Reading Wrap Up 2014 or The Year of Change

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on January 12, 2015 in Books, Family, Middle Grade, Technology, Young Adult |

This past year marked a big change for me in my reading habits. It was the first year where I read more digital books than print ones. I’ve been reading digital books for years, but 2014 was the year the scales tipped way in favor of digital.

There were several factors for this: one being that I joined NetGalley and started reading digital ARCs, another being digital is a great way for my writer friends to share their books with me for little cost to either of us, and a third being how easy and low-cost it is to acquire digital books. But the overriding factor was definitely my own life. With The Boy having sleep issues earlier in the year and adding The Prince into the mix with all his nursings, I’ve had a lot of time where I’m sitting quietly but where reading a print book would be a bit impractical. So I read on my Nook a lot and on my phone a whole lot.

So much so that early in the year I realized my original goal of reading 67 books (in par with the past several years of reading) was going to be surpassed. I reset my goal to 80 books and exceeded that by 2, for a grand total of (tough math, I know!) 82 books! (You can check out my full 2014 reading list over on Goodreads.) The 82 includes mostly novels and some novellas and short stories. It doesn’t include the many, many, many picture books and board books I read (and reread) to the boys.

It also doesn’t include the quite a few (estimate of about 6 or so) books I did not finish (DNF). Though this may seem like a small number, it’s significant for me because in the past I’ve almost always finished a book once I’ve started it. As in 2014’s DNF list is probably as long as my previous DNF list for many previous years.

Again I think this change has a lot to do with all the digital reading I’ve done. I took a chance on free books and $.99 books, many self-published or with small presses but a significant portion on traditional published book as well. And books across all three publishing models made my DNF list (I don’t actually keep an official list for this, just a mental one). I’ve also found it’s a lot easier to just stop reading a digital book vs. a print one. The reasons behind that could probably be a whole blog post by itself.

Does all my digital reading mean I don’t like print books or that I think print is dead? Absolutely not. In fact, from what I’ve read about book sales in 2014, it seems the digital market has finally flattened out (after years of crazy growth) and the print market surged a little. The market has finally started to settle into a new normal where both print and digital can coexist.

As for my personal tastes in 2014 (again, could be a whole blog post by itself, but I’ll just give you the highlights here), I read lots of really good fantasy. Stand-out titles being THE FALSE PRINCE and the entire Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen, THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson, and BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater.

I definitely had some serious paranormal fatigue by the end of the year. There are still good titles in the genre, but I found many just didn’t stand out enough and hit too many of the same notes. I’ll probably be less likely to pick up these titles this year.

I read more middle grade than in the past and have been really enjoying it. Middle grade books seem to be taking more chances and doing different things, much like YA was doing right before it blew up and became hugely popular. I’ll probably continue to read more MG this year.

And I’ve read lots of good indie/small press authors, including S.J. Pajonas, Mary Waibel, Kai Strand, and Meradeth Houston. (In an attempt at full disclosure, yes, these authors I would consider writer friends, so I want you to check out their writing first because it’s awesome and second because they are awesome people!) Supporting indie authors has become an important part of my reading practices and will continue to be in 2015.

All in all, my bread and butter reading was (and has been for some time) YA, often fantasy. That’s just my personal tastes and I think I will always gravitate toward that age group and the fantasy genre. But I do enjoy branching out and hope to do more of that this year. And I will absolutely keep reading authors I know personally or online (and that list grows every year…it’s getting harder and harder not to know the authors I read). Of course with the boys, I’ll continue reading lots of picture books, old favorites and new ones too. Lately, we’ve even started reading small chapter books, which is a fun addition.

What were your reading habits and favorite reads of 2014?

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  • Vijaya says:

    Very interesting and informative. I love my kindle but find that it’s easier to not go back to an e-book if my interest flags. But because I’m a huge NF reader, I discovered that the electronic format is NOT the best device. Give me a book to flip back and forth through any day. Research is much, much easier. So, love my kindle for reading fiction or any light NF for reading straight through.

    My favorite books of 2014: Rose Under Fire; 12 Steps to Holiness; 21st Century Fiction.

    • Thanks for sharing your favorite reads, Vijaya! Honestly, I don’t read a ton of non-fiction, but I can totally see what you mean about that not working best in digital. One area that I also think is lacking in digital is picture books (and my own picture book is only available as an app!). I much prefer print.

  • Ellen Allen says:

    Hi Katie,

    I’m the same! Read more e-books than ever before and had more DNF than ever before – for the same reason – I took chances on new authors and didn’t like them all. I also joined netgalley, which I love. I think the revolution in the publishing industry is really changing reading habits! I upped my list on goodreads to 50 but not sure if I’ll make it. Am impressed at your 82! Ellen

    • Hi, Ellen! It’s funny, I didn’t go into 2014 thinking about changing my reading habits…it just sort of happened. I love NetGalley too! It’s so fun having books early, and you can’t beat the price. 😉

  • Wow, I can’t believe you finished 82 books with two little ones in the house. Good for you! I hear a lot of good things about NetGalley, but for now I’m sticking with print and audio.

    • Hi, Marcia! Thanks! A lot of that reading got done in the little snippets of down time that having little ones gives me. I’ve tried audio books and just can’t get into them. I think I’m too much of a visual learner. I find that I put one on and ten minutes in I’m like, “Wait? What happened in the last nine minutes of the book?”

  • Meradeth says:

    That’s an impressive number of books!! I’m kinda jealous, I must admit 🙂 My ereader has definitely won out over print in my own life, too. I love being able to have so many books at my fingertips, cheap and easy, and oh so simple to read in bed without the fear of a book to the face. (Sadly, something I’ve done a little too often!) I hope 2015 is an awesome one for you (and with something awesome to read from you, too!!).

    • I, too, love having a selection of books at my fingertips. I have my phone with me at all times pretty much. It makes it so easy to read when I find I have some unexpected time on my hands. Happy reading in 2015!

  • Jeff Chapman says:

    Definitely reading more ebooks than paper. I don’t prefer one strongly over the other, but ebooks take up less space. All the books I read to the kids are paper though. It feels weird reading aloud from a tablet.

  • Kai Strand says:

    My reading habits changed a lot when I got my Kindle and then again when I started listening to audio (while I exercise, cook, clean – TRAVEL, which oddly, I seem to do a lot of.) So the number of books I get through increases each year now. And it still isn’t enough!

    And I was quietly enjoying your post until I saw my own name! I might have squealed. Aloud. Huge thanks for the mention. Especially among some of my own personal faves <3

  • Mirka Breen says:

    I have a friend who prefers her E-reader because she can enlarge the font and not use reading glasses… This is miles ahead for you. I’m not there, yet.

  • I must have Lily Blue on my to-read list, too, for it sounds very family. Great that you’ve accomplished quite a bit on your reading last year, Katie! Here’s to many more good books to devour for this.

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