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?