Reading is so important and I think largely undervalued. Even in my own life, even though I strive to always be reading something.
Here are a few ways to make it easier, both time-wise and budget-wise.
Time-saving Reading Hacks
- Take the plunge into audiobooks. They make sitting in traffic so much more enjoyable, make working out something to look forward to, and cleaning the house fun. I have a hands-free connection to my car that connects with my phone automatically which makes things really easy. I also have a dedicated set of earbuds in the pocket of my cleaning apron so I don’t have to go looking for them when I want to just jump right into household chores. And once I’m no longer pregnant and get back into a workout routine, my goal is to have a dedicated set of earbuds stashed in my gym bag too. You could even take the Immerse or Die approach to working out (see Jefferson Smith’s blog here).
- Get into the eBook scene. If you haven’t already, find a way to read eBooks on a device you carry with you always. It’s so lovely to have thousands of books at my fingertips where ever I go. And I can always fit in a couple of pages while waiting, especially at the Doctor’s office with all my check-ups and pregnancy appointments. eBooks are also a life-saver for me when I get overly addicted to Facebook. There have been so many times I’ll open my phone out of habit and start moving my thumb towards the Facebook app, only to sigh with discontentment at what I’m sure to find there. Then I remind myself that I could entertain myself by reading instead, and I open the kindle app. In seconds, I’m immersed in reading instead of scrolling through endless updates that may or may not interest me.
- Put stacks of books throughout the house where you are likely to crash. Keep each stack to 2 or 3 books, small enough to not seem overwhelming. These tend to crop up on their own around my own place, but it might help to be purposeful about it. Bedside table, next to the couch or your favorite tv watching chair, etc. Not only will you have a book beside you when you are most likely to have time to read, if your significant other wants to watch something on tv that you don’t, there’s no need to argue. You get to read and they get to watch what they want.
- Don’t waste time on books that don’t interest you. This is a hard one for me. I have this thing about finishing every book I start, and reading things out of obligation rather than genuine interest. But really, your reading time is too valuable for that. Don’t be afraid to put a book down if it fails to hook you in the first couple chapters. I mean, give every book a decent chance, of course. And recognize when you’re so distracted by life that even Harry Potter wouldn’t hold your interest. But if a book isn’t worth investing in, move on. It is important for the cultivation of your reading habits that you don’t start to think reading is boring.
- Get on goodreads.com. It’s Facebook, but for books, and is a wonderful way to organize your reading and even motivate you to get into the rhythm of it. You can make shelves of books you want to read next and record what you’ve already read. Goodreads is fun and a neat way to discover new reads, but what I really love about it is the organization of my reading world. I don’t have to spend time wondering what it was I was wanting to read next because it’s already on my “want to read” shelf.
- Participate in a reading event/marathon! Call your reading friends together, grab a bunch of books, snacks, and tea, and just sit around all day reading. Sometimes it’s just easiest to plan a special event for it than it is to find time here and there. Because when something is an event, it sounds a lot better of an excuse than “I’m just going to go home and read.”
Money-saving Reading Hacks
- Libraries! Obviously. Try to get into a nice rhythm of checking out a new book and returning the last one every week or two to prevent late fines. Also, if you make friends with your librarians, they can help you find things of interest to you. Librarians are important!
- Take a look at BookBub.com. I was skeptical at first, but then I checked it out and suddenly I had 20 new free books to read that somehow accumulated on my kindle over the course of two weeks. If you’re not picky about only reading bestsellers, or if you want to discover new indie authors, BookBub will fill your inbox with notifications of when books in your favorite genres or by your favorite authors go on sale. Most are 99 cents or free.
- Goodreads.com again. Authors or publishers will frequently host giveaways of books. If a book that’s being offered as a giveaway is on your to-read shelf, Goodreads will send you an email to let you know. You can also browse their list of currently active giveaways, and sign up for emails to notify you if books on your to-read shelf go on sale on amazon.
- Audible Daily Deals. If you want audiobooks, but don’t want to pay the $15 subscription every month, get on the Audible Daily Deals email list. They’ll send you an email a day letting you know which audio book is available for 2.99 or less. Not every day will be something you want. But most days I did find something I wanted to read. If you want to save money, I suggest you pay for one or two months of audible, then buy the discounted books from their daily deals until you have enough to keep you busy for the next several months, then suspend your account. I ended up with a couple hundred hours of audio books this way, which I’m still making my way through, for much less than if I had paid $15 per month to get a book a month.
- Discount Book Stores. I personally like Half-Price Books, but they may not be in your area. They usually have some kind of sale around every holiday.
- Kindle Unlimited is also a thing, though I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I’ll admit to downloading dozens of books just to support their authors, but then never getting around to reading them. But Kindle Unlimited pays authors by how many pages are actually read, since that’s a thing that can be tracked now. (So, if you’re looking to support authors, make sure you read as much of the book as interests you.) If you pay for amazon prime already, you’ll have access to free books through Kindle Unlimited. If not, look at how much you are reading and spending on books and decide if a KU membership would be worth it ($9.99/month).
Any suggestions to add to these? Let me know! Hope this helps you cultivate more reading in your life.