The Reading Poll

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 719752

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Reading Poll

  • Abbs

    Default port

    Points: 1444

    I guess I read only about 5 books a year, and one or two might be technical. I really should up this as I enjoy reading.

    I still prefer to read paper books. I don't have a Kindle or anything like that - I've only read using Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Reader on an iPaq. I don't get on with either of them.

    I think I see another angle with this second question, Steve. If 1984 can be pulled off of your personal electronic bookshelf without your consent, then so can more revolutionary books, like Mein Kampf. Not so great if you're just studying 20th century Germany. - my blog - my experiences with SQL Server 2008

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396551

    I'm ashamed to say I'm only reading about 15-20 books a year, a mix of novels, history & technical. It was so much more before the kids got older and I got involved in Scouts. I've been making a conscious effort to read more, just because I like it.

    On the one hand, I am bothered by Amazon's approach to the media on the Kindle. Not so bothered that I didn't order a DX earlier this week. Amazon says they've changed the rules and won't do that again, but, to a degree, we're suffering at their whim. It's not like buying books. But, reversing the argument, it's not like buying books. You're going through this media so that you don't have to have stacks of paperbacks around the house, the ability to clean out the device & toss stuff that is the equivalent of candy is the whole idea behind going digital. Personally, I like stacks of books all over the house (although I never found that Destroyer novel, so now it's lost to history). I'm just not crazy about having Amazon get more insight into what I read and when, but hey, if you write reviews and maintain a wish list... they've already got most of what they need. I suspect it's just part of the changing world and we'll have to deal with it.

    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • rgodival

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 164

    I like to read a lot - when I took the train to work I used to read a lot more than I manage to now. Difficult to judge exactly how many books I read, because I'll frequently dip back into books I already know well simply for the enjoyment of reading things I like (fiction, technical, history ...)

    I also write and critique aspiring writers, so it's yet more reading that's difficult to quantify.

    As for e-readers - I've tried a few e-reading systems, but I have to say I prefer a real book. I've been staring at screens since early childhood, and I have no problem gleaning information from them, but the feel of a real book is something different and tangible. Perhaps a good hand-held e-reader would work .. but I like a bookshelf full of real books. (Ok, so I covet a library, with one of those ladders on wheels!)

    Not entirely sure about the issue of having the e-books removed. Would be much simpler if a court-order had been obtained (although how that would work internationally I'm not sure.) The censorship issue is, again, equivocal - whilst paper books can't be removed remotely, they care much harder to distribute quickly - so that's a swings-and-roundabouts argument.

    In principle I have to support the concept of intellectual property rights - it's how I make my living after all - but the rights management system is so far behind both people's expectations and the reality, it's difficult to see how it could ever catch up.

  • Jason Miller-476791


    Points: 1510

    I read nonfiction and history books at the exclusion of others, technical, fiction, etc. almost to a fault. Someone previously mentioned the idea of tracking "undesirable" books such as Mein Kampf. I've contemplating reading the original text, but in my stuffy little world I don't want to add fuel to fire, I suppose in some little corner of Washington, there's a file with my name on it... :w00t:

    Seriously, there is, and I don't need anything additional in there.

    But all that pales in comparison to what I think is a much larger problem. Let's suppose one day someone gets the idea that group X way back in history is being unfairly targeted/tarnished/exposed/whatever... I think it would be a much easier task to have someone go out and creatively edit a "file". In this case, the file is distributed across everyone's electronic version.

    For example. Let's suppose Da Man didn't like the exposure of certain elements of the Imperial Japanese Army and their conduct during the occupation of the Philippines. Wouldn't it be so much easier to simply edit a few paragraphs, delete a page or two, "lose" a picture, etc then to go in actually accept that some people did some horrible things? I'm sure there are a bunch of Germans wishing they had thought of that...

