What type of reader are you?
Now, I’m not talking about readers of different genres- the googly-eyed romance readers, dark-hearted lovers of dark fantasy or the sadistic horror fans. No, I refer to something else entirely,
Some of you might take this article personally and see it as subtle shade thrown your way. But, believe me, such is not my intent. I merely attempt to depict the various types of readers I have observed over the years.
Therefore, stick with me as I highlight the various categories of readers, so you can see where you fit. Again, forgive me in advance if you find anything mildly offensive here. I repeat once again that it is not my intent.
The description bibliophile here would probably be just as apt. But, I find the term devourer more descriptive.
Do you find yourself reading a hundred books a year, sometimes more? Does the idea of getting lost in a book appeal to you more than social meetups and friendly hangouts? Do the books you read regularly elicit strong emotion, occasionally propelling you to curse at the pages (often at the risk of quizzed looks from people around you if you happen to be in public)?
If the above is the case, then the chances are that you’re a keen devourer of books, a page-consuming monster with legendary reading speed. Reading is very likely your only hobby, and your circle of friends is minimal. You’re probably the sort to attend a wedding with your favourite paperback, and there’s every chance you’ve mastered the art of reading with loud music blaring from earphones.
As a devourer, your TBR pile is perpetually huge, and, despite your lack of social skills of any significance, you’re probably keen to make reader friends and find ways to let out the pent-up nerdiness.
If you fall into this category, congratulations on being able to read so many books in your lifetime! Just remember, now and then, that reading isn’t a competition. Those of us that read only ten books a year are readers too, just of a different sort…
We know you, and we know that you exist.
Some skimmers are wannabe devourers. They are threatened by the speed at which the devourers consume books and then skim huge parts of books just to catch up and mark a book as read on Goodreads.
A sub-category of skimmers exists. These sorts aren’t really wannabe devourers. Instead, they just have certain scenes that they like to skip over. Some of them hate lengthy narratives, while others simply cannot stand fight scenes. So they gloss over these parts- often totaling tens of pages- and skip to the fun parts. However, they don’t skim as a habit, only when the book is boring and they don’t want to drop it. As a result, they only skim a few books and not every book they read.
Another sub-category of skimmers is allergic to DNF-ing a book. They skim by habit as they simply do not have the patience to read the entire thing word-for-word. While they don’t necessarily do this because they want to catch up on the devourers, their motive apparently stems from habit more than anything else.
If you’re a skimmer of any sort, well done! Great job! We don’t see you when you do it, but remember that the god of literature is watching you from on high. For every chapter and scene you skip, this god watches you and notices your lack of interest. You may deceive your fellow bookish friends for a while, but remember, you cannot do it forever. Soon, the deep bookish conversations will begin, and you will be shown up stark like a toddler having a diaper changed…
Don’t be shy! Confess, and tell us the extent to which you skim! It’s certainly not a jailable offence!
Say hello to the YouTubers, TikTokers, Bookstagrammers and bookish content creators! We appreciate your excellent work! In truth, bookish content creation has probably contributed more to book marketing than any other avenue that publishers dream up. With dazzling reels and enthralling voiceovers, bookish content creators single-handedly transform a book into a valuable artefact worthy of collecting. It’s wonderful, truly!
However, I have noticed a trend. Now, I do not think this is typical of all creators, but there’s a new readership category to be found among this ilk- they create but don’t read a lot.
This is one of my more controversial claims, so I am braced for any attacks. However, I stand my ground, insisting that some creators don’t read an awful lot. This category creates content around the most popular books and regularly skims just to have a thing or two to say about the books they’re creating content on.
Now, this is not to say that all creators are this way. I’m only choosing to name this interesting minority. Nevertheless, we urge them to keep up the good work. They’re contributing to the book business in their own way, and the impact is felt in the industry.
However, just like the skimmers, this category will eventually be shown up when the canvas of the book discourse takes on deeper hues…
Devourers are often stackers, as are skimmers and creators. The truth is that any type of reader can be a stacker, provided they have the financial resources to maintain this expensive hobby. The motive is simple- flex and aesthetics.
The stackers have tons of physical books in their libraries, many of which may be yet unread. Reading for aesthetics is a thing, and having a massive library of paperback, hardcover, and leatherback tomes is a huge flex.
Some stackers don’t read a lot, though, often reading only a book a month or even less. However, they never quit collecting, often spending considerable sums in one go on whimsical book splurges. Some of them are also notorious for only purchasing books with great covers.
If your girlfriend is a stacker, she’s already high maintenance, whether or not you buy the books for her. The best place to take her on dates is a bookstore, and she’ll appreciate a special edition volume of her favourite book much more than any Hermes bag.
My advice to anyone? Don’t mess with stackers! If they’re gracious enough to lend you from their hoard (which they rarely do), don’t leave dog ears or any other signs of physical defilement on the pages. The day you do so will be the day they stop being friends with you.
Apparently, book defilement is enough to make a mortal enemy of one! Do it at your own risk!
If you like to pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer your weasely black guts out on the hard work of authors, I frown in disapproval. While I do know that my words will have little effect on your love for piracy, I urge you nonetheless to turn from your sinful path and support authors in this small way.
The irony of piracy is that physical books aren’t cheap. Yes, they aren’t! Plus, they aren’t easily accessible. For instance, if you reside in places like Africa, Asia, and South America and are a fantasy fan, you can say goodbye to acquiring your favourite new titles at affordable prices. With platforms like Book Depository closing down and there being scant few places to acquire books without paying exorbitant shipping fees, piracy will unfortunately still exist.
The logic is simple- the demand is there to be met, and there will always be readers who will forever be inclined to get their favourite books by hook or crook.
However, even this is no genuine excuse for piracy, as ebooks can be purchased at rather low prices. It is truly a dilemma and a headache for authors and publishers.
If you belong to this category, I only have a few words for you- the dankest pits of hell are reserved for pirates.
In my opinion, this category is the most exalted of all the types of readers discussed in this article. They don’t just read, they’re deeply concerned by the events in each book they enjoy, including some of the ones that they don’t enjoy, and they take this enthusiastic concern into the real world to start up the physical and online bookish interactions that are so vital to a book’s commercial success.
These types of readers take the events in books personally and are often quick to draw thematic parallels with real-world events. Concerned readers often take their time to write full-length, critical and analytical reviews of books they enjoyed or did not enjoy. They’re the bookclub enthusiasts, bookstore managers, book reviewers, book bloggers and book influencers that ensure the stories told within the books are not limited to the pages.
At Littafi, we’re a team of concerned reviewers who aim to show the world just how much we love books and how far we’re willing to go to ensure that others read and love them too. If you’re like us and would like to contribute book reviews to our website as part of our team, feel free to indicate your interest in an email or via dm on Instagram or Twitter.
As you can see, the categories I’ve highlighted are quite broad and all-encompassing. However, you should note that it’s unlikely that one reader exclusively belongs to one category. Instead, the fact is that readers often show traits of more than one category.
For instance, some stackers occasionally pirate for books they consider low priority. After enjoying the read, they may subsequently purchase a physical copy for aesthetics. Also, some genuine devourers skim to varying degrees, while many creators are concerned readers.
Let us know which category/categories you belong to in the comments, and maybe add a few categories you think we’ve missed.