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eReader and Travel

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This week BTT asks:

When you travel, how many books do you bring with you? Has this changed since the arrival of ebooks?

My Kindle has certainly changed how I travel, but more notably, it’s travel that has changed my mind to get an electronic reading device. I used to make at least two trips to Asia every year and on top of that Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, and British Columbia. For transpacific international travel, I was allowed to check two bags of 70 pounds each. Into the cabin I was allowed a hand-carry no more than 15 pounds and a personal item, which is usually a backpack. I recalled the pre-iPod travel days when almost all the handy-carry quota went to books, a stack of books that would cover my time abroad. I always brought more because overseas bookstore inventory almost never agreed with my whim. Then I had to worry about AA batteries for the discman (CD player) and a stack of CDs. Even a business class seat is too crammed for all these things. The iPod and Kindle just answer the call to travel light, just in time when airlines cut baggage allowance and charge crazy money for literally everything. When I fly to Asia, I still bring along 2 or 3 trade paperbacks and the rest I read on my Kindle. The length of the trip is key as to how many books (that are actually books) I’m bringing with me. I’m fine with hard copies in Hawaii, as long as I can manage to keep them dry!

22 Responses

  1. If I traveled as much as you I would definitely get a Kindle. But as a teacher, I rarely go too far from home. where in Asia doe you usually travel?

    • I usually fly home to Hong Kong (which is 14 hours from San Francisco), and spin off to Thailand (another 2 hours from Hong Kong) and all over southeast Asia. The reduction in luggage makes life so much easier traveling through these hot and humid countries.

  2. The Kindle is the way to go for any kind of travel (so glad you decided to get one!). I always take at least one or two backups “just in case” something bad happens though. It would be horrible to be caught somewhere without a book.

    • I never thought I’ll be reading off an electronic gadget! The reality is it’s not practical to lug around huge stack of books because of the reduced luggage allowance across the airline industry. I would read a paperback on board the plane.

  3. I recently got a Kindle and am looking forward to test driving it on my next trip. However, I still imagine carrying my hard copies of Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide. I also won’t give up browsing in second hand bookshops even those with very limited English selections.

    • browsing in bookstores is an irreplaceable experience. I still go scour bookstores while I travel, but on the safe side I make sure I have enough books to read. How horrible that would be to be without a book.

  4. My Nook has definitely changed my life in how many books I can carry around with me.

  5. I think travel is where the Kindle really shines. Mine wouldn’t get used half as much if it weren’t for that. I still bring some trade paperbacks with me (my daughter totes around her blankie, I tote around books) but my shoulders sure appreciate the lighter load.

    • I tote around books too! Last time I brought 6 books with me to Thailand and Singapore, on top of my usual bags and luggage. It’s a huge load all the way from San Francisco. I still bring a few paperbacks with me so I can read on the plane.

  6. I usually limited myself to a couple of trade paperbacks when flying, but haven’t been traveling by air much lately. On cross country road trips to my Mom in SC, I would make sure to have a large selection of books, fiction and non-fiction for any mood, and magazines! I haven’t traveled since I got my Nook in August, but am looking forward to traveling with it in the next few months. My husband will be glad I’m not taking all those books!

    • Books are perfect companion for road and train travel. I remembered reading all day in the lounge car on Amtrak. So relaxing because it’s usually very quiet in the lounge car except during meal hours. I used my Kindle in Hawaii and it just worked perfectly. I could read the e-ink screen fine even in the sun.

  7. If did a lot of long distance traveling I’d definitely buy an e-book reader. If the prices drop I’ll probably get one. But for now I’m happy with my paper books.

    • The Kindle is a fine balance to my paperbacks when I’m far away from home. I still browse the bookstores when I travel, but having downloaded books and brought them just put me on the safe side.

  8. Yeah, I usually used to pack some books with me for trips and then on the return trip, I’d agonize about packing (with shopping and all that). Thank goodness for the Kindle since I can travel with my entire library!

    • I almost always agonize over packing on the way home. How could I have accumulated so much more stuffs? I’m sure we all ask that same question at the end of vacation. Kindle does help with that! 🙂

  9. If my trip is by car, I pack both books (2-3) and my Kindle. However, if by plane, then I try to only take my Kindle. I’ll load up a book or two for the ride and then download the rest when I get to my destination. That way, my mood won’t interfere with what I’ve downloaded. I can’t really predict what my reading mood will be until I am upon it.

    • I would know what I feel like reading a day or two before the trip. 🙂 I would stock up and pack my bag with the desired books. I’ll also have some backup titles for the destination.

  10. travel is the only thing that tempts me to buy an e-reader.

  11. I think I will probably end up buying an e-reader to take travelling. I have been known to bring more books than clothes with me on a trip, but as a myalgia sufferer I really need to lighten the loads I carry. An e-reader loaded with 200 or so books seems the way to go.

    • I’m glad to hear I’m not alone when it comes to packing for a trip. Especially Hawaii, where all I need are beach wear. The Kindle stores up to 3500 books.

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