Why I Said Goodbye to the Paperback

Photo collage showing a Kindle e-reader held, or on a table next to a cup of coffee, on a yellow background with small book doodles scattered around.

Don’t come for me just yet. I’m still a bookworm through and through, despite only owning less than 20 physical books in total. I love the books industry and I love holding, smelling, buying, and turning the pages of real books.

But I’d be lying if I said I read physical books anymore. I don’t. In fact, for the past 2 years, I’ve read less than 10 physical books, of the total of over 100 books read since early 2020.

You can be a fully dedicated bookworm without the coveted and ever-so-popular bookshelves full to the brim

At first, it was a lifestyle thing. I’ve always loved reading, but my proper bookworm peak was reached back in my first year of university. Ever since, my reading goals have been getting more and more ambitious, my tastes have broadened and I’ve discovered countless new authors I now read regularly.

As a university student in a foreign country, owning as many physical books as I wanted to read would have been impossible. For the past 4 years, I’ve moved no less than 5 times, with no car or anyone to help, and no permanent space at my disposal, to leave some of my possessions.

After moving everything I owned in two suitcases from London to Leeds (which took 4 coach trips and a lot of back pain), I learned to own as little as possible. When you have to move every 10 months, every extra object counts. 

Since I wasn’t ready to slow down on my reading, I dove into alternative methods that made me say goodbye to the paperback for good (well, mostly).

My Reading Habits Now

My Holy Grail: the e-reader

Around 80% of what I read is now on my Kindle e-reader. I love the convenience and accessibility of it, despite the drawback of it not feeling like holding a book. But the advantages outweigh this inconvenience so, really, I can’t fault my Kindle.

I know from an industry perspective, reading on Kindle means I support Amazon over other booksellers. And as much as it pains me that this is true, as things stand right now in my life, Kindle is the only logical option for me.

As much as I’d like to spend hundreds on books every month, I genuinely can’t afford to

I won’t be settling into a permanent home any time soon. What’s more, as an immigrant, I travel a few times a year, which makes my Kindle all the more useful. When I visit my family on the other side of the continent, I spend a good few weeks there, so having a digital bookshelf full of options in my coat pocket is the way to go.

Accessibility is probably the most important part of reading on an e-reader. I’m a busy, busy bee, so my reading time is scarce. I have a full-time job, a very active lifestyle, I spend a lot of time with my partner and a lot of time keeping my publication (this publication) going. I’m writing a novel and a poetry collection, doing a social media marketing course, writing on Medium, and I also strive to cook every meal for my partner and me.

Do you get my point? I barely have time to do anything else with my life. When I find time to read, it’s usually at night, or in the drowsy hours of the morning. It’s also usually dark when that happens. So an e-reader with an adjustable display brightness is literally my best (and probably last) resort.

Financially, Kindle makes sense too. I don’t earn a lot, just enough to get by, afford rent in this super expensive country, and save a little each month towards a flat I’m planning to buy in a few years.

As much as I’d like to spend hundreds on books every month, I genuinely can’t afford to. I periodically find best-sellers on Kindle for less than £5, sometimes less than £1 even. This allows me to read as much as I want without diving into my savings.

Listening to books

Audiobooks are also my saving grace when I’m in over my head with tasks and can’t find the time to actually sit and read. When I cook or do a tedious task at work, or when I run errands, audiobooks are there with me.

I am sometimes sad that I can’t take the ‘stack of books’ photo when I write a reading wrap-up, but ultimately, reading is about making it work for your circumstances

Ever since I’ve discovered Scribd, at the end of 2019, I’ve been hooked. Scribd is a much more affordable option than Audible, as you only pay for the monthly subscription to get access not only to audiobooks but e-books too, at no extra cost. I mainly use it for audio, though, as Scribd e-books aren’t compatible with Kindle, but even so, the subscription is worth it.

My reading goals have been kept afloat by audiobooks for the past couple of years, and they have added to the number of books I read significantly. Plus, it’s a refreshing, alternative way to experience books.

Did I Really Stop Buying Physical Books for Good?

As seen in my most recent tweets, not exactly. 

But I only ever buy physical books in exceptional situations:

  • if I’ve already read the book, am obsessed with it, and I must have it
  • if I see a particularly stunning book and can’t say no, but I also must be absolutely certain I’ll enjoy it
  • if I buy them second-hand so I can then donate them once I’m done

The main idea is accumulating as few extra heavy objects as possible, although sometimes that breaks my bookworm heart. Books I receive as gifts are also probably the biggest exception. I will never, ever pass on a book I received from someone I love. 

Final Thoughts

You might think this article is a big ode to digital reading. It’s not. I’ve decided to share my reading habits in order to show you can be a fully dedicated bookworm without the coveted and ever-so-popular bookshelves full to the brim and the size of your wall.

I am sometimes sad that I can’t take the stack of books photo whenever I write a reading wrap-up, but ultimately, reading is about making it work for your circumstances. I chose to experience books over owning them. And although one day I’m sure I’ll have the covered and ever-so-popular bookshelves, that day is still far into the future.

Published by Eliza Lita

Founder and editor-in-chief: Coffee Time Reviews. Freelance writer and Higher Ed comms person.

2 thoughts on “Why I Said Goodbye to the Paperback

  1. I’ve read a few e-books and own hundreds of physical books. I, like you, like to hold physical books, but I did also enjoy the e-books and definitely they are more economical. It makes sense also to be going in the direction of e-books where we can save paper and trees.


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