Why People Stop Reading a Book

I think a lot about books and writing. I’ve always wanted to be a writer of some kind and now that I’ve self-published two novels, I’m desperately trying to get better at what I love to do. Besides getting reviews and feedback you think about what impact your books have on the reader. Do they understand the idea? Do they like the language? Which parts do they like and which do they don’t like? Are the characters clear and “real” enough? And of course: Did I lose them and if so, where?

The good folks at Goodreads asked themselves the same question and have now conducted a survey investigating that very question: What Makes You Put Down a Book?¬†Below you find their stylish infographic…


I find it interesting that almost 20% think weak writing contributes because when you look at so many books out there – weak writing seems to be quite popular and doesn’t seem to have a major effect on the popularity of the book in question.

But the number one reason for people quitting a book isn’t surprising at all: “It’s because it’s slow/boring.”

People want to be entertained. That is a fact of life. And since reading is a “slow”, slightly laborious way of being entertained compared to watching a movie and playing video games, books already have an uphill climb before they can hook a person.

The number of published books every year is increasing at rocket speed now that everyone can write and publish a book, but I wonder if the number of people reading books do too. I guess there has always been this fear in the publishing industry that the number of people willing to invest time into reading a book keeps decreasing. What is the trend now? Does self-publishing and more books and the presence of e-readers like Kindles and Nooks counter that? How many people read on their mobiles? (37% according to a another Goodreads study, although it’s not super-scientific).

My feeling is that the possibility to read on mobile phones and the portability of e-readers should increase the interest in books and spread like wildfire. But of course, no matter how portable or easy to use the device is, the book still has to entertain and hopefully also raise a few thoughts. Otherwise you could just as well watch a movie, play video games or simply read another book.

Do you use digital devices for reading? And what kind of device? Please share your thoughts below! /J.


Kindles – they’re good for you

Ever since I got my first Kindle I fell in love with it. What was most powerful about the whole experience was the e-ink screen which reminded me of my beloved Psion 3 series¬†which I wrote my first short stories on. It’s just feels less intimidating for the eyes than for example an iPad or Samsung Galaxy tablet and I like that it only has one proper use for it – to read books on. This makes you less distracted than with tablets and lets you focus on the reading.

But not everybody believes in e-readers and e-books. Lenah was kind of hard to convince for example, but I think I have convinced her now that we have decided not to have so much clutter in our lives. We both love books, but they to take an awful lot of space and although they look nice in a bookshelf, you rarely read them twice.

And that’s where a Kindle comes in handy. You can store all your books in one space and when you travel, which you should if you’re a sensible person, you don’t need to run around bookstores when you’ve finished a book! Just go to the Kindle store and buy one or read the next one in your collection.

So although you miss the feeling of holding real paper, there are loads of advantages to owning a Kindle.

Since I’m a cheapskate when it comes to buying gadgets (I prefer spending my money on travel and food), I have the cheapest Kindle, which costs only 89 dollars. Although there are more fancy Kindles out there like the Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Fire, this is more than good enough for me (but I would rather buy a Kindle Fire than an iPad for example). Below you see why it’s so good:

Benefits of owning a Kindle (I ripped this off of Amazon.com)

  • Less than 6 ounces – lighter than a paperback, fits in your pocket
  • 15% faster page turns
  • New darker, hand-tuned fonts for easier reading
  • Reads like paper with no glare, even in bright sunlight
  • Download books in 60 seconds with built-in Wi-Fi
  • Holds over 1,000 books – take your library wherever you go
  • Massive book selection. Lowest prices. Over a million titles less than $9.99
  • 180,000 Kindle-exclusive titles that you won’t find anywhere else, including books by best-selling authors such as Kurt Vonnegut
  • Supports children’s books and includes new parental controls

Does owning a Kindle mean you have to stop reading printed books? No, you should obviously do both. But it’s a great complement to printed books and the ideal travel partner. And if I can get Lenah to want one, I’m sure you can find it useful too.

And remember, you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books. You can use whatever gadget you have, your computer, your iPad or your mobile phone. Just download your free Kindle app.