2008-2013: A look at my 5 year book buying patterns

Earlier this week I started playing around with my data shared by the Pocket (a save-to-read-it-later app) team. It showed how many articles I saved every week and how many I read every week. It was a nice thought experiment and the conclusion was that I was reading a third of what I was saving. I was surprised by how low my reading was, considering I read a lot. Pocket CEO Nate Weiner said that Pocket isn’t email inbox but more like Netflix queue – watch it when I have time. He pointed out that each article I read was over 1500 words and I read equivalent of about 120,000 words or about two novels a month. 

That made me wonder if this was having an impact on my book reading habits? At any given time, I am reading about five books (I have always been like this, and have no real explanation as to why) and as such buy quite a few books, not to mention about half a dozen I receive as review copes. It was hard for me to tell how many books I had read — I typically read about one book a week.

So the only data I had about my book reading habits — how many books (and eBooks/Singles) I bought every year. Thankfully Amazon has been my default bookstore since 2003 and as such have the record of all the books I have bought from them. In 2003, I bought 23; in 2004 it fell to 20 books but went up to 25 in 2005) and 33 in 2006. In 2007, as the pressure of being a founder increased, my book buying slowed down to 18 book purchases. In 2008, recovering from my illness meant that I bought 32 books, though I am surprised I didn’t buy any on Kindle. 

In 2009 as I regained strength and slowly went back to work, I went into a hybrid buying mode – 21 books & 15 ebooks (+singles). In 2010, that number fell to 14 books and 11 singles – probably the work pressures increased. In 2011, I acquired 16 books and 19 ebooks (and singles) and in 2012 I bought a whopping 34 books and 14 ebooks (+singles.) In 2013 so far I have bought 24 books and 17 ebooks & singles. It is very likely 2013 is going to be one of the record years. I am quite surprised by the fact that I am buying a lot more Kindle content — even though some like Nicholas Carr believe that eBook sales have flattened. I am likely buying more because I now have a paper white Kindle which makes it reading on the screen so much easier.

All this data makes me wonder — where am I finding time to do all this reading? Where am I siphoning my time from? I really need to think about it. It can’t be television since I haven’t really subscribed to cable since 2008. Hmmm!


  1. steve crandall (@tingilinde) says:

    August 9th, 2013 at 5:16 pm Reply

    My physical book purchases have dropped dramatically. About 2-3 ebooks a month these days, but I still spend time in the library and use my card. There is also online access to more than a few journals. I’m listening to some audiobooks during my exercise sessions, but more often podcasts. (a beauty of podcasts is you can listen at 2x speed) About once a week we rent a movie on iTunes. No TV… Getting rid of cable was good for so many reasons…

  2. bottledworder says:

    August 9th, 2013 at 10:48 am Reply

    Great statistics about self and reading habits! You are a voracious reader for sure. Makes me wonder what kind of books these were and what kind of articles. I mean, after all, books vs. articles is an artificial distinction and some words strung into sentences are harder and slower reads than others. Also, are you a sporadic reader (in that case shorter articles would suit you more), have you developed a habit of reading in spurts or do you like to retire with some time in hand and start reading. Very thought-provoking!

  3. meaganhanes says:

    August 8th, 2013 at 9:52 pm Reply

    Loving this exploration of your metadata!

    1. Om Malik says:

      August 9th, 2013 at 7:03 am Reply

      Thanks Meagan!

  4. babushkablue says:

    August 8th, 2013 at 8:48 pm Reply

    Very impressive statistics! You make me know for certain I need to get rid of cable.

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