How do you use your reading device?

The topic of this post came to me as a question while responding to a comment on my last post. I confess, I rarely learn all the functions of my electronic devices, and sometimes, even when I know about them, I forget to use them. It doesn’t help that most of these devices no longer come with print manuals. Having to access an online manual annoys me.

Anyway, the electronic device in question today is the e-reader. I have a Kindle, a Kindle 3 to be exact, the one with the old-fashioned button keyboard. I’ve used it for almost two years, but I’ve not used it fully. I know how to open and page through a book, of course. I’ve tried the read-to-me feature, but the robotic voice drives me nuts.  I even know how to send documents to my Kindle by email.  But there are other features I’ve never used.

I’ve used the Menu button mainly to access the Wireless function and the “Go to” function, but only to go to the beginning or end of the book. I have never used: Search This Document, Add Bookmark, Add Note or Highlight, etc. Until two days ago, I didn’t even realize the progress bar that appears at the bottom of the screen as you read shows tick marks indicating chapter beginnings. And then I found out you can skip forward and backward through these chapters by clicking.

Yeah, I’m an electronic doofus.

The thing is, I read e-books differently than I do print books. I prefer the print version of reference books and books I will likely read more than once—like those of my favorite authors. Those are the books I add bookmarks or notes and highlights to. I use my e-reader mostly for easy, quickly read fiction. I don’t believe publishers will cease printing books in my lifetime, though I do expect to see a steady increase in books published in digital format only.

Now, here’s my question—rather, series of questions—for e-reader users. How do you use your e-reader? Do you use all its features? Do you add notes and highlights the way you do in print books? Of the books you’ve read in the last year, what percentage were digital? Do you read all types of books on your reader or do you prefer to read certain books in print? If you’d like to answer an e-reader question I didn’t ask, have at it.

20 thoughts on “How do you use your reading device?

  1. I have done the notes features on my older Kindle – the one with the buttons like yours (I have since purchased a Kindle Fire HD 7″ as well) – I upload my draft novel and as I read it, if I find an error, I’d make a note right onto the kindle, then when done, I’d look over those notes — there were frustrations with it, but all in all it was nifty.

    Now, with the Kindle HD, I let it read to me using the computer voice and the voice was not bad at all! I made notes on paper that time, though. I want to record myself reading it and listen back to it, but that’s later down the line.


    1. You are more patient than I am, Kat. I can’t use that tiny Kindle keyboard to type in notes. I edit by uploading my WIP to Kindle and reading it as I sit in front of my computer with my WIP pulled up in Word. I recorded myself reading Brevity, but I didn’t with this book, though I did read it aloud. I’ll have to hear the voice on the Fire; maybe it’s better.

      Do you not read many books, other than your WIP, on your Fire?


      1. The notes thing on the old kindle was a little frustrating – I’d use mostly one to three words just to remind me, but I am curious how it would work on the new one.

        I like the old kindle better for reading novels; however, I was surprised I could read novels on the newer one as well – and if the electricity goes out, that backlight would be nice 😀 – I’ve been reading more and more on my kindles . . . like you, I still buy print books but I’m able to buy many many more books because of kindle – I can “try out” authors and books I may not if I didn’t have it!


        1. I have my eye on the Kindle Paperwhite, Kat, because of the led-lit screen, but I find it hard to read for long on the computer screen because of the backlight, so I imagine the Fire would be the same for me.

          And yes, trying out new authors is more affordable with e-book prices. Or even better, FREE. 🙂


  2. I have a Samsung tablet, which sort of counts as an e-reader. I mostly use it for playing Fruit Ninja, and occasionally reading self-published books that I need to review. I don’t really use it for much else.


      1. As of right now, yes. I definitely prefer print books to ebooks. That being said, my adventures in ebook reviewing have introduced me to several ebooks that I quite enjoyed, so I can’t discount ebook readers entirely.


