Supporting a Reading Habit While Living on a Sailboat

A good book while on watch, really helps pass the time!

A good book while on watch, really helps pass the time!

Cruising from destination to destination and making long passages can be quite mundane sometimes. One of my favorite boat activities, whether underway or at anchor, is reading. I LOVE to read! I find there is nothing better than squeezing in a few good pages while at the helm, or a few good hours while lounging on deck or relaxing on the beach. And what else is there to do on a boat when it is raining?

The longstanding argument between Matt and I has been over the ridiculous amount of books, actual paperback books, that I carry on board. Before we left I searched library book sales and traded with friends and relatives to build myself a little collection. I told him, that if he gets all his tools, I should be able to bring on a few books. 😉 

I love to turn the pages of a good old paperback, so I am constantly visiting marina book exchanges, trading with other cruisers or grabbing a few new ones when I return to the states for a visit. No matter how much I read and how fast I cruise through books, Matt still insists that it’s a waste of space, and that I should just utilize my Kindle. “Isn’t that what it’s for?” he always asks. 

So here’s my honest opinion about books on boats:

Paperbacks vs. Kindle (or other e-reader)



I have and always will love reading paperbacks, there is something about being able to turn the pages and the gratification when you get to that last page and finish the book. 

CON: Dead Weight

The problem is once you are out at sea what do you do with that finished book? It almost becomes dead weight once you finish reading it.

PRO: Trade Option

When you do get to a book swap or library of some kind, your old already read book now allows you to get another new one to add to your collection!

CON: Still ‘Waste of Space’

You never end up ‘getting rid’ of any books and your husband complains about the waste of space 😂

Kindle/ E-Readers

PRO: Space

The upside of an e-reader is that it is usually smaller than a paperback book and it can hold many many books electronically. It takes up very little space on board. 

CON: Charging/ Batteries

Although the battery doesn’t require a lot of power to be charged there is the added hassle of having to make sure your device is always charged. 

PRO: Storage

Most e-readers can hold thousands of books, so you can have all of your reading material in one spot. When I first got my kindle I didn’t like the idea of having to spend upwards of $10 for a book. Then I stumbled upon Book Bub. If you have never heard of Book Bub and you are an e-reader person you have to check it out! You can sign up for free, input some genre preferences and they will send you daily emails with books that are recommended for you, and the best part they are always on sale, and some are even FREE. They aren’t usually big names, but I am always up for trying a new author especially if it is FREE. I have now loaded my Kindle with hundreds of books that I have found for free on Book Bub. 

CON: Reflection

I still find that when using my e-reader out on deck that I still get a reflection even when I adjust the brightness. I get very distracted when I can see my own reflection on the screen when I am trying to focus on the book that I am reading. May not be a big factor to all, but for me it is extremely distracting.

My Favorite spot to read while at anchor; out on the back deck with my pooch sitting guard!

My Favorite spot to read while at anchor; out on the back deck with my pooch sitting guard!

So there you have it…. a few pros and cons of paperback books vs. E-readers. Keep in mind these are only my opinions. I definitely prefer to physically hold the book, however if space becomes of the essence I can easily trade in my books and simply use my Kindle. 

What about our readers out there, are you paperback lovers or do you prefer the new aged E-Readers? Do you have any other pros or cons associated with each? Please share I always love to hear from other readers!

Stacy RiboliniComment