Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Will You Ever Buy Mostly E-Books?

Get excited, it's time for our annual e-book poll, which I have held every year since 2007: will you ever buy mostly e-books?

Let's get this out of the way first: Yes, I know this isn't the most scientific of polls. Yes, the sample has changed from year to year. Yes, there are two polls from 2009 because I forgot one at the end of '08. Entertainment purposes only!

Here are the past polls:

2007
2008 (technically beginning of '09)
2009

And here is this year's poll. Do you think there will come a time when you buy mostly e-books? Click through for the poll if you're reading via e-mail or in a feed reader:







144 comments:

Jenni B said...

I used to be a cold-dead-hander. Until I found out that my husband is getting me an e-reader for Christmas. The arthritis in my wrists is very grateful and, I have to say, will probably demand that I stick with the nice, light e-books from now on.

Kurt said...

I already do, and I don't even own an iPad/Nook/Reader/Kindle yet. I do have "Kindle for PC" which is fine because I do all my reading in my room anyway.

I was born in 1985, and I've never read a newspaper.

Emily White said...

Last year, I said maybe. This year, though, I have a Kindle (named Fluffy) and I already buy mostly ebooks. It's too easy! I want a book? I go on my kindle and buy one. No driving thirty miles in the snow to the store. No waiting for my books to be shipped if I buy them online.

Instant gratification. And isn't that what America is all about? :)

Liberty Speidel said...

As a mom of two, I'm starting to see the need for an E-Reader. My 4 month old son has to use a bottle for some of his feedings, which makes it nigh impossible for me to do some recreational reading while feeding him... but I was thinking that if I had a Kindle or nook, I could one hand it and it wouldn't be an issue.

Plus, you can't rip out pages from an e-reader (as my 2 year old can if she finds a book lying around--we're working on that.)

Still, I think there will be times when I'll want to have a hard copy of a book--when I go to a book signing, for instance. I'm getting to have a decent collection of signed books, and I don't want that to come to a halt.

Lisa Yarde said...

I already do. The only reason I check out a paperback these days is make sure it is not cheaper than the Kindle version.

Joseph L. Selby said...

I bought Tad Williams' SHADOWHEART yesterday. It is the last paper book I will ever buy. I am e-only from now on.

Shain Brown said...

I love my K3 wouldn't trade it for anything. No driving, waiting, or crowds; that time is now used to read. I love it.

Elizabeth said...

I said never, and then I said maybe, and now I'm back to never. Why? Because I bought an ebook reader, that's why.

Aside from the fact that my Nook has all the cons of a paper book (can't get it wet, can't read it in the dark) it has none of the pros (cost, if you drop it it won't break) and even more of its own cons (a 62 second page turn, bipolar software, general awkwardness), there's the issue of my ADHD brain and having 180 books to choose from means I read 1 sentence of 180 books and then am too tired to choose between any of them.

I hate my ereader. It makes reading no fun.

Emy Shin said...

I put "maybe," because e-readers are still too expensive for broke college students. However, I do think I'll be buying mostly ebooks in the future once e-readers become more prevalent. I will still buy paper versions of ones I really love, though!

Jay said...

Yes, unfortunately. Because of space constraints, convenience and budget. Downwardly mobile liberal arts grad here trying to get a foothold in... publishing!

Ellen Hopkins said...

Interesting the see the shift this year especially. I personally don't own a reader and prefer not to read on-screen because I spend so much time writing on-screen. I do want an iPad or similar, mostly for manuscript reading/editing.

A lot of books, including mine, do not translate well on readers. Poetry is generally not good. That may change. But meanwhile, don't give up paper completely.

CL said...

I'm really surprised at how quickly I've abandoned paper books.I got my nook in September, and haven't walked into a bookstore since. Everything has been strictly e. I thought I would be the type of person who would do the combo paper/e for my book collection, but truth be told, I can't wait to sell/donate 95% of my library and clear off those shelves.

Nick said...

I say never, and I shall not falter. Computers already taking away my newspapers. Like fuck are they getting a hand on my books.

Laurie Marshall said...

