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Going Green as a Reader

Before you even think about becoming a writer, are you doing this one thing?

Stephen King quote on reading

It is said that to be a great writer, a person should also be a voracious reader. I know, because I googled the phrase “quotes about writers reading.” Try it…you’ll find some good ones there, I promise!

The burden is light, though. Usually those of us who have a fondness for the written word gained it by reading books that captivated our attention, swept us up in grand adventures, and left us breathless, wanting more. So it’s no wonder we fell in love with story, and we want to take our place among the great storytellers of the world.

As a writer, you should be reading. As a human, you know that too many books can clutter your home and harm the environment. So what's a reader to do?

Too Many Books…Is There Really Such a Thing?

So it should come as no surprise that writers’ homes are often littered with the remains of the many stories they rabidly consume. In other words, there are stacks, piles, even neatly aligned rows of books EVERYWHERE! Our houses are overtaken with the lovely visual clutter of all those paperbacks, hardbacks, magazines, and manuscripts. Not only can this be distracting, we could actually be harming the environment with our consumption of print media.

So, What’s a Reader To Do?

As you approach this spring and the frenzy of cleaning that comes with it, consider ways to reduce your “paper footprint.” (Totally made that up!)

  1. Donate your used books to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or another thrift store.
  2. Look for a used book store that accepts trade-ins for credit toward other books. There are two within close proximity of me, and I love browsing them for all kinds of backlist titles I can’t find at Barnes & Noble.
  3. Check with your local library. They sometimes accept used books in great condition, especially if they are hardbacks.
  4. When looking for new material, consider shopping at any of the above mentioned, or dust off your library card and borrow a few!

Technology is a Marvelous Thing

While nothing will ever take the place of the weight of a book in your hands and the fragrance of ink and paper in your nostrils, today’s technology does offer some really cool alternatives. You can find almost any book title, and many magazines (some that aren’t even in print anymore) formatted for your e-reader or tablet device.

  1. Kindle – There are a number of Kindle devices available at almost any retailer. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you don’t even need a Kindle device to use Kindle media – you can simply download the app. (Fun fact – I do most of my reading on my iPhone! It’s always with me, I can take it anywhere, and it always takes me right back to the page I’m on.) Media for the Kindle is available through Amazon.
  2. Nook – Comparable to the Kindle device, Nook is Barnes & Noble’s exclusive e-reader. There is also a free app available if you’d rather not purchase the device, and media for it is available only through B&N. (I’ve heard that support is being withdrawn for Nook, so do your research before you invest much into this device or media for it.)
  3. iBooks – For Apple users, iBooks is an app that comes preinstalled on recent versions of iPhones and iPads. The format is slightly different from others, and it automatically groups together separate titles in a series.
  4. Kobo – The indi-bookstore alternative to Kindle and Nook. This device or app enables you to purchase ebooks and magazines in a different way, and there tend to be more indi-published titles available in this format. Think of it as the Sundance Festival for books.
Book sniffing definition

As for me, I’ll NEVER completely give up the whole paper/ink/book experience. After all, how would I get all my favorite authors to sign my iPhone or other e-reader device? But I am making a conscious effort to pare down on “things” in my life and in my home. I’m finding ways to incorporate technology into my reading life alongside my beloved paperbacks and hardbacks. For example, if I find a series of books that I really enjoy, I’ll purchase them on Kindle or iBooks. And if I want or need a particular volume to refer back to, I’ll try to find it at my used bookstore before I buy brand new.

I’d love to hear how you’re going green as a reader. Leave a comment or head over to the Break the Block Facebook page, and let’s chat – even if you just want to tell me how wrong it is to suggest that books could ever be clutter. 😉

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