Escapists Uncensored: Reviewing Digital vs Print

Escapists Uncensored

Escapists UncensoredAbout a year ago (if not longer), I switched over to reading primarily ebooks unless I received a print novel for review or from some other source. It’s far more convenient for me to read on my android phone or pull my Kindle out whenever I find myself with a few minutes to read. Because that’s generally all I have. I’m a stay at home mom…no wait…whether I work or not doesn’t matter. I am MOM!!!! It doesn’t matter if I leave the house to work or if I stay home with my two monkeys, whenever something happens or needs to be done, it’s always mom they come to. I’m sure I’m not the only mother out there who has this same situation at home.

So my time to read is usually whenever I can carve out a few minutes to sit down – generally in the bathroom or the grocery store parking lot. *grin* Reading is usually a spur of the moment thing and my ereader can satisfy that spontaneity better than a print book. For one, the ereader will never lose my page (because the boys are forbidden from touching it), so I won’t have to spend precious moments searching for my page because one of the boys has moved my bookmark; and two because it doesn’t matter what book I’m reading, or if I finish one, because I have a virtual library at my fingertips.

So while my ereader has made my reading life easier ever since it’s been invaded by children, it has not made my reviewing life easier. If fact, I’m pretty sure it has nearly killed it. Literary Escapism started 6-7 years ago and I was doing pretty well with reviewing every book I read, and it was mainly print I was reading at the time. It didn’t matter if I loved it or hated it, I always had something to say.  Two kids later and barely a print book in sight, my reviewing has gone down to one every other month or so.  It sucks. I love talking about the books I read, but finding the words to put into a review have been alluding me.  I was sitting here, working on the bag for the Authors After Dark raffle donation, and I started thinking about why my reviewing had slowed down. Yes, I no longer read ten novels a month and I’m lucky if I read one a month, but that’s not it. I just read 2 books within 48 hours, so while I don’t have as much time to read, my speed hasn’t gone down.  BUT how I read has changed. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that digital books may have given me better chances at finding time to read, it did not make it easier to write a review.

Everyone has their own way of writing their reviews and each process is unique to that person. For me, I like having that print book in front of me so I can go back and reference pages. As soon as I finished a book, I would sit at my computer, open it back up to page one and go. My memory can be selective, but when it comes to books, scenes and characters are embedded in my mind and I can instantly pull them back to the front of my mind. Writing reviews were easy because if there was a scene I was remembering, but wanted to check something, I could flip through the pages, find it, and read a few pages to make sure what I was saying made sense with the context. One I was happy with the review, then it would get put back on the bookshelf and a new book was pulled out.

With ebooks, I’m not doing that. My Kindle doesn’t go on the shelf. As soon as I click out of that book, it’s been shelved and it’s really easy to shove it aside and start something else right away. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve read, with every intention of reviewing, but have forgotten to do because I was able to immediately pull up a new story and dive into a different world.  Plus, I’m not a note taker. Not while I’m reading and making notations in my Kindle is something I haven’t mastered yet. So while I still can remember scenes and characters, it’s harder now to find where they take place than before. I can flip through print pages far easier (and faster) than I can with a digital book. My Kindle’s processor, or memory or whatever controls the speed, can’t keep up with me when I’m searching for something, so instead of finding what I’m looking for, I’ll give up and hope for the best.

Thinking about these two scenarios, I’m convinced that my reviewing habits have taken a mortal hit when I made the switched to reading primarily ebooks. Don’t get me wrong, I love ebooks and sometimes print books can be just as hard to read/review; but I know that when I do go back to review them, it’ll be easier to refresh my memory because I’ll be able to flip through the physical pages with more confidence.

Now that I’ve made that connection, I need to concentrate on revamping my method of reviewing.  Should I start keeping a notepad next to my kindle so I can jot down notes as I read? Should I figure out how to leave notes in my Kindle (fyi…it’s a Gen2 Kindle, so not a new one) so I can go back to that section later? I’m not sure how I’m going to change my habits yet, but I know I need to figure something out. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

For those who have made the switch between digital and print, have you noticed a change in your reviewing habits? Do you find it easier to review a digital book? A print novel? Am I the only one who noticed a drastic change in their reviewing habits?

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. Although I love my Kindle with all of my being (my Precious!), the one thing I hate about reading with it is that I can’t rapidly flip through the pages to find a particular scene or to reread my favorite sections. Yes, there are bookmarks, notes, and the search function, but I find using them to be very clunky. I don’t have any suggestions for you, just wanted to say that I feel your pain.

