How I turned from physical books

There was a time when I was reading sparsely, when the only thing I was reading voluntarily were Harry Potter books and everything else that came to my hand was school-forced. I admit that at that time (let’s say it was around 2005) I doubted I’d become an active reader. I became a bit more realistic slightly later, knowing that once the choice is my own, the attitude would change.

What got me back to reading? Gaming, surprisingly. As active (maybe too much at some points) World of Warcraft players, I began looking through book stores for related books, which were usually telling stories happening between individual games or, in case of World of Warcraft, game expansions.

So, I started buying and reading those, even if it was slow process. Partially because gaming is still often shunned and game-related literature considered something almost underground. In a small country like Czech Republic, it’s small niche genre and it was nothing unusual to see the books sold out. You can imagine that it’s quite demoralizing when book 2 and 3 of a trilogy is there, but book 1 is sold out with no ETA on reprint (which was almost two years in the end, and good that I bought 2 and 3 ahead, as they became sold out when that happened).

But there was one more problem: since it’s small market, Blizzard (as copyright holder for Warcraft, including books) did not make deals for Czech translations book by book, doing it in batches instead. Result is that with translation time, some books were delayed by more than two years compared to US release as the deals were made in 2-3 year cycles, as far as I remember. They did not even came out in the same order, but that’s different story.

Last book in Czech localization I read was Stormrage. It came out translated in 2013 (original release 11/2010) and there was already 6 more books in the US. I started looking for alternatives, and that brought me to Amazon. Mass market paperbacks of books that were out for a while had prices slightly lower than the translated books cost here, but after counting in postage across half of the world (US) or Europe (UK), it came out slightly worse. Delivery ETA? 35 days. Paradox was that postage calculated from US was lower than from UK and delivery time had little difference.

For that time, I eventually bypassed it by using 5-day free delivery to a relative that lives in the US and then have it delivered to me by my family, but this scheme was terribly clumsy and hardly repeatable. It had one large upside: I verified that I am able to read books in English without an issue. I had a hint about that in past, but that’s a story for another day.

What became the breaking point? World of Warcraft: Chronicle. Dense compilation of the backstory that I doubted would be released here in any decent time. Eventually, the solution was quite simple: investing into e-reader. Since I am the kind of person who is hard to get rid of an idea he likes, as long as it is possible, it took me just a few days from this idea to decision and thus purchasing a Kindle. That was in late March 2016, I had it as early birthday present for myself.

Now, year and half later (almost precisely), I had read more than double the amount of books in these 18 months than in the previous 6 years before.


In future posts, I’ll share some of my experiences since then and some things I noticed and saw in that time. Including, but not limited to: e-book convenience, classics converted to e-books, piracy, self-published books and why I like them.

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