What’s your e-reader setup?

18/03/2019 Reading 21

What's your e-reader setup?

I was pretty slow to embrace the ebook, only seriously starting to use my Kindle in the last couple of years. However, these days I probably read one book in every three on my Kindle because it’s just so convenient! Plus it’s often cheaper to buy a digital copy of a book, especially if it comes up on sale (and I am so addicted to the Amazon monthly sales!).

However, it’s only recently that I’ve started experimenting with my ebook setup, to try and give myself the best reading experience. Because that’s yet another upside to e-readers: you can adjust all sorts of things from the font size, to the margins and make it more comfortable for you to read. I know a lot of people with eyesight problems use e-readers to read because they can increase the font size, which I think is amazing. Years back they would have been stuck with whatever books had been released in Large Print, so I love that Kindles have probably made a big difference to a lot of people!

Now, I’m pretty dull on the whole font side of things, and tend to stick with the default font – ‘Amazon Ember’ on Kindle – and default size, which is size 3. For me, that combination most resembles the size and font you’d find in a book, and that’s what I want to recreate with my Kindle.

I also don’t really touch any of the other options like the boldness of the font, the page margins, spacing or anything like that.

The main area that I’ve been experimenting with is the ‘Reading Progress’ options. Now I don’t know about other brands of e-readers, but on Kindle you have various options for showing your progress within an ebook: location in book, page in book, time left in chapter, time left in book, or none.

For some reason, I had always had the ‘Time Left In Book’ option on, which would then display the percentage of the way I was through the book and a time estimate for how long it would take me to finish it. It only really occurred to me recently that whilst this is useful information to know, it was actually really distracting and was hampering my ability to get lost in the book I was reading.

I would often find myself glancing down at the percentage and seeing it as a kind of goal to get to a certain percentage during each reading session, or I’d find myself being daunted by it if it was a long book and so was only going up slowly. I also found the ‘time left’ thing distracting because I’d glance at it and be trying to work out how much time I had left to keep reading, and if I would make it near the end in that time. All of this was time out of my reading time when I wasn’t actually taking in any words on the screen.

So I decided to adjust my Kindle setup, and turned it off completely. I now have no progress information, or even the time showing on my page when I’m reading, leaving me with nothing to distract me from the book itself. And I’ve been loving it! I’ve definitely been finding it easier to get fully lost in the words, and it’s made my reading sessions feel less like I’m having a competition with myself to get to a certain point.

And if I want that information when I stop reading? I just briefly turn it back on and then turn it immediately off ready for my next session. Now, this might not be other people’s preference, but that’s the wonder of e-readers: you can set up a completely personalised reading experience that suits you!

So I’d love to know what your e-reader setup is like! Do you like to be able to see your progress, or do you also find it distracting? Do you make any adjustments to fonts or anything? And if you have another brand of e-reader, what options for customisation does it give you?

21 Responses to “What’s your e-reader setup?”

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    Interesting that you enjoy not seeing your progress in a book! I definitely want to see mine; otherwise I feel so disoriented not knowing how much of the book is left. I want the progress shown as page numbers, not time or percentage. I guess it gives me more of the feeling I have when reading a “real” book.

    Good thing there are options we can select according to our preferences — when we figure them out…

    • Laura

      That’s so interesting that you like to see your progress as page numbers! I imagine that does make it feel more like reading a physical book, so I can definitely understand that. It’s great that we can all adjust it to our preferences 🙂

  2. ShootingStarsMag

    I like seeing how much time is left in a book, but I’m pretty good at ignoring it as I’m reading. Often times it just makes me happy when I have longer left than I think because it means the book will continue for awhile. LOL I can see how it could be distracting though if you just want to read and lose yourself entirely in the book. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I just love that I can read at night now!


    • Laura

      There has definitely been books where I’ve wished it would have gone on for longer! But mostly I end up competing with myself to make as much progress as possible. I probably just have an easily distracted brain or something! 🙂
      And I’m glad you’re loving your Kindle Paperwhite! I’ve been wondering about upgrading to one of them myself, seen as I know now that I would actually use it.

