23 May 2021

Reading insights in the Kindle Android app

As the pandemic has disrupted lives and economies across the world, I have felt its effects in an unlikely area of my life: my reading habits. I started working from home in the second half of March 2020 and ever since I have almost completely stopped reading! Part of the explanation is that I did most of my reading on my Kindle during my daily commute on the subway – no more commute, no more reading…

But I can’t help but think that there is a more fundamental reason behind it… After all, many people are reporting a similar disenchantment with reading. There are certainly many other ways to pass the time while at home, from following news reports on Twitter to chilling on Netflix and gaming. As the months passed and I continued to postpone starting any book, a tentative conclusion is that my taste for fiction has diminished because real-life events have come to surpass some of the wilder imaginations of book authors. As a result, I am content to follow the news and try to keep up with the real world instead of exploring fictional ones.

While reading has taken a backseat, I have managed to catch up on some writing on the blog – and to read more longform articles lately. I generally use my Kindle Paperwhite for this purpose, but Amazon has an Android app as well, and recently I discovered the app includes a section for Reading insights. The feature is apparently a couple of years old – some Reddit threads mentioned it launched in 2018. As far as I can tell, it syncs the reading statistics from Kindle devices and considers manually added documents as well, not only books purchased on Amazon – otherwise my numbers for the past year would be completely blank.

Kindle Reading insights recent months Kindle Reading insights March 2020
Some of my reading insights in the Kindle Android app

The information is not as deep or as visual as Goodreads’ yearly statistics, but it provides a nice timeline of activity, grouped by days, weeks, and months. And you certainly cannot fault its accuracy, as you can see in the data for March 2020. I have started picking up my Kindle more often these past weeks, so hopefully I will soon return to more serious reading.

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