Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Will You Ever Buy Mostly E-books?

It's that time of year again! Time to put on your prognosticator hats and click through to vote on a poll about you and e-books and the future. Nothing less than AN UNSCIENTIFIC READING OF THE PULSE OF THE WORLD is at stake.

This is a question I've now asked three years running. Here is 2007 and 2008 (okay it was technically early 2009 because I forgot at the end of 2008).

Will you ever buy mostly e-books? Can you imagine a future where you mainly by e-books and either don't buy paper books or only buy them once in a while? Is this indeed already your reality?







218 comments:

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Jeremy Robb said...

I love my e-books, purely for convenience. While I still love using a paper book, I like having a full library on my iPod Touch that I can access at anytime I have a wait.

Nathan Bransford said...

Whoops! That should read "looks cool." Although maybe it's cooler to say "coo"

Sandy Shin said...

As an avid fanfic reader, I'm used to reading stories and novels online. And I am also reading more and more ebooks lately. However, I don't think I can ever give up printed books entirely. I would definitely want to have paper copies of all the novels I enjoy.

Dave Guilford said...

Nathan,
I'm already at the point where I buy more ebooks (Kindle) than print books, but it's more a question of practicality for me than ideology or economics.

We moved to France a little over a year ago and the thought of shipping my entire library overseas was not practical, to say the least. Likewise, now that I'm here, it won't be practical to ship an entire library back to the States when the time comes to return home.

I still buy print books occasionally, but the split is about 80/20 in favor of ebooks for me.

Mandajuice said...

You left off the "I already DO buy mostly e-books" option. ;)

Linda Godfrey said...

I'm waiting for the reader prices to come down. Then, probably.

But I could never imagine a house that wasn't filled with books, and have not figured out how authors will sign e-copies!

Nathan Bransford said...

Yeah, I left out the "already there" option in order to keep it consistent with previous years. Vote in the welcoming e-book overlords if this is already your reality.

D minus said...

if i ever spent the $250 for an e-reader, then yeah.. you bet I'd load it up with books. but I like looking at my bookcases and all the different covers/binding lined up one after another.

Sheila O'Kelly said...

I got a Kindle about a month ago and I am really enjoying using it. The convenience is a big factor and I like having a range of reading matter all in one place. In addition, I have published my own enovel, Love Knot, on Amazon, Smaashwords and Barnes and Nobel, so the epublishing revoloution has been great for that!

dOgBOi said...

I love my Kindle, and I buy e-books occasionally. I'd buy more under the following conditions:

1)Publishers stop charging the same for ebooks and physical books. They are saving on printing costs and shipping costs. They should always pass that on to the consumers. Some publishers don't, though.

2) E-book producers and e-reader devices settle on a standard format. I hate the fact that if I want to buy a book for my Kindle, I have to buy it from Amazon. I'd much rather have the choice of having a device that can display e-books purchased from any distributor. There should be a standard format, like MP3s are for music.

3) The e-book reader should be more of a content aggregator, so I can read all of my content on it. It should be able to gather stuff from RSS feeds, for example.

Just my devalued American 2 cents.

Don said...

My mother-in-law gave me her Kindle 2 (she just bought a Kindle international), but I haven't really used it yet. I'm a bit hesitant about buying books from the Kindle store since I don't like having books tied into one company/platform (and I'll ditch the Kindle the second the Apple tablet comes out). My expectation at this time is that I'll use the Kindle primarily for public domain stuff I can download for free and things that are by their nature ephemeral (mostly computer books).

Mark J Daniels said...

I love technology - any advancement brings out the inner geek in me. But I hate ebooks.

The one thing I really like is picking up a good book, preferably hard back, and turning it from cover-to-cover. And with an ebook, will you ever get that morning frustration when you wake up and realise you fell asleep reading, and forgot to bookmark your page?

I can see the advantage of ebooks, but for me they'll never replace real books.

Not until we run out of trees.

Lisa Dez said...

I travel for a living, so an e-reader would make sense, but I still haven't pulled the trigger. Part of it is the price of the readers, but there's also all the things you miss out on with an e-reader, like Jay Asher's map on the underside of the 13 REASONS WHY book jacket that my daughter was thrilled to discover yesterday.

Also, when my book gets published I want it prominently displayed on everyone's bookselves, not in their electronic files ;)

Brooke said...

My fantasy of owning a new and used bookstore is diminishing because of polls like this Nathan. Stop breaking a girl's heart!

Though, I'm sure ebooks and bookstores aren't going to go the way of Netflicks and Blockbuster. I would think the eyestrain would make some people say no.

Or that could still be my desperate hope speaking there.

Jillian said...

Though e-books would be more convenient, I choose to buy print. I live in Japan and getting books are both a hassle and expensive. However, I still manage to find what I want and discover tons of new authors a long the way. There's something about organizing the bindings according to color or size that's so appealing. Although I couldn't bring most of my collection with me, I'm not sure I could ever switch to digital. Gives me the heebie geebies. Brr.

dOgBOi said...

Actually, as a Kindle owner, I can tell Brooke that there is absolutely no eye strain. It is just like reading a real book.

Marilyn Peake said...

Is "coo" just the Cormac McCarthy method of shortening words? :) Speaking of Cormac McCarthy, have you seen THE ROAD movie? I thought it was amazing, very true to the book. I thought Viggo Mortensen did an incredible job as the Man and Kodi Smit-McPhee did an incredible job as the Boy.

Brooke said...

Let a girl dream, dOgBOi. You guys are really good at breaking dreams.

Stephanie said...

I spend enough time in front of a monitor writing. When it is time for me to read, there is nothing better than a book in my hands.

SB said...

I already buy mostly ebooks. The immediacy is what won me over. I can't stand waiting a few days for a book to be shipped to me, and looking for something in a bookstore was never my thing. Also, I love being able to read an ebook on my iPhone at night without turning on the light. I was never good at reading myself to sleep with the light on. And holding a book heavy book and turning pages has become a thing of the past! Seriously, I am losing my patience for real books.

So, the ebook overlords have already taken me. I just hope they will be kind with pricing and DRM issues.

Tina Spear said...

Wouldn't know what to do without my Kindle. Just don't have the shelf space for books in my place.

Mrs. Parker said...

As I get older, I find that when I read a lot of material online, my face seems to keep getting closer and closer to my monitor screen. Then those darn smudges from my nose keep getting in the way. I can see the same happening with e-book readers. I'm not against advances in technology, but I can't imagine myself curling up with a good e-book on a cold rainy day.

Kate said...

There are three things I would need to switch fully:

1. An eReader with full high-resolution color AND the portability, energy efficiency and eye-feel of eInk.

2. Free access to eBooks for all pBooks (physical books) I already own or buy in future.

3. An eReader with robust multi-tasking functionality.

Until then, I'll be using both bits and paper.

Stacy said...

I love reading ebooks online,short stories mostly. But for my favorite books, that I read over and over again, I have to have them on my shelf.

To answer Linda Godfrey, maybe the authors can sign the Kindles and sony readers LOL!

Chantele said...

I love my hardcover and paperback books. I don't think e-books could ever make me happy like that.:) Will I ever buy an e-book? I don't know. Those Kindle's are WAY too expensive for me.:)

Arachne Jericho said...

There's no eyestrain reading on an e-ink reader, whether it's Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook, etc. That's why they're so insidious. It's why I have a Kindle even though I have an eyephone---the experence is sometimes even better than paper, to tell the truth. The default font isn't pretty, but it's readable and it beats some of the eyeslashers I've seen publishers use for their paperbacks, and you can increase the size.

