I love to read and have probably bought several hundred ebooks over the last two or three years. I switched totally over to ebooks back on the Palm Xv and have never gone back to paper books. The convenience of carrying over 50 books around in […]

Open_bookI love to read and have probably bought several hundred ebooks over the last two or three years. I switched totally over to ebooks back on the Palm Xv and have never gone back to paper books. The convenience of carrying over 50 books around in my PDA is mind-boggling and I’ve never wanted for a good book to read. I use the eReader almost exclusively which provides a nice reading experience on both my Pocket PC and my Sony U-70 UPC. It’s nice that the two platforms share the same ebook format so I can use any ebook I buy on both devices.I’ve noticed a pattern in my reading that bothers me. I don’t read as much as I used to and I miss it. It’s not that I don’t have as much free time for reading as that hasn’t really changed. What’s changed that is affecting how I use that free time is connectivity. That’s right, connectivity. With the prevalence of WiFi in most places I spend a lot of time on the internet that I previously would have spent with a good book. High speed internet connectivity is such a draw that now instead of popping out my PDA and reading I jump on the internet and check email and a few web sites. Don’t get me wrong I love being able to keep up with the topics that interest me but I’m not reading as much. Which might be bad since in the past reading represented well-deserved down time. Working on the web is not letting me turn the old brain off and enjoying a good story that some author has worked hard to tell me. I’ve tried to make a concerted effort to read more but I still don’t spend as much time doing it as I used to. I miss it.

  1. I second what you’re saying. As I’ve gone back more and more to using my Palm T3 instead of my e800 (because of the WM2003 alarm problem), I am doing more without WiFi because the T3 doesn’t have it built in. As I reflect back on all the WiFi use I got out of my e800, the vast majority of it was just wasting time, just using it to pass the time. I am reading much more now than I did (on the T3 and sometimes on the e800, both using eReader), and I feel like I am making better use of my time.

    It’s interesting that you brought this up. I have been thinking for the past couple of days of doing a similar posting on my blog. The wording would have been different, but the thought is pretty similar.

    Take care

  2. Interesting point. I have also gone over to the ebook side, with roughly 90% of my book purchases in ebook format for Palm’s eReader.

    I don’t visit any hotspots, so I’m WiFi strictly at home. My approach is to keep the web browsing strictly to the first floor of my home. I keep a WiFi laptop running all of the time in the breakfast area of our house and take it with me to other rooms when I need to. This creates an artificial “barrier” and leaves the second floor for non-internet.

    With the barrier in place, I keep my e805 on my nightstand so I can read in bed. Having ebooks within arms reach upstairs keeps me focused on reading book content over web content. I also take the e805 to lunch and read at the local mall. I suppose I could surf there (there’s a TMobile shop), but I’m probably on the web a good 6 hours per day already. Using lunch as a “time out” helps give me some time to read.

    These approaches give me enough time to get through a book every 1 to 2 weeks. I would estimate that I read 50-75 books per year now; roughly a little more than when I reading print content a few years back.


    Sidenote to Bruce: I finally figured out Microsoft’s solution to the WM alarm problem…it’s their SPOT watch! The alarm hasn’t failed me yet! ;)

  3. Thanks for the tip on the SPOT watch Kevin! I am still thinking about getting one, and it could get me back into the Pocket PC circuit. Right now, though, I’m just too miffed at Microsoft for not fixing the WM2003 alarm problem. And, it’s not just that – it’s the problems with Microsoft Reader and with Voice Command not being upgraded to WM2003SE, and so on. Their overall support miffs me a bit, not that Palm is pristene, either. But, I’ll give the SPOT watch some more thought, and may wind up getting one. If I recall, you got one at Comp USA, and there is one fairly close to me. Once I become convinced that I have a way around the alarm problem, via the SPOT watch, I may even buy one of the new VGA Pocket PCs (the Dell X50 sounds pretty impressive). WHo knows?

