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Every avid reader understands that some books are to be tasted, some to be seen through to the end, and others to be read again at various stages for the rest of our lives. Last week in the Guardian several writers revealed the books that sustain them.

This is not to say that we re-read the same copy or edition. Most of my undergraduate books are still in storage somewhere in the West Country. When I must re-read something, for teaching or pleasure, I have to find another copy, preferably second-hand from wonderful bookshops like this one. Then I update my profile for anyone who cares (see right).

Kindle-owners tell me about all the extra reading they enjoy now that millions of texts are now within their reach. But do these readers (a) really finish the books they start and (b) despite the ease with which they can scare up any book they choose, do they re-read – or does the Kindle (TM) encourage a marathon mentality of getting through as many books as fast as possible? I need to know.


Rachel says:

Just one Kindle reader here, so I'm not really a representative sample. But I can assure you that I finish the books I start on the Kindle, in the same way that I do with print books. I actively avoid “loading up” my Kindle – part of the pleasure of owning an e-reader is to choose to read something and then download it and immediately start reading.

I haven't yet re-read anything on my Kindle, but there are so many new books I want to read that I'm not doing much re-reading anyway.

Hilary Weeks says:

Rachel, you're the first person I know to have thought about the change in reading habits that the Kindle brings. It's really interesting that you have the strength of character not to load up on books; the Kindle does offer instant gratification, and I can imagine being tempted by that in a bad way. Maybe we need both; I for one adore ordering books through ABE and Amazon and awaiting that wonderful fat parcel that arrives a couple of days later.

Re-reading? That's another post!

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