I read for hours on the thing, and particularly with a Kindle, it's easy to download instantly the next book of the series. And it's so easy to transition from a free sample (which is usually an entire chapter long) into the full book, that it's rather easy to see why some of Amazon's numbers for Kindle book/physical book ratios exist.

That instant transitioning alone was responsible for, last month, my book buying to go from two physical books a month to 18+ books from a single author. And all read too (sigh).

I'm at the 99/100 mark for ebook versus pbook at this point.

Laura K. Curtis said...

I doubt I will ever switch completely, but I'm at about 60% ebooks right now and I'll probably stay that way for a while. It's a lot easier for me to carry/read on my Kindle, but I don't think either the readers or the books are perfect yet. (That is, the technology has a ways to go.)

Marilyn Peake said...

I voted "Maybe", although I would have voted "Probably" if that had been a choice. I have piles of To Be Read paperbacks and hardcovers, and have decided to read a lot more of those before buying a Kindle. Only problem with that plan: I find myself buying even more paperbacks and hardcovers because I don’t yet own a Kindle.

Arachne Jericho said...

... Also I'm not sure why my iPhone changed that to "eyephone". Sigh.

D. G. Hudson said...

I prefer reading a paper book, but if the technology and the price appeal to me, I can adapt. I'm sure there will be some non-fiction books (art, reference, etc.) that I may prefer in paper format.

I just went shopping at the local bookstore for Christmas gifts. We always give books. I'm not sure that giving e-books will replace that for a while, since the person must have some type of device. When technology is available for a reasonable cost, more people will accept it.

As a writer, I would accept whatever format gets my writing to the readers. Whatever works, as Nathan says.

Megan Hill said...

I love holding a book in my hands. Maybe one day I'll switch, but right now, I'm all about old-fashioned paper books!

Karen McQ. said...

I love to read in almost any format, but in the last few months I've become an ebook convert. As a writer who's had great success self-publishing on Amazon's Kindle, and as a reader who loves the ease and convenience, it's Kindle all the way.

clindsay said...

I realized when I read this that for the past few years, I actually have been buying primarily ebooks. I started reading ebooks with my Palm Pilot, using eReader Pro, back when eReader was called Peanut Press.

I just bought a Libba Bray novel for my Sony Reader.

I wonder if it has something to do with the wee and miniscule apartment I live in...hmmm!

=)

Travener said...

Not mostly, no. I like to pull books down from the shelf and flip through them too often -- can't do that so easily with an e-book.

Suilan said...

I did check "Never" but there is one type of e-book I would buy, that is reference books, dictionaries, Writer's Market, style guides, etc -- anything that you would want to update every year or every few years anyway.

Also cool would be foreign language study books, slightly more interactive, say, to help memorize and test vocabulary or grammar, or easy readers where you can point at a word you don't know (touch screen?) and the program will give you its translation.

Jamie said...

There is something about a paperback that just can't be usurped by a Kindle. I like dogearing pages. I like tuning pages faster and faster as I get nearer the climax.

While sure, you can curl up with a Sony Reader, it's just not the same.

Give me laptops, cell phones and all the technology you want, but let me keep my books!

L. T. Host said...

I, too, am in the paper book camp. But-- I am a technological person, as part of my generation, so that's not to say I won't be smart enough to embrace the technology. I just still want paper books to be an option.

Brittany said...

I'm kind of up in the air because I listen to audio books from audible.com. I mean, I still buy paper but it's nice to get immediate satisfaction and download a book right then and there without having to brush my hair.

Scott said...

Since I have a Kindle . . . I buy the majority of my books in e format. I still also buy hardbacks if they're part of a series where I already have most of the books in hardback. I'm a little OCD about my series collecting. : )

atsiko said...

Never ever, ever. I've read one book online through Baen's free libarary thingie, and another off a cd. I can do it if I want, but I don't want. I like my bookshelves full of cover art and spines and paper, and the boxes I keep down in the basement 'cause I don't have enough shelves. And I like the feel of real books and all that jazz. Also, bookstores are way cooler than some busy online browser thingy. Besides, I'm already pressing too many buttons as it is. if I have to hit a button every time I turn a page... *shivers* Fina for visual media like manga, but not for 500 pages of text.

Cid said...

If it's ever economical, sure! However, a) I'm a young go-go'er, I'm always on the go, I'm very rough on stuff I own - heck I played roller derby for a while! eReaders just look and feel too delicate for me and the "insurance" or whatever policies just do not tempt me to shell out a hefty sum in relation to what I make now on something that I might just have to let go the way of my old palm pilot. b) I buy a lot of my books at Half Priced books, on bargin racks, via online bulk bins and other places that ensure that I am getting a better deal than the $14 or $15 I willingly pay upfront the day of selling my fav authors books. $9 vs $14 - good deal! $9 vs the $1.50 I've paid other places - nope. And with those there's little fear of damaging them. c) I like the idea - I just don't think it's the best, most efficient or economical thing for me to get. Not this year.

Professor Beej said...

I think I will. At least for a while. My primary reading collection will likely be eBook (Kindle, if my wife listens to my Christmas begging), while my professional collection will be hard copies.

I have so many books now that I'm running out of space, and collecting ebooks, while not as satisfying as having a house or even a room full of paper, really helps ease the strain of finding something to do with them when we move or build a new place.

One day, when I finally have my dream home, I'll have a whole room that's floor-to-ceiling books. But until then, eBooks will probably make my addiction a little more reasonable and manageable.

Dominique said...

Thinking more about it, I can see the appeal of an e-reader. Still, I think I'd prefer a netflix like library to an e-reader.

Anonymous said...

Must have artifact. Must touch it and smell it and use all my pretty bookmarks...

That's for my favorite books at least. I'm totally liking this ability to share your library, though. I can read all my friend's eBooks for free!

Score.

~Sasha
nikanors_inn.livejournal.com

Marybeth Poppins said...

I prefer my books to go on my shelf and look pretty when I'm done with them. I want to be able to hand down my favorite ones and I want to hold them in my hands while I read.

I am not a big fan of E Books. Call me old fashioned!

skottk said...

Already do buy mostly e-books for entertainment reading.

I buy a substantial number of technical books that kill trees, mainly because Kindle rendering of source code and diagrams is completely inadequate. O'Reilly's Safari can't be read offline, and its content selection is scattershot.
The Kindle PC Reader offers way better rendering - I might even say adequate - but, bizarrely, does not appear to allow searching.

scott g.f.bailey said...

The thing about paper books is that they are beautiful objects. Books are designed by talented people and these designs are all unique. The pleasure of seeing the endpapers of a Persephone book, for example, or the tiny trim size of A.S. Byatt's "Little Black Book of Stories" verses the whomping chunk of dead tree that is Eco's "Faucault's Pendulum" are very real and can't be captured on an eReader. A book *is* more than just the words, Mr. Bransford. Kindles and iPhones and those things are just ugly devices. Convenience is a poor substitute for beauty. Efficiency has nothing to do with art.

Anonymous said...

I've bought (or downloaded) over 100 books since I bought my Kindle last year. I haven't bought (or read) a print book since.

AjFrey said...

I am really torn on this one. I heart technology. I blog on my phone. I love all new gadgets. But e-readers is something I just havent been able to get on board with.

I love my indie bookstores with their musty paper smell. I love the feeling of exhilaration when I find a first edition Mary Poppins. That worried feeling when there is only a thin amount of pages between my triangle fold and the back cover, and the author must still save the characters from doom.