  2. When I review or write papers for school on different books, I tend to use ebooks now more than before. The search function is a Godsend on my laptop, and it’s so much easier to withdraw quotes and reference sections. The problem is – just like you said, you can’t flip through. I feel like I’m missing something sometimes – because when I dealt with print books, flipping back through later, I would notice something or something would jump out at me, and I would have a new tangent to work with. Those moments of spontaneity don’t really work with ebooks, and there are moments when I have an idea – and not specific words – and I can’t find the position in the novel that I’m thinking of, and so I can’t write about it…

    It looks like it’s an on-going problem for more than just you.

    • I loved being able to flip back through a book and having that spontaneity hit me. There’s been a couple of times where I ended up re-reading an entire book because I wanted a particular scene and it was a good one. I had to keep going. *grin*

  3. I find it easier to review a digital book. One word – Evernote (although One Note and the notetaking capabilities of some reading apps are good, too). I use “Moon Reader+” mainly. I can long-press on a word, and get the notes menu up, and make the note there and then. When I used a Kindle Keyboard it was harder, but with the new electronic keyboard on my Nexus, it’s much easier to make notes. I use Evernote because it syncs to my main computer, so I can open them up when I’m ready to write the review and there they are! Evernote works with all the reading apps I have, so I can even start reading in one program, move to another and still have the notes there!

    What I can’t do is use Firefox or Chrome to comment on this blog, because the captcha doesnt work!

    • Ooh…I like that idea! I’ve been telling Jesse that I really want to get a tablet so I can do more while I”m out and about with the kids. It’s such a pain to take my netbook or laptop to McD’s while they’re playing or at the park. It would be soo much easier if I had a tablet. You’re making me want one even more. *grin* I’ll have to remember about Evernote!

      You shouldn’t be getting a captcha at all. I don’t have one I’m using. That is weird.

    • Ohh, interesting. I’m an evernote n00b, and always looking for ways to use it. I’m assuming that this wouldn’t work for a regular (non-Fire) Kindle though.

  4. As much as I prefer print books when I can get them, my Kindle’s been so very handy for my reading and reviewing. Before I got my Kindle, any e-books I read had to be read while sitting at my laptop, which got very tiresome and painful after a while. Getting my Kindle allowed my reading to pretty much explode, and was a true $deity-send when I broke my hand at one point and couldn’t actually hold print books for a month! I don’t know what I’d do without it, now.

    Most of the reading I do is on my Kindle. Strange, then, that I still prefer print books. You’d think I’d have switched entirely over to e-books, but no, there’s just something undeniable wonderful about a hard copy of a novel in my hands, turning actual pages, staring at paper and ink for hours at a time.

  5. For books I want to review, highlighting is really, really key.

    I have slowed way down on the number of reviews I do, also, but in my case I think it’s because I have a harder and harder time finding something new or interesting to say, with, I dunno, 200 or so reviews under my belt in the last 5 years.

    One trick that I have had helpful is that I have created (among others) two main categories: 1. Unread; and 2. To Be Reviewed. I have no aspirations to review everything I read, and some books I have made a stronger commitment to get reviewed than others. I can put a title into “To Be Reviewed” whether I’ve read it or not. Once the review is done, I take it out of that category.

    • I’ve thought about trying to highlight, but I always end up forgetting about it. *grin* But yeah, I’ve slowed down a lot too because of the number of reviews I’ve done as well. Since I haven’t been reading as much lately, I’ve been sticking with my auto-buy authors or series I’m waiting on the next book for, so it’s like I don’t know what to write anymore. You can only say the same thing so many ways. I think I need to get back into reading more new-to-me authors than I have been.

  6. I feel your pain!

    I have a “review notebook” (it’s a small, hardcover “artist’s sketchbook” actually, because I can’t stand lined pages), and I take notes as I read, even though I do all my reading on my Kindle. Sometimes I highlight text or add bookmarks (I have a Kindle Fire) while I’m reading, and I’ll refer to those as well as my notes, but without my notebook, I’m likely to forget what the book was even about by the time I get a chance to actually sit down and review.

    My problem is I often finish a book in the wee hours of the morning, so it’s not really feasible for me to sit down and crank out a review as soon as I’m done. Or, I’ll finish a book but just flat out not feel like reviewing it just yet, and end up halfway through my next one before I sit down to blog. The notebook is the only way I’ve found that works for me, so I carry it everywhere that I carry my Kindle.

    • I’ve thought about keeping a notebook with me, but I find myself reading via my phone just as often as I do with my Kindle. It’s so easy to pull it out while waiting in line or watching the boys at the park. I NEED a case that also includes a notepad and on the right side. If the paper was on the left side of the kindle, it wouldn’t be useful (I’m right-handed). *grin*

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