for the people using the publications - tear down book, buy plastic inserts, buy 3 ring binder, insert each page in plastic insert, then place in 3 ringer binder. Doing this costs almost as much as the publication(s).

Oct 5, 2020 - 11:04:27 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


24105 posts since 6/25/2005

15-25, depending...
History; politics; contemporary journalism; some music & musicians
Only real books; no e-books at all..
Note: much of my reading is current news, mostly on the net; I have 4 internet edition newspaper subscriptions plus the local paper.

Oct 5, 2020 - 11:52:52 AM

587 posts since 8/14/2018

Originally posted by Richard Hauser

I buy lots of music books. Many of the books I buy are only available online.

 I asked Mel Bay why they stopped spiral binding some publications. They told me that book dealers requested that they do this.

Perfect binding is a lot cheaper. And warehousing spiral bound books is a PITA.

Oct 5, 2020 - 11:56:02 AM
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Players Union Member



12704 posts since 5/24/2005

As expected a lot of variety in all of your posts.
When this topic runs its course, I will have to somehow summarize it in a decent representative report.
I told my daughter we do have a diverse bunch of folks on BHO, in background and interests.
You have already verified that, for sure.

Oct 5, 2020 - 4:47:58 PM
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Banjo Lefty


2042 posts since 6/19/2014

We have ten bookcases in our house, all stuffed full. At some point a couple of years ago, I became unhappy with the haphazard way in which the books were shelved, as I couldn't find anything, so I pulled all of them off the shelves and laid them out in a row which I then arranged alphabetically by author, separating fiction from non-fiction. The row of books snaked from the front of the house to the back, turned, and went back to the front, three times! We culled out about 300 volumes that were duplicates, or books we simply didn't want anymore, and gave them away to be sold at the Children's Hospital Bookfair. The I reshelved them all, and when I was finished, the book cases looked just as full as before the operation. Now, two or so years later, the shelves are overflowing, the books are out of order, and there are piles on the floor in our bedroom -- books waiting to be read. My best guess is that we own over 3,500 books. I read maybe 100 a year, my wife easily 3 times that. We also recycle -- the mysteries collect in a specific corner, and are eventually sold back to the local mystery bookstore; the science fiction goes to the Bookfair; the history books, particularly those about the American Civil War, go to a friend of ours who has an interest; some others get sent to our children. And yet we can barely keep the number down to a manageable level.

We don't read ebooks.

Oct 5, 2020 - 5:42:45 PM



1044 posts since 12/2/2012

1. I'm a fairly slow reader and like to "savor" the author's writing. And so, maybe one a month, depending on the length.

2. History/biography, non-fiction, occasionally fiction - if it has been written a long time ago. . . My current favorite biographer is Ron Chernow. He replaced David McCollough, who had replaced Stephen Ambrose, who had replaced William Manchester. . .

3. Prefer hardback books. If need be, I'll wait until a hardback book has been out a while and get it at either a discount or find used. Although on my birthday or at Christmas my son will sometimes buy me a book (via Amazon of course) that i've been "hankerin'" to read.

I enjoy buying books that are vintage, perhaps antique even. For example, I this summer I bought (via E-Bay, I think) and read "Pardner of the Wind" (1945 publication) by N. Howard (Jack) Thorp. The first chapter of the book is the basis for the 1940 Atlantic article "Banjo in the Cow Camps."

Mrs. Wyozark downloads and read Victorian Era novels for free on her tablet. She's a very fast reader and has consumed nearly all Mary Elizabeth Braddon's works.

When I was in college I was so inspired by Thomas Jefferson's library that I too wanted a library of my own consisting of only hardback books. I'd sneer at those who had their cherished paperback book, broken by continued reading, held together with a rubber band. I thought I'd have a "curated" library, and one that would be worthy of being passed down. Over forty five years later, it's essentially an obsolete proposition. I need to start giving away or selling stuff off. I'll keep a lot of it, but I hate to think of my kids having to figure out what to do with it when I'm gone.

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