Maybe one day I will convert, but for now I will keep my paper.

Matt Heppe said...

I have already made the switch. I am doing most of my reading on my iPhone.

Sherri said...

Looks like the overlords are wearing us down. Coo.

I see no reason why e-books and paper books can't peacefully co-exist in my house, once I get a reader.

Anjali said...

I've had a Kindle since August and love it. I haven't bought a print book since. I have three small kids -- there are no relaxing mornings at the library or bookstore for me -- I'm usually with at least one child. Not having to drag them with me to get a book to read makes it more than worthwhile.

Dara said...

I said maybe. I can't see it happening for me for another few years.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I voted "I don't know". I'll have to wait until I can see how well the e-readers play with my eyes. I've tried reading things on-line, and it's not very easy.

I wish they'd make an Irlen compatible screen for the screen that would allow the person reading to adjust the color of the background and text.

Steve Fuller said...

Whether we like it or not, it's the future. Instead of complaining, let's find ways to take advantage of the new landscape.

Josin L. McQuein said...

GRRR. That should have said "screen for the devices" not "screen for the screen".

Rhonda said...

A few months ago, I would have thought my answer to this would be "Not gonna happen." But lately I've been looking more and more at the piles of books around my house and realizing that a couple of e-readers would be so much easier to clean up. Maybe it's time to start thinking about converting...

Lost Wanderer said...

No, I won't. I don't buy e-books. I love technology, but books is something I like old-fashioned. And I intend to stick to them. There are so many good print books left for me to read, that if I miss out on ones only printed in e-books, I don't care.

Maria Farb said...

As a mother of small children I think that I will always want paper children books. Even if they produced readers that could show picture books, it would have to be large enough to still be easily seen by three kids (which would be rather bulky).

I imagine that the picture book industry will still have many years of printing books.

As for non-picture books I would use e-books (when I can afford a reader). In the mean time the library and second hand book stores are my best friends.

lotusgirl said...

I've upped mine from maybe to absolutely. I still love a paper book and won't give them up entirely, but I can see the value of not having to figure out another place in my house to put books. I'm downright overrun.

Annalee said...

All I have to say about e-books, aside from the DRM stuff I've already whined about at length, is that searchable text WINS AT LIFE.

That, plus less paper waste, convenience, etc.

I'll still want paper copies of my favorite books--much the way I'll grab a hardcopy of something I've already read in paperback if I really like it--but I imagine that when I can consistently buy ebooks in an open format, I'll jump ship.

T. Anne said...

I'm already a convert. *Please God don't let me lose my Kindle*

BTW, I thought coo was the new cool ;)

Anonymous said...

Hadn't thought about Kate's excellent point--if you really want to switch over what about all of the books you already bought?

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

You don't have to throw away all your books just because you get an e-reader.

Susan Quinn said...

I haven't made the leap yet, but when I do, I probably won't look back. Resistance is futile.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I think my best answer is: Who knows? I don't have a crystal ball. I'm open to e-books but for right now, I'm finding I still prefer print.

Scott said...

I must be a right pain the hoop because I can never find my option on any poll.


The "Never" option was too harsh. I wanted to vote something like, "No, but I could see supplementing my library if the technology was a match". Or something.

Thermocline said...

I still haven't met anyone who has a dedicated device, though I did see my first Kindle ad on TV this week.

I'm guessing you'd have to add a "What's an e-book?" option to your survey if you gave this to the general population.

Rachel said...

I freely admit that almost all of my books come from the library. I read way too much to be able to afford this habit if I needed to purchase them all. I do occasionally purchase, usually at B&N when I'm on a date with my husband, or on Amazon when there's something specific I want to add to my collection.

Since I'm always penny-pinching, I can't imagine spending the dimes on an e-reader, unless it could give me the quality a book offers at only the cost of some late fees. (Not likely.)

And I'd need to be able to temporarily put library books on there, too! (Yes, I'm a demanding consumer.)

Anonymous said...

Nathan, you know what I love? A lot of internet grumbling links the switch to e books with more self pubbing ventures, less gatekeepers, etc, and seems to posit a dichotomy between that business model and agents...and here you are always telling us how great it's going to be, advocating and all, and I get this whole brave new world, fearless, let's see how it goes vibe from you and it's just refreshing.

Very, very coo.

Rogue Novelist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin Laughtin said...

Most likely, once I get an e-reader. At that point, I'll probably just buy physical copies of books I really love and want to have a physical copy of (because they're pretty, I want to lend them a bunch, the binding's cool, whatever). If I know an author signing is coming up, I might buy a physical copy as well. I'm a bit silly in how much I like getting books signed, even if I don't worry about keeping them prisine afterward.

Angela Korra'ti said...

I'm already buying mostly ebooks, now that I have the ability to read them. The convenience is simply too fabulous. :)

But I'll also continue to buy certain authors in print, because they'll be the ones I can't bear to not be able to read if for example I drop my iPhone under a bus, or if the power goes out and I have to find some way to amuse myself without electricity. There are about half a dozen authors that fall into that category.

Rogue Novelist said...

ebook, hard copy...whatever, as long as I can mentally chew on the author's creativity, I'll go either way.

Laura Miller Edwards said...

Yick. Reading online is part of a break, a bit of work sometimes, etc. Reading a book, that's an experience. I can't imagine "curling up" with a handheld electronic device. Give me real pages to turn and feel. I ruffle them while I read, it's an indulgent habit I am unwilling to give up.

There are still libraries when I can't afford the latest bestseller.

Nikki Hootman said...

I will buy a reader and switch to ebooks as soon as they become cheaper than paperbacks. Otherwise, no deal.

Lynn said...

We rant and moan over the decline of independent book stores, then we tout the convenience and technological advancement of e-books. Not to sound uber-elitist, but for me it's a question of consumer integrity. I'd rather spend my coin at Book Passage.

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

My husband got me an e-reader for Christmas! I know I'm not suppose to know but he bought it at my store and an associate spilled the beans. I'm so excited though! The only issue I have is how long it will take before I get caught reading instead of working:)

Anonymous said...

I want to do/see/be in a scientific study of reader/audience immersion: paper versus digital versus aural versus visual-aural.

How deep into the secondary world trance do you go when reading paper or digital or listeninng or watching?

Mental stimulus quotient zero to seven. Zero being no engagement, seven being so totally out of the primary world that a transition shock is a rude awakening.

Six is the deepest I've attained in a paper novel.

Four in a digital short story.

Two in an aural short-short fiction.

Five in an aural-visual feature-length movie.

Word verificate: imsepe; the immersion trance cast by secondary world engagement in a creative vision.

Anonymous said...

I'm aghast. I want to buy 3 Martha Wells Wizard Hunters ebooks for Christmas travel reading. Guess what? eBook with DRM and no certainty that the company will exist in 5 years $11.33. Paperback to share with a friend? $7.19. What are they thinking?

Next up: Buy a copy of Dan Brown's latest for Dad's kindle. ::searches Amazon diligently:: Hmm. I don't see how I can do that. ::shakes head:: Wasn't buying an eBook supposed to be easier?

Clearly they have some wrinkles to work out on both technology and pricing fronts.

Adrianne

Erinn said...

My nook should be coming this week. I already know which books I'm getting.

But I don't think I'll ever give up paper completely.

Suzie F. said...

Nope. Never. I love my books and they love me. The dog ears, the slips of paper marking favorite lines, the dedications written by friends who have given them as gifts, a tea-stained or teardrop spot. My books are an extension of me.

