When I was a child, I read a lot. Any spare minute had me with my head in a book as I devoured series like The Babysitter's Club, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Sweet Valley High and more. I loved immersing myself in new worlds and one of my favourite things was to pore over the Scholastic book club pamphlets and choose what I wanted to buy.
As I moved into my teenage years and started earning money, I'd get most of my books from the library because book prices were too high. At that time, $20 for a paperback was common, and when that was basically the income from my part-time job, it made sense to be careful how I spent the money. It didn't stop me from going into bookshops and reading the blurbs of books that caught my interest, wishing I could buy them all. When I did buy a book, I read it cover to cover and I didn't dare dog-ear the pages. They were too precious.
Fast forward to when I started working full-time and my reading became sporadic as I tried to balance work, life and everything else. I'd borrow books from my mum and sister and buy them when I could, but I didn't read as much as I used to. I stuck to authors I knew and loved, unless they came highly recommended from a friend. I wanted to make sure the time I spent reading was well spent.
Then I became a writer.
Over the years I've learnt about structure and grammar and how to form a good story and I've found I've lost some of my enjoyment of reading. A story has to be so gripping, and written so well for me to continue to read. Back when I was paying $20 a book, I'd read the whole thing, no matter if I wasn't enjoying it, but now, if it hasn't gripped me in the first two chapters I put it down. There are far too many books out there to waste my time with a book that doesn't interest me.
The other factor that makes it easy to put down a book is the price. The quantity of free or 99 cent books out there is really quite ridiculous and it means you can take a chance with a new author without worrying about losing too much money if it's no good. I can get five to ten books for that $20 which used to get me a single paperback. Though I must admit, I've had a lot of duds on my reading list of late and I'm going back to reading authors I love and that are highly recommended for awhile so I can get my enjoyment of reading back.
How have your reading habits changed since the invention of ebooks?