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Friday's Digest - The Newsletter for Doctors & Scientists

Printed Books, E-Books, or Audiobooks. What’s the Best Way to Read?

Published 20 days ago • 6 min read

Printed Books, E-Books, or Audiobooks. What’s the Best Way to Read?

E-books and audiobooks have come a long way over the last few years. Let's explore which ones are the best for you. Friday’s Digest #92

✍️ Write With Me

Does scientific writing consume too much of your time and seem inefficient?

Join “Write With Me”​ to achieve more writing in less time, freeing up time to do what you love.


Table of contents

  1. Preface
  2. Main Article
  3. Readers’ Favorite
  4. Stuff


Preface

A few words about “Write With Me”.

For those who've asked me about it, I added a "Q&A" section, which you can find here.

In essence, “Write With Me” is designed to help you write more in less time, and teach you how to use apps to make your writing process easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

I'll keep updating as “Write With Me” develops towards its launch.

Today, we will discuss E-books and Audiobooks, and how to use them instead of sticking to physical books.

I’ll also show you which tools will save you time and money while consuming books and scientific literature.

Number 92!


Main Article

Storytime!

I'm eight and about to take the bus by myself for the first time in my life.

Where am I headed?

To the library!

I still remember my first bus ride. I remember the person who sat next to me and the specific seat I sat in. It was the '80s, very different from how things are today.

Anyway, here I am, entering the library, heading over to the children's section.

I spent so much time at that library.

Browsing through the books, looking at their covers, reading the back covers, deciding which book to take home with me.

And then a bus ride back, by myself.

I did it 2-3 times a week. Come to think of it, I probably spent 5-6 hours every week just getting to the library and picking up books.

Fast forward, April 2024

We're on a family trip to New York City, and we stumbled upon a cool comic book store.

As we walked in, firstborn immediately went to look at the Star Wars section.

Browsing through the books, looking at their covers, reading the back covers, deciding which book to take home with him.

He reminded me of me. In the library.

He ended up getting a Star Wars comic book taking place between episodes V and VI.

I paid for half of it, he paid for the other half.

And then we walked back to our hotel, discussing what happened at the end of Star Wars V.

Then we talked about how this Star Wars comic would be worth a lot of money once he’s my age.

But in the end, firstborn decided that he wouldn't sell it. He'd rather keep it to remind him of the trip to the comic store— the trip to New York with his dad when he was ten.

Books Have Sentimental Value

The sound of turning the pages, the print, the smell, and the cover.

They affect your brain at a whole different level.

Reading a physical book will do wonders for your soul.

However…

Physical books can't be with you all the time.

They will fill up your shelves and weigh down your bag.

They will add a lot of friction to your reading process.

They are not searchable.

So, should you give up on physical books?

No. But there are ways to enjoy both worlds.

There are tools specifically designed for this purpose.

Which tools, you ask?

I'm glad you asked!

I've been using these tools for 20 years. Let me summarize them for you:

🔵 E-Ink devices

First, what is an E-Ink device?

It looks like a tablet, but the screen is designed to mimic ink on paper.

Let's start with Amazon Kindle.

This is by far the most popular E-Ink device out there. I've been using Kindle for many years, and it has served me well.

However, it has one significant limitation. While it’s straightforward to download an E-book you've bought on Amazon, adding anything outside of Amazon isn't very easy.

So, if you have an electronic version of a book or a manuscript, it won't necessarily open on Kindle.

That brings us to the new generation of E-Ink devices—those that run on an Android system.

Anything you can open on your phone can be opened on these devices. PDFs, EPUBs, websites, Notion, emails, you name it.

The E-Ink device I use daily is called Boox Tab Mini C. The apps I mainly use on it are Notion and Readwise Reader.

You can even use the Kindle app on it! In essence, every app you use on your phone will work just as well.

The experience of reading on Boox Tab Mini C is wonderful. It allows me to read more in less time, and remember more of what I've read.

🔵 Remember More of What You Read

Suppose you're reading a book and stumble upon a section that resonates with you. What do you do?

Most likely, you do nothing. You remember it for a few days, and then forget about it.

But think how nice it would have been if you remembered everything you read!

This is where highlighting comes in. You can highlight the important things.

And then what?

What do you do with these highlights?

This is where Readwise comes in. Readwise saves all of your highlights and presents them to you on a daily basis. I will dedicate an entire newsletter to highlights so you'll have a chance to dive deeper. In the meantime, you can play around with it for free with this 60-day trial.

🔵 Audiobooks

What if you don't have time to read?

What if all you have is "in-between" time? The time when you drive, cook, or go out for a walk?

This is where audiobooks come in. You listen to the book instead of reading it.

Sure, it's a whole different experience. But I'm not telling you to give up on printed books. All I'm saying is to use your "in-between" time better by listening to audiobooks.

So, where can you listen to books?

One of the most popular resources out there is Audible. The problem is that it costs around $15 a month, and all it gives you is one book a month.

They offer a one-month free trial, so you can give it a try. After that month, if you cancel, they will offer you a chance to keep your membership for a lower fee or even get one more free month. But in the long run, $15 for one book a month is pricey.

This is where Readwise Reader comes in. It included a text-to-speech option that will read anything for you. Sure, it's an AI voice, not a professional human reader like Audible. But as time goes on, these AI voices are becoming better and better.

And there's no limit to the number of books it can read to you.

🔵 Physical books

So, what about physical books?

Well, there are times when physical books will serve you better.

For me, preparing for surgery is a perfect example.

During surgeries, when I encounter something complicated, the pictures and text from physical books are the first to come to my mind. When I sit down with a physical book, I enjoy it more, it takes me less time to study from it, and I remember it better.

When (and if) I have more time to read, I will definitely pick up a physical book. However, except for my surgery books, e-books and audiobooks make up 90% of my reading habits.


Readers’ Favorite

Three things I know today that I wish I had known when I was 30.


Stuff

Higo no Kami pocket knife

A perfect gift for people who like to fix things themselves.

People who always have a Leatherman or a Swiss army knife on them (or both, like me 😄).

It's a folding pocket knife handmade in Japan by the last remaining maker in the guild, Nagao Seisakusho.

There's no other tool like it.


Epilogue

If you received this newsletter from a friend and would like to join Friday's Digest, visit: https://newsletter.shaysharon.com

That’s it for this issue.

Hope for better times.

Shay



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Friday's Digest - The Newsletter for Doctors & Scientists

by Shay Sharon DMD, MD, PhD

For two decades, I've been developing tools that have improved my practice in medicine, dentistry, and scientific research. Join me every Friday to discover a new tool you can integrate into your workflow as a doctor, a scientist, or both. I believe in sharing knowledge, embracing automation, boosting productivity, and finding joy in the process.

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