Nope, sorry. It's not only the actual book(s) lying on my nightstand that I enjoy, but the wandering through the shelves at the local bookseller and re-seller. I discover books while browsing shelves that would not be listed on a "best seller" or "most popular" list on a reader. I have the Kindle app on my iPad and I'll give it a try, but I just don't see me making a significant shift.

Ellen Hopkins said...

Oh, and Kindle? No way. I won't give my money to Amazon. In fact, I have a $100 Amazon gift card just sitting here . . .

Martin Kozicki said...

It depends on the genre, really. If I'm traveling, I like novels. So if I end up traveling a LOT, then I can see myself buying a disproportionate amount of e-book novels as opposed to print. For picture books, however, I prefer them in book form. At least for now. Who knows where the tech will ultimately take us?

People need to realize that at one time, the printed book was considered "advanced technology." Yet I don't see a lot of people clinging to their cherished scrolls. ;-)

Bee said...

You can never, ever take away my paperback from me. Never. Ever.

T.N. Tobias said...

No one can "buy" ebooks. Better wording would be: "Will you ever mostly license digital-only rights tied to a specific device that you can never print, lend, share, excerpt, or transfer?" Unquestionably no. Get rid of the DRM, get rid of the EULA's and license terms and we'll see.

Claire Dawn said...

I live in Japan, but I have a US mailing address. They only way to get my writer-friends' books on release day is to get the E-book.

If I continue to live here or in another non-English speaking country, then I'll probably lean more and more heavily towards e-boox.

Krista V. said...

I'm surprised so many people are in the Never and Absolutely camps. I'm definitely a Maybe at the moment.

pooks said...

There should have been a choice, "I already do."

Because I already do!

And I was a cold-dead-hander a year ago. Go figure.

Dakota Pratt said...

You left out the option for "I already do". I got my ereader two months ago, and while I've read about 10 books since then, none of them have been hard copy books. :)

Jan Whitaker said...

I have had an e-reader for over a year but find I only use it for books that I don't feel a need to "own." If I really want a book to be a permanent part of my library, I buy a print version.

I don't particularly enjoy reading from an e-reader, too hard and cold and potentially breakable. Who really wants a book with batteries?

Anonymous said...

Watcher55 here (I'll figger this balmed machine out soon)

I'm a grouchy old schooler and I hope I die before paper books are encased in glass. "GEE, Gramps, did you really have to read like that in the olden days?"
Paper books are more personal (someone made this) and the tactile aspect is important to me.

heatherthurmeier said...

I already do buy mostly ebooks. I'm not sure I even like paper books anymore, LOL! Ebooks are just easier to buy, read, and shelve for later than paper books. I'll never have to move heavy boxes of books again! I'll just pick up my kindle and go.

Ailsa said...

I think it's interesting that the two options that are basically oposites are almost even in the votes - 36% & 37% as I voted. I'm surprised that there aren't more people in the middle.

Mary Maddox said...

Haha "our coming ebook overlords." Why would they be any worse than the overlords we have now?

I have both a Kindle and an iPad and do most of my reading on them,but certain books I must have for my shelves.

Mary Nelson said...

I have been buying only e-books for nearly two years. I'll buy physical books for others who don't have e-book devices, but for myself, I won't even accept loans of physical books now. They're far too cumbersome.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I got the Kindle3 when it first came out, and I feel it's a lot easier on the eyes to read on there than a paper book. As much as I love the paper books I already own --handling them does bring back memories in a way e-books can't, and they are more fun to browse--since getting the Kindle, I've bought more e-books than paper ones. There will always be some types of books that work better in paper form, but for most books, I get the e-book form.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I hope you'll post the results side-by-side when the poll is done! I love the "come from behind" attitude of the "welcoming the overlords" category. :)

Kellye said...

I think I was a "never" voter last year, and now I own a Kindle! I think I will always enjoy a mix, though. On my reading table now I have a hard-cover library book, several paperbacks and hardbacks that I've bought and the Kindle. I'm an equal-opportunity reader.

Nicole said...

I have a Nook, and I already buy mostly e-books. I like the convenience of having it immediately, and when I have a toddler in my lap, it's nice to not worry about pages being torn!

Although, there are some authors I will still always buy "real" books for. Jasper Fforde and A. S. Byatt are among them.