    I think the potential for revisionist history is a very near, and very grave danger. For the SW Geeks in the crowd, wasn't there a certain little creep that erased a planet's history/placement in the archives? And it was that other green muppet that cleared up the issue for Obi Wan? There aren't any green muppets here, but there are plenty of creeps who might want to hide something.

    Honor Super Omnia-
    Jason Miller

  • Dave Schutz

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4160

    I've only read two actual books this year and am in the middle of another. Most of my reading is newspapers (daily) and magazine subscriptions. Also I do alot of online reading, and others.

    I disagree with your comment "It seems as though the problems are with digital goods since there doesn't seem to be a loss of goods from the original owner", as I believe there may be a loss to the original owner in the Amazon case. If Amazon or the publisher does not have permission to publish the content then the author (original owner) is likely not getting paid so they are losing the revenue they deserve.

    This issue needs lots of thought and possibly new laws as more content goes online.

  • blandry

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4821

    I read a lot of work-related books (and technical papers) per year, but I get very little time for enjoyable reading so I probably only manage about 3-5 'fun' books a year.

    As far as individual rights go... Why doesnt that door ever swing both ways?

    I would be happy to pay any author for any good material, books, music, video, movies, whatever... I dont care how old it is, if its worth watching or reading, I am happy to pay.

    But I DONT think we should be paying for the slop that generally passes for "entertainment" these days.

    So if I were King of the World there would be a new law.... NO ONE pays for books, movies, music, or television until AFTER they have consumed the entertainment. If you like it - you pay. If you dont - you dont pay.

    Individual rights means everybody. Not just the authors. And living in an age where a great deal of "entertainment" is so brutally mindless, I think we should be voting with our dollars. THAT might wake up Hollywood, Authors, Wrtiers, and the present lot of purveyors of the crud that passes for "entertainment".

    Most businesses operate because of quality of their product - so why not media. That would raise standards, generate more good stuff (instead of brainless crud), and raise the level of everyone. Most of all, it would squelch the continuing dumbing-down of the American consumer and THAT would be one giant step for our current state of affairs in media.

    There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
  • merry.tapp


    Points: 17

    I read 3 or 4 books at a time, I read constantly. Any & all books in English are fair game; fiction, technical, history, biographies, horticulture etc. I probably finish about 80 -100 books a year. And yes, I too covet a REAL library.

    I have tried audio books, don't like them. Don't have an e-book reader and don't wish for one. I like the feel of a book in my hand and the true portability of it. I can read in the bathtub, in bed with a flashlight, outside in the rain if I wish, anywhere, anytime.

    As to the possibility of someone having immediate control over what I read - that is a big NO. I agree with Jason Miller that it is a big danger to allow anyone the possibility of re-editing already published books.

    I do support the concept of intellectual property rights. The creator of whatever (fiction, software, music) deserves to be paid for their work.

  • ChrisMoix-87856


    Points: 7288

    I'm a voracious reader, and I read pretty fast. I'd estimate that I read about 100 books a year. Everything from fiction, non-fiction, and technical.

    I'm glad that Bezos came out and did a mea culpa and admitted they handled the 1984 and Animal House thing incorrectly.

  • pmcpherson


    Points: 453

    First I read about 8 books a year. I try to squeak in one biography/autobiography a year, the rest are fiction (mostly fantasy). Most of my technical reading is in the form of articles. As far as digital rights, somebody smarter than me will have to figure that out. Although I would like my digital rights to mirror the rights I have if I own a book, a CD or even a radio, well as closely as possible anyway. As for Amazon, they are dumber than me. Their clients trusted them to provide legitimate content for their (Amazon’s) proprietary reader. When Amazon can’t deliver on that trust, I believe that it is up to Amazon to eat the loss. Amazon should have worked with a proper license holder to cover the already sold content at a price that might even be a little inflated. Then pursue a full refund from the illegal supplier. The customer need not know anything other than they bought a book and they still have it. There were ways to handle this that did not involve being rude to the customer.