Brooke, please don't lose that dream. I'd love to visit and browse for hours in your bookshop.

Violet Baudelaire said...

as long as i can buy the books i want on paper that's how i'll buy them. though i imagine at some point this won't be the case and i'll have no choice but to go E.

Scott said...

Anon @ 10:20 AM, I disagree.

Self-pubbing has created a sea of sub-par material that most would pay someone to weed through. In the end, agents and publishers are there not just to facilitate the moving of material but to ensure its quality. Sure, you can do that yourself, but good luck when millions of "books" are staring back at your dollar through your browser.

K.M. Cruz said...

I'm sure I'll get an e-reader someday, but that won't stop my from buying physical books. I like collecting them on my shelves too much!

Douglas L. Perry said...

I hate to admit it, but I'm already there. If it isn't available on Kindle, or Audible.com, I don't read it. It used to be that I was trying to justify the cost of the Kindle, but now I find that the Kindle is just so darn convenient that I can't go anywhere without it.

I went shopping with the wife the other day, and finished a book in the middle of the process. I downloaded a new one and continued reading. It was awesome. I couldn't do that as easily with printed books because I don't want to be dragging multiple books around. Plus, I can change my mind about what I want to read, whenever I feel like it.

I think the key is, I don't have to plan ahead....

Becca said...

I can't wait until I can afford the Nook. As a recent college grad, I don't know where I'm going to be moving to next and when and I'm already having trouble moving around my library. As much as I love paper books, the feeling of the book in my hands, and having the ability to write notes and questions in the margins in my own handwriting, I think I would love to be able to cut down on the amount of trees I kill with all the books that I buy.

nomadshan said...

Already do buy mostly ebooks. Most of the physical books I buy are cookbooks.

Elizabeth said...

I'm just starting to get into ebooks. I got an ipod touch this summer and it's much nicer to read on than my old Palm was.

My main concern is DRM and availability: just last night I made a list of books I wanted for Christmas, and none of them are available as ebooks.

Susan at Stony River said...

I love paper books, and think I will always love them best.

BUT I voted for welcoming our ebook overlords, because the older I get the more irritated I get at all the crap that's accumulating in my house.

So, while I don't prefer ebooks *now*, I can see myself making the switch in ten or twenty years, simply for the joy of a tidy house (which I've never known before...should I be admitting that??)

Yes, that would be pretty coo, indeed.

Eva Gale said...

I'm waiting to see what Apple comes up with before I commit myself.

Samantha Tonge said...

We blogged about E books recently on Strictly Writing:

http://strictlywriting.blogspot.com/2009/11/brought-to-book-with-e.html/

E books are great for students and travel but in the home, no, i want the feel and smell of paper between my fingers.

I can see it following the ipod trend though - over here in UK some shops are no longer stocking CDs as everyone is downloading music. HOpe Ebooks don't sound the death knell of traditional ones.

Sarah Scotti-Einstein said...

I want to buy an ebook reader desperately, but can't decide which one and I've been burned BADLY before by format wars. (I have a BeBox, for God's sake, and somewhere in my attic there is probably an old Betamax machine.)

The nook has features I really love, including the ability to lend books, but until my reader friends have nooks of their own that hardly does me any good. Everyone I know who has taken the plunge has a Kindle, but they also have a list of complaints about what it doesn't do and what is makes difficult.

If these were cheaper, or if my GTA position paid more than a gruel-and-garret wage, I would probably have already bought myself one or the other. Since neither thing is true, I will probably sit out this year and see what looks dominant next year.

Bane of Anubis said...

I'm still waiting for the poll:

Will The Kings ever when a championship while in Sac-town?

Seamus said...

Already there, with my Sony (yeah, that's right -- the anti-Kindle). My wife and I have had to weed through and give away books for years because they accumulate so fast. I don't mind not having the weight in my briefcase or not finding time to get to the bookstore or not killing trees. The only thing I do mind is whole idea of sharing. I really liked lending a dog-eared book to a friend. I read Nathan's piece on why sharing is so easy, but it's really not when you have to lend to someone who has the same platform. Even still, I'm not going back.

Mojito Maven said...

I will buy an e-book if i have to, but nothing can ever replace a paper book. I love the feel and smell of books so you'd have to pry them from my cold, dead hands :)

Susan Quinn said...

The folks at Upstart Literary have posted a cool video about an iPhone App e-reader for PICTURE BOOKS! Seriously. It's coming even faster than we think.

Arabella said...

Oh, the evil overlords! My husband is one of them, and if he buys me an e-reader, then I will use it and love it. Already, I'm so completely book mad that the idea of immediately having the book I want w/o waiting for shipping or traveling to the bookstore makes me delirious. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, this world of instant gratification.

Kate said...

When I first got my kindle (about 4 months ago) I temperarily lost touch with the paper world. Eventually I came back around to my large stack of books to be read and picked back up the paper. I'm now about 2/3 e-book to 1/3 paper book. I'm still asking people for books for x-mas, and expect to have at least some of my reading in the paper world for a while.

BTW - the ediotorial ass has an interesting poll on how much people actually use their e-readers today.

Christina said...

Mark me down for "already do". I've been getting e-books for years. Started out with the Rocket e-book, and now use a PDA. I'm always thrilled to death when I see old favorites available.

Daniel Steeves said...

There is nothing like flipping the pages of a real book and escaping into them.
I think there are advantages to e-books, for sure, but for me I find it harder to connect with a good book when it is just a computer file.

Joann said...

Bring on the e-book overlords. I read significantly faster on my iPhone Kindle/BN reader and buy way more books for that reason alone. And the freebies you get! Right now it's Dickens' Christmas Carol. On e-book! That is so coo. ;)

Steff Metal said...

As soon as I find an e-reader that meets my needs (vision-impaired and currently poor) both my husband and I will be switching from paper books to around 80% ebooks. We will still buy beautiful books for our shelves, but paperbacks? Ebook me up!

Ulysses said...

Looking at the publishing trends, the increasing volumes of ebook sales, the uptake of reading devices of all kinds, the lower production costs, inventory overhead and stuff like that, I begin to wonder if this question is moot. (Or "moo," if we're going to go with the whole "leaving off the last letter of 'oo' words" theme).

I think the answer to this questions hinges on another: "Will publishers ever sell mostly e-books?"

I have no plans to give up reading, and if e-books are all that's out there, then my choice is made for me.

Anonymous said...

I already buy mostly ebooks. I used to be very, very devoted to paper books, but I started running low on space in which to store them, and I *love* that with an ebook reader, I can take dozens of books with me anywhere without breaking my back. I thought I'd miss the whole sensation-of-a-paper-book thing, but it's not the case - it's just as easy to get lost in the story with an ebook, and it's far more convenient. If there's a book that I want to read that isn't available as an ebook, I'll maybe check it out from a library, time permitting, but I don't buy it.

The only exception to the rule is for books that currently don't work very well as ebooks - art books with many large color photos, for example.

kellion said...

I buy the books I really care about in paper, and take a lot out of the library. I imagine I would buy some more "disposable" reads as ebooks (perhaps popular books I feel I should read as competitive information but don't feel that I will love and refer to constantly, as I do the novels I most admire).

Mira said...

E-books all the way!

:)

Laura Martone said...