  3. Andrew Blackman

    Hi Laura, I definitely relate to what you said about the ‘Time Left in Book’ feature being useful but distracting. Like you, I keep glancing down at it and seeing it as a kind of challenge (and yes, in those huge books when you read page after page and it stays stuck at 2%, it can be intimidating!). I think I’ll try switching it off and see how it goes. Thanks for the idea 🙂

  4. Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

    It’s funny because in our most recent Debate It I talked about how the same feature brings me out of the story! But for me the solution isn’t as simple, since I’m very obsessive, so even if I hide the progress bar in whatever form, I constantly check it after a page swipe or two and get distracted.

    On the other hand, I did have some success with increasing my reading speed when I increased the font size. I think I was straining to read the words beforehand which was uncomfortable and made me avoid the book. After I increased the font though, I found I read the book more and for much larger chunks of time.

    Great post!

    • Laura

      I’ll definitely have to check out your latest Debate It post! I feel exactly the same in that it brings me out of the story, but I can see how not having it would still be a distraction if you feel like you have to keep checking it. I’m always tempted to keep checking, but I try and just check it before I finish reading.
      And that’s so interesting that you found you read faster with a larger font! I’ll maybe have to experiment with that too just to try it out 🙂

  5. Jenny in Neverland

    I have a Kindle but honestly I haven’t used it in years! I really need to get back into it though because eBooks can save you so much money. I don’t really mess around with the settings either – honestly, I’m not sure I’d know how to haha!

    Jenny in Neverland

    • Laura

      I was like that with my first Kindle – I bought one when they were still fairly new and didn’t really use it, but since I’ve bought my latest one I’ve really got into ebooks! It’s definitely a great way to save money, and once you get to know how to change all the settings it’s really good to be able to customise your reading experience. I’d recommend it! 🙂

  6. Heather

    I have the percentage finished on in my Kindle app. I like knowing how far through the book I am. In a paper book you have that visual cue all the time.

    I recently put most of my ebooks into collections by genre and then read or unread so I can keep track of them. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out that I could do that.

    • Laura

      That’s true, you do have that cue when you’re reading a physical book, so I don’t know why I find it so distracting with an ebook!
      That sounds like a great way of organising your Kindle. I tend to have mine organised by genre too, because when I’m deciding what to read next, I usually have an idea what genre I’m in the mood for, and can have a browse to see what I have that’s unread.

  7. Gayathri

    I like seeing the progress chapter wise, which I am not sure is available on Kindle. I use this to know when to stop reading and plan in such a way that I don’t stop in the mid of a chapter.

    Otherwise I don’t tinker around any of the settings.

    • Laura

      I can definitely see why seeing the progress in chapters would be useful! I don’t think you can do that on Kindle which is a shame. I think it will tell you the time left in the chapter you’re reading, but not how many chapters you have read or anything like that.

  8. Perry Chalmers

    I have a Kobo Aura H20 e-reader, on my device I haven’t changed any of the settings for font type, size, or weight. The default for me is fine. The Home screen shows books underway as a percentage of completion. While I am reading it shows Chapter Title and Page # of # in that chapter.

    On the desktop app it only shows the Chapter and Page #, but there is a bar beneath that shows overall progress with the book

    • Laura

      I’ve never really looked too much into other types of ereaders, so it’s interesting to know what settings you can change on some of them! That does sound like it would be useful to know how far into a chapter you are.

  9. Sam@wlabb

    Ha! My font is ember bold at 13, narrow margins. Normal people can read it from across the room, but it helps with my eye fatigue, which is why I prefer electronic format for reading.

  10. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Like you, I often get hung up on that little percentage at the bottom of my screen, but I’ll confess that I haven’t been able to bring myself to turn it off. In fact, when it disappears (which it sometimes seems to randomly?) I need to get it back immediately!

    • Laura

      My Kindle has definitely done that before too where it’s just changed the settings for no reason! It’s very weird! 🙂

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