    Anyway, James I apologize for getting off topic on this. Back to the reading aspect: clearly the 480×640 reading experience we all have on our e800’s is second to none in the PDA world, and a lot of folks could benefit from this great reading experience as VGA PDAs become more mainstream. (Another aside: my 320×480 Palm T3 also provides a good reading experience, but of course the e800 is even better.)

    I’m not sure I am as prolific with ebook reading as either you, James, or you, Kevin, but I am glad to be getting back more into ebook reading and more away from so much of the pointless WiFi browsing I was doing. Thanks James for pointing out to us how some of our activities can become habits that consume time far beyond what is appropriate, getting us away from the unwinding and educational value that e-reading can bring.

    Take care

  4. Bruce, thanks for the comments and I saw your blog entry on the same subject. Sounds good.

    Kevin, you’re not going to rest until I get a SPOT watch, are you? :)

  5. Great post! I’ve been noticing and thinking about the same thing, but for me it’s just the time spent at my desktop. I have a lot of interests and I love to search for new sites of interest. Plus I like to follow links of sites others find interesting. Add that to my “favorite” sites and special interest topics or tech sites that I follow, it is taking way too much time. I find my time spent on reading books is way down, as well as my time reading the Bible or Christian books.

    And I’ve noticed the same problem with other documents. I’ve been reading eWeek and PC Mag and tech journals etc etc when I’m home. That sucks up all my reading time fast, and “real” reading of tech books or novels sufferes. So I’m taking a step back to remember time is a valuable resource and I want to put the right time in the right place. Do I really need to learn more about views on copyright law? Do I really need to know every little new bit of news about the next Palm model rumors and tech devices and political events? I’m driven to do just that, but it’s not the right use of my time and energy. You can’t do everything.

    I also thought about people that are doing significant things, from the president to people running businesses, to the typical parent, etc. They usually aren’t even as up to date on stuff and news as I am. Maybe I ought to be doing stuff instead of reading about stuff other people are doing!

    I don’t have all the answers for setting new priorities in my life because it’s not as simple as it seems. I’ve got a lot of interests that I’m juggling, but it’s hard to figure out how to rearrange and what falls away. For example, it’s not as simple as picking the most important things unless you do it right and include “down time” like you talk about. And how do you keep track of all your “priorities” that you’re juggling without spending all day on the system to keep track?

    My answer will seem crazy to most I’m sure, but it’s time to spend more time in prayer, get peace in my heart and soul, and then let God guide my life more fully. That’s the only way I’ve found to get life “right”. It’s hard because I like to think I’m wise enough to figure things out on my own, but then I come back to the realization I’m happier depending, resting and trusting in God.

    Sorry, don’t mean to make this religious, but it’s simply the the only way I’ve found to find that simplicity and order and productivity in this complicated thing called life.

  6. James, thank you for the comments, and BobR thank you for your insights.

    It’s interesting that I have been thinking about writing an article on “Who’s Time Is It, Anyway?” as I sometimes hear people say that their time belongs to God, and I’m not sure there are many people who really realize what that means. I’m pretty sure I don’t realize what it means, fully, but I am confident in my belief that God gave us brains and decision-making capabilities and doesn’t want to micro-manage our lifes. Having said that, though, I can tell you that far too often I just waste time web browsing and watching TV, when I have already relaxed enough and could be doing something useful. Relaxation is good to a point, and it is necessary to a point, but I’ve have noticed that I may be doing it too much, and that I do not ask often enough “what do I really need to be doing with my life, and is my general direction consistent with what God would like for me to do, and are there specific things I need to be doing to help this be the kind of world it was intended to be?”

    I, too, do not want to turn this into a religious thread, as I respect the point that James made from the start: reading is a valuable way of relaxing the mind and planting seeds in it that can bear fruit later. I hope we don’t lose sight of that valuable insight, as I believe too many have done in today’s world. I know I wish my 33 year old son and 36 year old daughter would read, at least every once in a while, but they don’t. Perhaps they think I read enough for both of them, but my perspective is that I failed to teach them the value of opening up their minds to literature of all sorts. At least my oldest granddaughter loves to read, and I hope she carries that love with her throughout life.

    Anyway, thanks again for the thread James.



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