I agree with Dave Guilford. I buy mostly e-books these days (for my now outdated Sony reader - sniff, sniff), but not because I prefer them to printed books. I still love to curl up with a good, old-fashioned book. But, with all the traveling I do as a travel writer (and, well, as a film fest nomad), I find my e-reader terribly convenient. At the moment, I have over 140 books on it - which, if they were "real," would be a pain to haul back and forth across the country.

Erastes said...

I never will but many of my readers already read nothing but already.

Marissa Turner said...

I've begun buying e-books instead of paper. There are a few series where I will get the paper book (Anne Bishop), but I love being able to take multiple books with me without having to rent a pack mule to haul them around.

Joseph said...

The frustrating thing is that publishers are not making enough books available as ebooks. I still have to buy some as hardback and paperback.

Tina Lynn said...

I have nothing interesting to say. I just like my books. E-books are like a legion of the undead that have come to eat my brains. They just keep on coming, swarming, moaning at me. I'll just barricade myself in and plug my ears. Thanks.

Cam Snow said...

I answered "Absolutely" but that is not because I love eBooks. I did recently buy the Sony eReader and am happy with it (it reads like a paperback to me). The reason is because I currently live in Egypt and it is hard to get a good selection of English-language books in print - eBooks are the quick and easy solution.

Heather said...

I would LOVE to say, "You can pry my paper books from my cold, dead hands!" but that's not really true. I love the feeling of a nice heavy book in my hand, and the smell of a used book, but I'm pretty young, and I recognize that eventually we'll be living in a paperless world. Even in the sci-fi future world I'm writing about, there are no paper books. Still, I wish paper books would stick around....

Joe Iriarte said...

I can see a day when I mostly buy e-books, and when I only buy paper copies of my favorite books or my favorite authors. But e-readers are going to have to come down significantly in price, for one thing. I don't see myself spending more than $40 or so for a device that will allow me to read. For another, there needs to be a clear standard book format--ideally DRM free--so that I can feel confident I really own the books I buy. (Failing that, e-books will have to be dirt-dirt cheap, but I think it's clear that won't happen.)

Laura Martone said...

Wow, Tina, that's very graphic. I love my e-reader, but now I'm picturing it as a flesh-eating zombie... which might explain why I just hid it under the bed. ;-)

Laura Martone said...

Okay, I just read all the comments... and I just have to say...

Bane, I'm still waiting for this poll:

Will the Saints go 16-0 this season?

Or would that just jinx them? ;-)

Natasha Fondren said...

Perhaps it's unfair for me to vote, (but I did), but I won't buy a paper book anymore. Part of it is because I live on the road in a camper, so I have room for the Harry Potter series and three or four more books and that's IT, LOL. (I got rid of hundreds and hundreds--broke my heart!)

If it's not available digitally, then I usually won't read it, unless I can get it at the library.

PS: I still buy graphic novels. As soon as I can get those in digital format, I'll switch those, too.

pjd said...

Questions throughout history:

Will you ever get your tribal lore mostly from cave paintings, or will you always rely on dances around the campfire?

Will you ever read mostly printed books, or will you always rely on stone tablets?

Will you ever talk with friends mostly through the telephone, or will you only insist on seeing them face to face?

Will you ever mostly use an ATM, or will you only always interact with a bank teller?

Will you ever get your news mostly over the web, or will you always rely on daily newspapers?

To sum up: Technology advances. What doesn't work well either goes away or adapts until it does work well. Then people use it. It's not wrong or tragic. It just is.

(Full disclosure: I don't have an e-reader and don't plan on getting one any time soon. But I do think eventually I'll have to get one.)

Anonymous said...

No desire for an electronic reading device, reminds me too much of work. I read for escapism, entertainment,and to get away fromm all things "e" or 'i". I Like the hardcovers, paperbacks can be annoying.

Jay in Houston said...

If someone can explain to me how ebooks in their current stage of development are better than books, I'm all ears.

They're not as portable, the device is not (yet) cheap enough to appeal to the masses who read one book at a time and only a handful of books per year.

The key with any technology is to appeal to the masses. CDs achieved this because you could easily skip from song to song and the sound quality improved over cassettes. DVDs did the same thing versus VHS. Same with Bluray. Same movie, better resolution.

Ebooks? Same book, better what? The device is not more portable, it's less durable, it doesn't speed up the reading process and it's expensive. How is that an improvement other than making books easier to buy?

Books, unlike songs which offer 3-5 minutes of entertainment, offer hours of entertainment. People will accept a slight inconvenience to purchase them.

Netflix took over not because getting the DVDs was a nuisance, but because taking them back was a pain in the ass.

This transition is going to take longer than most people think. It's going to be years and years.

Price does trump everything, though. If it's $2.99 to buy an ebook and $19.99 to buy the same book, people will then be incentivized to go with ebook format. But ebooks are going to have to drop to below $50. And somebody is going to have to win the format war.

Bane of Anubis said...

Laura, I hope they do.

Myrna Foster said...

How many bibliophiles read your blog? Not a rhetorical question. I'd guess about 2,000.

Sharon Kirk Clifton said...

Nathan,

Even as a young child, long before I could actually read, I loved the smell of books. Something about the fragrance of the paper mingled with that of the binding and the ink was intoxicating. Let's see Kindle or Nook duplicate that. Besides, I like to read page-turners. Further, I love to see shelves lined with oft-read books.

Lynne Connolly said...

Wow, some paper fetishists here.
I already do buy more ebooks, and have done for the past 2 years. But I have an ebookwise, the old technology reader, and an iPaq, which is my main reader these days because it's just so damn convenient.

Tricia said...

I buy a lot of ebooks now and I'll buy more if the DRM goes away (or at least lessens). When the Google Books settlement goes through I can see me buying scads of OOP books that I haven't been able to get through the library or from used book dealers.

Love old-fashioned paper books - I have a personal library of over three thousand - but ultimately it's the content, not the form that I love the most.

Donna Hole said...

Although I voted "absolutely", I know I will always cherish having books on my shelf. I look forward to e-books, and am shopping around for something affordable with a decent size reading screen, but I'm still in no rush.

The world is going paperless, my friends, and so I forsee in the near future paper books being more expensive than e-books.

..........dhole

Alyson Greene said...

I've been reading books on my iphone lately. I love the portability and the fact that I ALWAYS have my phone with me so I can squeeze in a few pages anytime I'm stuck waiting anywhere for anything.

I also love the feeling of finishing a GREAT book and being able to have another book by that author or even the next in a series, in my hands in a matter of seconds.

What I don't like is finishing a GREAT book, and then telling people about it. When they ask to borrow it I just stare at them with a dumb look on my face. I love sharing books with friends and I really love sharing books with my students, but I haven't been able to do that with my ebooks yet.

Nathan Bransford said...

alyson-

Just think of how happy the author would be if those people go out and buy their own copies!

Tamaryn Tobian said...

I'm sure this has been posted already... but!

If I had a career where I had to read a lot of manuscripts or PDFs then I might be tempted to get one.

However, already I have downloaded free eBooks (PDF format) And haven't opened them up since the day I bought them.

I have, however, read every paper book I've bought.

For me, it's just not the same. There are things that I can do with books that I will never be able to do with an e-reader, even a fancy one like a Mac Tablet.

In no particular order:

-Take Notes. Yes, I know that many of them allow me to type an anecdote here or there, but what if I want to draw a heart, a star, a smiley face? What if I want to write LOL or draw the character's outfit he's wearing in the margin. I have done this. I do this. I doodle in the margins of the books I'm reading.

-Flip the pages back and forth. There's a distinct sound when you're turning actual pages. No electronic version will ever feel the same. As I race through a thriller or get deep with a memoir the pace at which I turn the pages has an emotional response as I hear it.