  • sing4you


    Points: 2954

    I don't have a world of spare time so I only read somewhere between 10 and 20 books per year.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the digital reading thing. There certainly seems to be opportunity for "editing" behind the scenes but I don't want to get too paranoid about it.

    People who have Kindles sure love them but I'd rather read a book and turn the pages.

  • Andy Lennon


    Points: 2354

    I read between 20 and 30 books a year, almost all of them fiction for entertainment. i don't have a kindle or other e-reader.

    i think amazon messed up big time. they don't have a robust review system in place, so something was published as an e-book without the actual rightsholders permission. The terms of service also suggest that a purchase is permanent. Should amazon have removed the books from people's kindle libraries? No. Should they be able to? No. With all the hullabaloo over this, i think amazon gets it.

    From the coverage on Ars Technica:

    The company told Ars that they are "changing [Amazon's] systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances."

    That ars article is posted at:

  • Terri-92562


    Points: 1594

    Well, i have not been counting but maybe I read 30-40 books a year, mostly fiction. I will read 4-5 books on vacation or travel, but it will take a couple of weeks to read a book when I am working. I prefer books to electronic readers but I have a Kindle, Kindle for iPhone and mobipocket on my Blackberry - I endeavor never to be without a book to read. I had the IPhone Kindle app and Blackberry app before I got the Kindle.

    My husband gave me the Kindle for my birthday in May and since then I have read 14 books on my Kindle/iPhone plus 5 paper books. He got the Kindle for me in an effort to stem my purchase of physical books since we are out of bookshelf space. 🙂 I carry the Kindle with me when possible so I am getting more reading done. I will read the same book on the Kindle and iPhone, since I can sync to the last place read on the other device. When at home I read physical books exclusively, in an effort to clear my backlog.;-)

    I like that on the Kindle I can have copies of my favorite classics (Jane Austen, edgar Rice Bourroughs) for free or nearly free and have them available to read at any time. I really like the ability to order a book and have it delivered wirelessly at anytime. I have no interest in reading a book on a computer per se. I don't carry a laptop with me at all times.

    What I don't like about Kindle books is that I cannot share them. I cannot lend them to another Kindle owner. Also, I cannot give (or receive) a Kindle book as a gift. And books are the best gift ever, IMHO.


    To speak algebraically, Mr. M. is execrable, but Mr. C. is
    Edgar Allan Poe
    [Discussing fellow writers Cornelius Mathews and William Ellery Channing.]

  • P Jones


    Points: 12327

    I'm another voracious reader - mostly non-fiction but eagerly awaiting the new Terry Pratchett novel.

    I don't do e-books but I was brought up to use and appreciate the free public libraries and usually pop in at lunch break a couple of times a week and often travel to the county town for the larger library or reserve books online.

    I do believe children should be taught to use libraries from an early age and parents can set a good example here, taking their children with them to the library and encouraging them to always have books to read, not just electronic amusements such as play stations, pcs, X box, wii or whatever.

    My own son has inherited my bookworm traits and my daughter studied English Literature to advanced level and as they grew up the release of the latest Harry Potter book was a fight over who would read it first!

  • StephenRay

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 176

    I read about 10-12 books a year, mostly fiction/Sci-Fi, but an occasional technical programming/sql book. I read a lot of online articles here and elsewhere on the net. It has gotten harder to find time with 2 young ones to read as much as I used to! I don't see paying the cost of an e-reader to have more books in one place and still like the feel of a book in my hands and having books readily on hand to read or trade up for others (which you won't be able to do with your ebooks, btw).

    The Amazon thing is typical CYA for any business in these days of frivolous law suits. The fact that they refunded people for the content they took away is supposed to negate the fact that they didn't do their job of verifying the rights of the publisher to the material in the first place. Somebody will end up suing Amazon for the in-humanity and intense heart-ache they experienced from losing this book off their Kindle-just watch! But of course, without these kinds of law suits we wouldn't know that the coffee (which is still steaming!) in that cup from McDonalds was hot-we have that label on the cup to let us know!

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