Notes on e-reading

My Kobo reader (a lovely Clara HD) died some months ago, having spent about a year with me. It could not be revived (probably the battery) and I was out of the warranty period. [In any case, I purchased this from Rakuten Kobo over Lazada, and the customer service was slow, but I took it as a sign and moved on.]

I have had Kindles but I got the Kobo because I wanted a device that could load titles from my local library via Overdrive. I was beginning my weaning off from physical books. It is safe to say that since I was a child, books were a significant portion of my spending. When I first started working, I spent Friday evenings buying books, and hoping I would have time to read them during the weekends. As all devout readers know, book-buying and reading are separate hobbies. Anyway, at the peak, I was buying around 50 books a year (the last time this happened was in 2018), and while I do manage to read most of them, book-owning was getting to me. The housemate also loves books, and we had piles too formidable for our relatively smaller home. So we started on our path towards e-books.

(Statistics: I bought 20 books in 2019, 14 in 2020, and 6 in 2021. I am at 9 for 2022. I read around 30 books a year.)

The Kobo was great – it had a warm lighting option, and worked well in bright daylight and also in bed. It was the size of a book but I could make the font bigger for my aging eyes. You could load fonts you like and/or geek out about which fonts are more suitable for e-readers (vs print). And so, the Kobo was great until it wasn’t and I was wondering if I would buy another e-reader. I wasn’t convinced that I needed one, and so I continued reading on my phone (as I have, using the Libby app).

Very happily (and belatedly), I realised that highlights made on the phone Libby app could be extracted easily. This suits me very well, because for non-fiction books, I usually have many highlights and this is a good way to keep them. [I tried hand-writing notes but it is either too disruptive to be switching to taking notes while reading, or too tiring to have to seek out and write notes after you are done with a book.] This merriment offset the mild gloom of realising I had no way of extracting the highlights I made on my now-dead Kobo.

So far, I am fine staying on this path of reading on my phone. Sometimes it annoys me that the screen is relatively small and I have to remember to take eye-care breaks. Sometimes, I wonder whether there is a better setup for myself, and I chuckled at this post on reading books on the iPhone. Sometimes, I wonder how much authors earn from e-copies lent out by the library. Because I worry about the bookshop closing down, I still buy books, which means I’d still need to dispose of some books from time to time. For that, I leave them at the book exchange corners of our public libraries.