-Smell it. eReader have a new plastic smell. Books have newbooksmell. Old books have oldbooksmell. Harry Potter books smell different from Twilight books. Dan Brown books smell different from James Patterson. My eReader will never smell like my Riverside Shakespeare.

quillfeather said...

You'll have to rip books out of my cold dead hands before I'll buy an ebook/kindle.

You can't snuggle up with a metal device like you can a good old fashioned paperback.

I know, I know, times change and so must I, but I don't choose to purchase one anytime soon. Unless of course, if/when I ever get published and that's the only format it comes in. Well, needless to say, I'll rush out immediately and buy one...or two...or three :)

Terry said...

Like Scott, I can never find my option on any poll. I voted "Maybe." But, "Most Likely" is closer to the truth.

And it's not that I welcome e-books with open arms,it's that I think I won't have a choice.
"Coo" is cool, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm poor. I'd buy e-books for the same reason I buy used books: I like to read and will read what's cheap. This of course assumes that e-reader prices go down or eventually the free phone that comes with my service plan is an iphone.

james said...

it is easier for me to read on paper, but have never tried a kindle so I dont know how they would be. The delivery system for the E-book is what makes them coo...
Even though the poll was for e-books, I really like audio books and listen to them regularly

Anonymous said...

$250 for a gadget that only displays books?! Whaaaaa? is this 1965?

Right now I'd rather pay $350 for a netbook that can display ebooks and do tons of other stuff, too!

In the near future I expect to have a small projection screen gadget that does it all=--phone, music, books, video, web, email, MS office, etc., size of a blackberry.

1 life, 1 device™
Coming Soon

Amy said...

If/when the ereaders become affordable for the masses--which technically they are, the economy just hasn't recovered enough for some of us to spend $200 on the gadget--I will likely buy an ereader, and fill it up with cheap/free classics, and guilty pleasure series, things I don't want appearing on my bookshelves.

I'll most likely continue to support my favorite authors by buying their print books, because I like the tactile connection.

This is all hypothetical, because the cheapest Sony reader on sale for $150 still couldn't tempt me to pick it up. The economy needs to give us some play money before we can adopt the technology of the future.

Travis Erwin said...

Possibly but holding a bound book will always be something I desire like a fat guy does a buffet.

Jane Steen said...

Yes, I can see the day coming when I only buy paper books if I am absolutely sure I want to keep them "forever". In particular, reference works such as dictionaries would work much better in e-book format (I already rely on iPhone apps quite frequently for reference). Then there are the books I want to read but probably not to keep. A quick glance at my bookshelf suggests that 75% of my books would fall into that category. I would use the shelf space saved to collect vintage books with nice bindings! The collector's book market should skyrocket once e-books gain a majority share.

That being said, I don't have an e-book reader yet, but that's just because I'm waiting for the market to mature a bit more.

Karla said...

Already there.
You just cannot beat the convenience of e-books. I finished the second book in a series of seven early Sunday morning - promptly went online, bought the next one, and was happily reading while still in my jammies just three minutes later.
Love e-books. Love 'em.

CKHB said...

I can envision buying SOME e-books. But MOSTLY e-books? Not gonna happen. We 30-somethings are set in our ways.

David Kubicek said...

I was a staunch paper book supporter, but your blog on the 10 myths about e-books inspired me to order a Nook. So we'll see what happens.

kiaras said...

I love my dead-trees. I can't imagine every giving them up. That said, I do also read on my smartphone when I'm on the move - and I'd LOVE to someday see an option where you buy the hard copy & get an e-copy along with it. (For free, for extra. Whichever. I'd just like to see a package deal.)

Anonymous said...

I think the question that I would like to know is, would more e-books sold at a lower price than print books mean less money going to authors? That's what I'm mostly worrying about. Because if people by the $200+ e-readers and then proceed to buy books for relatively cheap, wouldn't most of the profits go to the manufacturers of the e-readers and not to the writers? I'd like to understand this a bit more, but all I know is, it's hard enough to make a living as an author without something else taking more out of our hands.

Anonymous said...

I agree with others that the days of the dedicated device, period, (i.e. gadgets that only do 1 thing), are numbered. This goes for iPods, phones, eReaders, cameras, whatever. It's plain stupid to carry more than 1 machine around, switching headphones from device to device, Pure silliness. No reason that you can't have 1 thing that can display books and play music and make phone calls and take pictures. I'd say within 5 years, anything that's "dedicated" will seem antiquated.

Anonymous said...

Practical uses for books to which e-readers will never be put;

Poor moms' dinner table booster seat
Doorstop
Self-standing bookend
Drying press for flowers
Flattening press for stamps, papers, etc.
Bludgeon
Hollowed-out hiding place
Flat keepsakes storage
Shock absorbing anvil
Weights for a variety of uses
Carbon sequestration

Word verificate: eupedi; uses to which an object, skill, or talent can be put other than intended purposes.

Nick said...

I am forced to misquote the late Charlton Heston. And it would seem the majority agree with me, even if by slim margin.

lilywhite said...

I've had my Kindle since April of 2008 and I've bought precisely TWO paper books since then -- one because it wasn't available on Kindle the day it was released in hardcover (and I couldn't wait) and the second because it's not available for Kindle at all.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Then how would I get to read in the bath? At least the steam doesn't ruin my glasses and crinkly pages can be passed off as a design feature.
I've done away with two laptops already!

Nathan Bransford said...

elaine-

Plastic bag.

Anonymous said...

Waiting for the waterproof Kindle I can take scuba diving with me!

Honolulu Writer said...

interesting how the stats for your poll have changed over the last few years!

Never wanted one until I recently saw a Kindle up close and personal. Now I've just got to have one! I think I like the way you can share with Nook.

Laura Martone said...

Perhaps this is more information than I should admit, Elaine, but I do read e-books in the bathtub. I just can't have too much wine in me when I do... or else down goes my Sony... which, oddly enough, does not function well after drying out.

P.S. And to you, Bane... :-)

C.L. Moyer said...

I am old-school Seattle reader. I just feel better when I have a book in my bag. It changes with my mood and the size of my bag. I like underlining, dog-earing the page I'm on, and reading something so many times the spine cracks. You can tell my very favorite paperbacks because chunks of the pages have begun to fall out.

We have a Kindle and I have read things on it, but it's not the same. I feel like I slipped through a time tunnel and am on Star Trek reading a P.A.D.D.
I also feel that when we purchase books on Kindle we are buying air, nothing real. One computer glitch and it's gone. I will always prefer looking at my wall of books and knowing they're where they are supposed to be. LOL

I understand the trend is going that way, and that's fine. But I will always prefer paperbacks.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Plastic bags work? That's sick!

anne vinsel said...

hey, bathtub readers! i love my kindle, in and out of the tub! no electrocution fantasies; if i dropped it i don't know what would happen but i wouldn't be electrocuted. have never dropped a print book and don't plan to drop my kindle either. no need for baggies, etc. just keep a dry washcloth on the edge of the tub in case you somehow splash a little while reading (like if you turn on the hot water with your foot and put your foot in the water too hard). don't miss the smell of paper books (isn't a lot of the nostalgia for mildew? ew), don't miss how heavy they are while reading in bed, don't miss how the spine cracks and pages fall out, definitely don't miss dusting. only downside to my kindle so far is that i mostly use it for recreational reading, since i haven't figured out how to reference quotes (no pages = no page #s, anybody know how?)

got it may 15, 09, have 112 books on it, have only bought hard copy art and photo books, and one that kindle didn't have. love it for traveling, love it for work (so easy to sneak-read!) and interestingly, i find i read faster and w/less eyestrain, important since i'm a surgical photographer. lots more room in the house in future!

