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I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

Kindle vs Library

Since I bought a Nexus 7 (two of them, I broke the first one) I’ve been interested to see if and how it would change my reading habits. I still have a preference for printed books, based mostly on a lifetime of reading a printed book a week, but also because I’ve always been a heavy user of the local library and I like to buy used books.

Having the tablet always with me definitely made me more likely to use it, compared to before when I had to go find one of the ones we purchased for the kids. Having my own meant it was charged when I wanted to use it!

I like that the Kindle app is available on my laptop, tablet, and phone, but in practice I do ‘real’ reading on the tablet – the other two would only be for look ups or desperation, neither feels comfortable for extended reading.

I’ve gotten used to reading on the Nexus, mostly. I like being able to look up words right then, with a print book I’ll infer or skip works I don’t know. Sometimes I’ll move a finger the wrong way and jump 50 pages, something that doesn’t happen in a printed book in quite the same way. Changing font size is handy.

But the most interesting part is the content. As a library user I read what I find during my visit. Occasionally I reserve a book,but the process always feels clunky,and even then I’m confined to what they have. I never thought about that constraint a lot (beyond technical books, which I’ve always had to purchase to get something fairly recent) until the holidays, when I was browsing and realized there were a few Spenser novels I had missed over the years. Here was stuff I wanted to read and just hadn’t, because the library didn’t have it.

On the other hand, I like the randomization of the library. I like wandering the aisles to just see what catches my eye. There are books I’ll get from the library that I wouldn’t pay for – I want to read them, but not sure or just not worth the investment to purchase. Amazon does recommendations, they do Top X by category, but they don’t do randomization well yet, and it’s hard to do well.

I read about the same amount, but what I read has shifted some, if only to be closer to what I want to read versus what I could find that was close. I feel like I’m both more focused and casting a wider net, if that makes any sense.


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