EXit LIBRIS: Evolving Reading Habits in a High-Tech Era

Ex libris – From Latin ex libris (from the books), from ex- (from) + liber (book) Meaning “From the Library of;” a label applied to the inside front cover of books identifying the owner of a book; bookplate.

When a fellow book-reading friend gave me a lovely package of bookplates for my birthday, I recalled some not-so-recent book purchases and thought, “Gosh, how long has it been since I read a real book cover to cover?”  I discovered I’’m not alone with these sentiments after a recent humorous conversation with blogger Mark Schaefer, where he shared his experience of being trapped on a plane with only a hardback novel to read. Mark’’s story and my new Ex Libris labels brought to light the evolution of my reading style and habits.

I have a shelf filled with marketing, sales, PR, and design books in my B2B marketing office which I scan regularly, usually for reference on a specific topic. Typically, I open the index, pick my topic, scan a couple paragraphs, get an idea, and then put it back on the shelf. Although I enjoy these books for business use, they don’’t seem personally precious enough for the flourished lettering of my beautiful bookplates and my cherished home library of now aging epic novels, poetry and design tomes.

Here’s a look at how my reading habits have vastly changed over the last few years:

I used to… Now…
…read the paper every morning, spreading it out on my desk, scanning the headlines of each section with my coffee cup in one hand, saving the op-ed and comics for last. …my morning paper is Tweetdeck. I read through my search columns for quick nuggets of knowledge, usually about B2B marketing. I try to share the most interesting stories with my followers.
…have at least three magazine subscriptions alternating between home decoration, fashion, cooking, news or sports. I displayed the most recent on my coffee table. … I search for new recipes online and subscribe via email to the updates on the home and garden website, and RSS feeds of the news and sports. I save links to my favorites in a bookmark app.
…to roam the library and the local bookstores every weekend fingering the spines for intriguing titles, usually buying more books than I could afford. …I click through the Barnes & Noble or Amazon book sites for the latest new books, putting most of them on my wish list, with only occasional purchases.
…apply a pretty label on the inside cover of my favorite books and inscribe my name in my best handwriting, only sharing with my best and most trusted reading friends. …click a bookmark button saving articles or blogs in a web-link storage application, sharing dozens of times each week. with thousands of, mostly unfamiliar, Twitter friends
…crack open a new novel with great anticipation, savoring the new ink smell, enjoy the warm tactile feel of the pages, cradling the spine in the crook of my arm curled up on the couch with my reading glasses. …after reading all the reviews and blogs, I buy an instant download of a new book on my iPad, tapping the pad, I adjust the font size for my presbyopic vision, cradling the cool metal rectangle in the crook of my arm.

After reading online reviews, I select only the most fitting titles for my enjoyment and my home library.  For business reading, the Internet provides assessments from other readers before I make the purchase.I’’m reading more because I am exposed to so much more from my desktop PC, my smartphone and my e-reader.

Hard back, paperback, iPad or RSS feeds, online tweets, whatever the medium I will I always enjoy reading. Technological progress has opened more opportunities to read more about many more topics and sharing with many more friends online.

I wonder what the Latin translation of “From the Hard Drive Of…” is?

Have you noticed an evolution of your reading habits in this high-tech era?

Please share with a comment.