Carl Daugherty said...

I already buy almost 100% eBooks. I believe I've bought one paperback on a specialized subject in the last few months. I don't miss the smell or feel of paper at all, and find reading on my Kindle to be an entirely book-like experience. There will always be paper books, always, but I'm very happy with eBooks.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Hey Laura
I'm gearing up for plastic bags - clear plastic sacks gotta be the saviour of the latest laptop.

Sally Jo said...

I'm sure I would love to use an e-reader, but I want to be able to own my books--lend them out years later if I want, or be able to sell them used or do an online exchange...and if I understand correctly, that's not possible with ebooks. So for now I'll stick to hard copies.

Keely Hutton said...

I've owned my Kindle for a year and love it. I enjoy reading great writing whether it's on a paper page or electronic.

Grimmster24 said...

I have no other reason for not buying e-books other than I have been reading regular ones for 20-some years now, and it is a VERY hard habit to break, Nathan. haha.

Word verification: estiness. Oooooh, sounds very suave.

Kristen Cramer said...

I love holding books and flipping through the pages, and I love being able to share my books with friends and family. But, my husband and I have already filled eleven bookcases with a collection of almost 3,000 books and there's simply no more space in the house for more.

I've been donating and selling used books to make room for new books, but I can't seem to do it fast enough to keep up with my reading habit. I'm constantly adding new books. That darn feature on Amazon that says "Customers who purchased this item also purchased these other items..." is evil! (Evil in a wonderful way that leads me to new authors I never would have found otherwise, but evil nonetheless.)

I resisted buying an e-reader until last week when I finally ordered a Kindle. I want to continue to support my favorite authors by buying their books, but from now on most of my purchases will have to be e-books. I'll probably only buy the print versions for books that are additions to a series I already own, or for books with color photos or diagrams. There are also some reference books and how-to books that are more user-friendly when you can flip through the pages.

Steve said...

I clicked on "maybe - if the price..."

What there was no way to add to that is that I am skeptical that any electronic device could ever get the "look and feel" down well enough to compete with the superior and well-developed ergonomics, convenience, and just plain comfort of bound paper.

-Steve

MzMannerz said...

Good Lord, Nathan, are you making commission from these things? :)

Who knows - I can see myself doing a mix, depending on the book, subject matter, etc.

I can see using e-readers as tests, too. Some books I love to read over and over, and if that were the case I'd probably buy a hard copy even if I bought the original electronically.

Carolyn B said...

I've always loved books and my house is full of them. I have hard backs and paperbacks, crumbling antiques and brand new publishers proofs. They line my living room shelves, spill over my bedside tables, and make my narrow hallways even narrower. I see this tiny beginning of ebooks as a way to begin to simplify my life. I no longer NEED to keep all these books.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please tell me if reading an e-book on a reader, like the kindle, is more like reading on the computer or reading an actual book? I hate to read on the computer! I don't think I hate it as I do it, but I never ever enjoy the story as much when reading on a computer. I don't know why...it doesn't matter what book it is...so it must be the computer.

Chazley Dotson said...

I buy e-books exclusively now. The e-book revolution is a real blessing for those of us who live overseas, and for those of us who enjoy the laziness of ordering a book and having it appear on our readers. I welcome the overlords.

(There was a guest on The Colbert Report on December first who talked about his reasons for not allowing a Kindle version of his book to be released. If you're interested in the e-book debate, you should certainly check it out: www.colbertnation.com)

pambatson said...

I've begrudged the eReader/eBooks concept for two years since the Kindle was introduced and eBooks started to make their splash. But little by little I've opened my mind and heart to what I consider the inevitable future of publishing. I've jumped on the Nook bandwagon and ordered one. But first I wanted to have one last read, a big one before I started my eBook journey. And let me tell ya, even though I'm enjoying Stephen King's "Under the Dome," it's tough to curl up in bed with 1,074 pages in hardcover. Hasten, B&N. Get that Nook shipped already!

Laura Martone said...

Glad to hear it, Elaine! But, just so you know, I will feel really awful if your laptop falls in the drink.

Valerie L Smith said...

I don't own an e-reader yet because most of my books come from the library. I only buy books that I can't get from the library or that I know I'll refer to frequently. As a result, I just can't justify the cost at this point.

Once the price comes down and the library's selection of e-books has grown significantly, I'll be on board.

Laura Martone said...

Anon 3:56 - IMO, I find that reading e-books on my Sony reader is more like reading "real" books and less like reading documents on a computer. For one thing, the size helps... it looks like a book in that regard. Another thing that helps is the e-ink aspect, which allows the page to look like a "real" book page (and makes it easier to read in the sunshine).

Haste yee back ;-) said...

When ebooks get into Pop-up -- I'm there!

Haste yee back ;-)

Watery Tart said...

At some point I'd like to own a reader for certain KINDS of occasions--travel, for instance, where books are heavy and bulky. It isn't important enough to even shop for one though, and it will only EVER be the exception for my reading habits.

miked said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miked said...

Colbert interviewed Sherman Alexie tonight on Colbert Report. Alexie explained why he wasn't releasing his book War Dances in e-book form and why he is afraid of e-books.

Madison L. Edgar said...

I've never tried it, but my eye keeps wandering to the Kindle...

Terry Towery said...

If we ever get to an e-book-only-world, does that mean authors will no longer have to embark on those 16-city book signing tours?

It would seem to me that signing a Kindle would be rather difficult.

Personally, I love the interaction one gets with authors who sign books at the local bookstore.

Word verification: Taxens. It's what we call folks working at H&R Block in Texas.

MBA Jenna said...

I'm waiting for an apple device that does everything (phone, book, music, movies), but I expect my "book" purchasing will be 90% ebook and 10% print from then onwards.

It will always be nice to have the artifact to lend and to curl up with; so with anything I truly love, I'll get a physical copy. But I'll read it first on my device.

Bill Swan said...

Ebooks? Coo.
Needs: price reduction
Standard platform.
Majority of sales.

The survey shows growing acceptance. Once the canoe tips, real books on real paper will be collector things from yard sales, often used for impressive decor.

Laura Martone said...

As stated previously, I do love my e-reader, but I admit to some skepticism about having ONLY e-books. Not only would I miss so-called "real" books, but I still wonder how e-books will affect author royalties. I know that I, for one, make less on the e-book version of my travel guides than on the physical versions. Which is a bummer.

But as for concerns about lending e-books to others... I can already do that with my Sony e-reader. Share files with others, I mean.

Laurie Boris said...

While I adore printed books, and will never totally abandon them, now that I've discovered e-books, you're going to have to pry my Kindle from my cold, dead hands.

ryan field said...

I remember an article back in the 90's I read in Writer's Digest. It was about the future, and what it would be like when writers did everything with computers, including writing e-queries and reading Writer's Digest online instead of as a hard copy magazine.

I never thought it would happen. It was laughable.

The last eight books I've read were e-books, and I didn't even realize I'm now reading more e-books than print books until I saw this post.

Kate Higgins said...