  3. In the last year, 75% of the books I’ve read have been in ebook. I will buy a print book of my favorite authors, BUT I also won’t buy in ebook for more than $5. That’s too much IMO. These publishers who mark their books to $7, $8 +, they’re crazy, I’ll buy a physical copy for that.
    I only like reference books in print. I don’t want to deal with flipping through a book on my kindle when I can flip and find what I want much faster if I’m holding the book. This has become a problem for me because I’ve found what looks like pretty helpful books in e form only and I won’t bother with them.
    I highlight a lot on my kindle and I love using it to edit. I also love that I can sync my phone because I like to read on my lunch break at work, or while waiting for appointments.


    1. I agree with that e-book pricing, Dana. I’m afraid I still think of print books as “real” books. And you reminded me that I, too, once looked for a reference book and passed when I found it only in digital.

      I’ll have to explore highlighting. And I also use my iPhone Kindle app to keep reading when I find myself waiting somewhere.


  4. I use my e-reader when I travel. I still have many print books I haven’t read yet so I read them on the buis and at home. Like you, I have not made use of all the extras with my Sony e-reader, but I do like it. I tend to need to be retrained everytime I need to download a new book into it!


  5. I’m primarily an e-book reader, and like you I prefer my reference books in print, along with cookbooks and other things. I like to just flick through and see what catches my eye, and I don’t know, there is something about that I can’t seem to grasp in digital format.
    I have the old keyboard version too, and it’s nice to hear that the other features are maybe easier to use on the touch screens. I’m hoping to upgrade when the Paperwhite is available over here in NZ.


  6. I’m almost complete convert to eReading, especially since getting my Kindle Fire HD (and you can adjust the brightness of the screen as well as the font size, so that might help some people). I use highlights extensively for academic reading and this version of the kindle renders them so much more accessibly than the previous version. These days, unless I absolutely MUST have a book (it’s course work maybe), I pass if it’s not digital.
    Like you, Linda, I haven’t explored all the options but I am more likely to do so because the interface is so much more engaging. Yep – I’m a sucker for colour!


    1. One of my granddaughters has the Fire, Suzanne. While I agree the colors are pretty, and it’s cool for its other functions, reading on it is exactly the same as reading on a computer screen to my eyes. I do think I’d really enjoy the touch screen though.


      1. Is that the case even if you turn down the brightness? You’re right, the touch screen is a gift and the functionality is superb, it would be a shame to miss out on that if there were a way round the reading problem. Still, we can’t have everything, can we? 🙂


        1. The Kindle Paperwhite has a touch screen, but is not backlit, Suzanne. It has tiny led lights hidden along the bottom that light up the screen, so that’s easier on the eyes. It’s not color though. It also doesn’t have audio, so no text to speech. But it will be a while before I save up for a new purchase, so Amazon might have a new one by then.


  7. How do you use your e-reader?
    I use my Kindle 3 (same one you have) for reading other people’s manuscripts. I’ve occasionally bought a book and read it on there, but I prefer print still.

    Do you use all its features?

    Do you add notes and highlights the way you do in print books?
    Absolutely. This is why I love my Kindle. It’s like reading on paper, but no waste. I use my Kindle to copyedit my own books before publication, and to read my manuscripts as I write. It gets me away from the computer so I can just relax and read.

    Of the books you’ve read in the last year, what percentage were digital?
    Probably 35% were digital.

    Do you read all types of books on your reader or do you prefer to read certain books in print?
    I read all types of books on my reader, but I do prefer manuals and such in print.

    Also, I just got an iPad mini and I think it’s going to replace the Kindle for a lot of things.


    1. Wow! Thanks for answering all my questions, Michelle. 🙂

      You must be more nimble than I am if you copyedit on your Kindle. I read my work on the Kindle in front of the computer, so I can enter my notes in Word. Clumsy I guess, but it works for me.

      Enjoy your mini.


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