I love the way the people who ask this question as a "poll" (you are not the only one), lead the witness.
Reading is cool. Anything that promotes reading is good. Electronic, paper and even audio. The point is the story. The Story!
E-books equal portability, less paper used (hence more trees). They should not be pitted against the 'real' book but thought as an augmentation.
Would I buy one. Yes. Would I stop reading regular books, no. I will "read" anything with words. books, e-books, cereal boxes and audio. I have an average of 4 books going at one time in all genres and all media.
People once thought that radio and even TV would ruin reading, I don't think it has, do you?

Courtney Price said...

I said yes, but with a caveat... I want my reader to be more like an ipod-- color artwork, audio as well? This needs to be a machine that does everything and does it all WELL. But it can be the size of a reader. Sound good?

That'd be coo.

E.L. Psomiadis said...

If I can get newspapers in an e reader, then I'd be tempted to get one. But books . . . no way. Sorry.

Demon Hunter said...

Paper!! :-D The smell of the books, the visual appeal, less eye strain, etc. :-D

Courtney said...

Nah, in the event of a worldwide catastrophic event, you can't burn ebooks to keep yourself warm, cook your food, and keep yourself alive. You just can't.

Seriously, though, I don't think that buying mostly e-books will become anywhere near practical enough for me in the foreseeable future. Not that I don't enjoy the occasional e-book...

Merry Monteleone said...

What a difference two years make :-)

My original vote was 'no', back in 2007. And I still like paper books, I still worry over the fate of actual brick and mortar book stores where I can wander through stacks and open new finds... when I order online, I go straight for what I'm looking for and seldom impulse buy something new. (Good for my budget, bad for midlist or lesser known authors).

This time I voted 'maybe', because I can see the time coming when e-readers will be affordable and books harder to find. And I just can't give up reading, so I'm playing the odds and thinking I'll adjust.

Jaime said...

Nathan, I was happier when I thought you meant to write "coo"!

I think it's funny that this poll is up today - my husband and I have this argument constantly. I'm sitting very comfortably in the 'nothing beats the feel of turning a physical page' camp. I say this while he sits next to me, reading from his iPod.

It's great to pick up a book from my mother's shelf, knowing that she read it when she was my age - and no doubt my son will read his father's Harry Potter books. And perhaps our grandchildren will read our books . . .

Sure, in fifty years the pages might be a little wrinkly and discoloured, but there will be a story to these books, too - and it won't just be the one written on the pages.

Alison Pensy said...

I already buy just e-books. I adore my kindle and now find paper books bulky, esp the big novels from Ms. Meyers et al. I love the fact that you can buy self pubbed e-books for next to nothing and most I have read so far have been very good, and well worth the dollar I paid. Having a kindle is saving me so much money, but I know this is probably not what the publishing industry wants to hear.

Cheryl said...

I'm still leery about e-books and readers because at one time I purchased several e-books and downloaded them to my laptop to read using Adobe reader.

One updated version of Adobe reader later and suddenly all of my e-books were missing or unable to be opened. Some I hadn't even read yet.

So for now, I've been burned and annoyed by technology and prefer reading the old fashioned way.

Avery June said...

It is much easier to nurse a baby and turn a Kindle page.

Nancy said...

For me, I could never read e-books only. I'll probably get to the point where I use both formats, though I don't think I'd be very organized about why I select one over the other. I may buy a print book purely for aesthetics or for nostalgia because I'd want to have one author's series of books in print, if that's how I started reading that author. For new material or quick reads of unknown authors I'd probably buy for an e-reader. (I don't own one now.) Also, I'm a bookaholic, so using an e-reader would save the stress on my burgeoning book shelves.

I told my chiropractor today, Nathan, about your discussion here and asked her to weigh in, since she now owns two Kindle readers. She said she would continue to buy print books as well. And something interesting: she sometimes buys print after reading the e-version because with nonfiction books she likes to highlight and underline and make notes in the margins, which, she said, is cumbersome with e-versions.

Amanda Evans said...

I have to admit that I am a fan of ebooks but tend to find that they sit on my computer and many of them never get read. My books on the other hand get pulled off the shelf every couple of months especially when I want to remember something specific. When it comes to research books I would never rely on an e-book, you need the paper in front of you. E-books are great but I don't think books will ever loose their appeal.

Kelly H said...

While I voted "you can pry my paper books from my cold dead hands" I think, one day, I will like the convenience of e-books and buy some. But I can't imagine a time when I will entirely give up my "real books" completely!

SphinxnihpS of Aker-Ruti said...

I say no, because the ebooks right now are more expensive than mass markets. So, I'm still going to go with the cheaper method. And I'm still leery about the devices--I don't even remember the name of the competitor of Blue-Ray DVD, but I bet those who bought their products do. Same here. Finally, I want to make sure I physically own the copy of the ebook I buy--that I'm not going to lose it when I get a new device or something happens to my old one. I am very much against anything that smacks of "leasing". Even if all that were fixed, I wouldn't be completely converted. I still like paper products. But I would buy some.

Jodi

Anonymous said...

What would really be coo would be having the option to download a copy of the physical books we buy, if not for free, at least at a discounted price. I'm using (and loving) B&N reader, and I've fallen into the really bad habit of buying a book, then buying a copy of the same e-book to read on my iPhone/home computer/work computer... . This is very bad for the budget.

Colleen said...

Although at the moment I can't imagine giving up my lovely books for another cold screen, I know the day will come and when it does, I'll wonder why I didn't switch sooner. I am old enough to remember the launch of the Internet. As a matter of fact, I worked on the PR campaign for an application that was considered to be the first practical use of the Internet. In the mid-90s, the Internet was annoying as well. It hadn't been populated and information was hard to find or non-existent. Look how far we've come on that front. It will be the same with e-readers.

Anonymous said...

For all this talk about the world going paperless, I sure haven't seen it yet. If anything it's just generating more paper. How many people waste a sheet of paper printing off a two-line e-mail message? Or twenty sheets per person when you're doing a death by PowerPoint session? Paperless is really still an ideal...not the reality.

I agree with the folks who equate e-books with staring at monitors at work. I'm also not at all crazy about the whole DRM system, and I don't think anyone yet has a good idea of just how reliable and durable e-readers really are. And just how green are those readers to manufacture? And the batteries they run on?

I'll stick with my paper books for now, thanks.

Mark said...

I would imagine it mostly comes down to if you feel comfortable sitting in front of a screen all the time. Many students and tech-savy people have no trouble.

For me, books are an escape from the screen that I sit in front of at work 8-10 hours per day.. plus I play some computer games so there is another x hours in front of the computer. Hence my reluctance to watch TV on the computer (why watch a 3 inch square version of the show instead of my 70" plasma anyway?) and reluctance to read books online.

I have read some before, text files downloaded from gutenberg and others but I would much rather kick back in my easy-chair.

I haven't tried the kindle, I suppose it offers much of the convenience of regular books if you like the rent vs. buy philosophy. Personally, I like to keep my books - I have some I purchased 30 years ago, and have had some rebound.

But I suspect I am a dinosaur and eventually if you want a "print edition" of the book you will have to pay extra to have it custom-printed.

Blues Greene said...

As a teacher I can tell you that "coo" is definitely cooler than cool. Reading these comments I was afraid than many young people would make a seamless transition; especially the woman who noted she had no space for books. Ouch! But then I see some question who profits, who doesn't? That's hopeful. Quicker, cheaper, faster, tidier, more convenient, doesn't always mean better. I know some people who love being surrounded by books. One poet friend enjoys keeping them around for awhile after finishing one. She likes sleeping in a room with books. I do too. I know it's coming, and I know it can't be stopped, but ebooks will never replace real books. How could they? So open that bookstore, people will find you.

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