I will likely also buy "real" books for work resources and references.

Anonymous said...

I only read e-books.

I was born in l990. I never write checks unless it's absoultely necessary. I never read a newspaper or print magazine. And the only time I've ever been to a library was when my computer went berserk.

And I'm an undergrad A-student.

Leah Petersen said...

I said "never" but the honest answer is a bit more complicated.

I'll always prefer tree-books. And if I'm reasonably certain I'm going to like a book I almost always but paper. But between boredom-browsing on my Kindle for iPhone when I get stuck in a waiting room or long lines, and giving a test run to a new author, or trying out a self-pub that I've heard good things about, I've bought a lot more e-books in the past year than I ever would have imagined just 12 months ago.

hillary said...

I mostly buy e-books, especially for pulpy paperback reads, ones I don't really want on my shelf forever, but might re-read under the right circumstances (DMV, beach, etc). I read on my iPhone, which is surprisingly great. I can read anywhere, including dark places, and unlike my library of books, it's always with me.

Gloria Attar RN BSN said...

I already spend too much time glued to a computer screen or my phone.... real books are an escape and if I lose a paperback, which I've done a couple of times by leaving it somewhere, I'm out what...less than $10? I like to annotate my books and then pass them on to a friend. We write little things in the front and pass books round to generations of people. It becomes sort of a generational road map, so I doubt that I'll make a 100% switch or ever get close to that.

Ganz-1 said...

I'm always open to the possibility. The only thing stopping me from actually buying one is the price and the availability.

Abel Christopher said...

Thing is, I already pretty much only buy on Kindle now. I'm too much of a pack rat to part with the books I own, yet don't want to squeeze a tenth book case into my home.

Plus I walk and read (or exercise bike and read) which is a lot easier with a Kindle than with a book.

Jennifer Jackson said...

E-books are often cheaper than their bound counterparts. However, I have never had a problem with my pages being erased from between their covers or unwilling to turn when I desire them to.

Oh, and let me not forget being able to drop it on the floor-- even throwing it across the room if it is abysmal-- without it smashing to literal, literary pieces.

I promise, I'm not addicted to the smell and feel of paper. Anymore... lol

Karen Akins said...

I actually have an iPad and use it for everything but reading books. Call me crazy, but I love the feel and weight of paper.

E.J. Wesley said...

They still make books out of paper? Animals ...

nook Color FTW

Stacy McKitrick said...

I voted "never" last time and I continue to vote "never". I played with one of those readers in the store the other day and was not impressed.

I'll keep my paper books, thank you very much!

See Elle Oh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chelle said...

I hope to always have a mix. I travel a lot, and so I love my nook. Even when traveling, though, I need a real book for those take-offs and landings when they don't let you use gadgets.

I love the graphics of a well-designed book. So far, that art form doesn't transfer well to the nook. So I often have the hardback AND the e-book in my collection.

sheribomb said...

I already buy mostly ebooks. I love 'em!

I only buy paper books as an exception, like if I want to get the author to sign it (I've seen authors sign Kindles but that's just not my style), if I am giving it as a gift, or if it's for a classroom discussion and flipping through an ebook would be impractical.

Welcome, my sweet ebook overlords!

See Elle Oh said...

I'm no luddite; I'm often quick to embrace technology. I find it hard to get past the idea that books should be tangible things that appeal to all the senses, though. Some people often lament the book smell the gadgets lack. I also think books should have texture, sound and weight. They contain some truth, wisdom or information about life or the human experience and are the results of knowledge and hard work. That should weigh something, feel like something and sound like something.

Of course there are instances where the mass and bulk of a book make it daunting, unwieldy and ultimately hard to read.

Still, I don't see myself reading only e-books anytime soon (if ever). Buying? We'll see once I actually get an e-reader. I bet I'll still frequent my local library for the inked and bound ones, though.

Backfence said...

For reference I prefer book form. I also collect author autographed books, which doesn't translate well to my Kindle.

Other than that, I am very happy reading ebooks.

Becca said...

I highly doubt it, at least in the foreseeable future. I have a Kindle, and it's collecting dust. Actually, it isn't even doing that because I have it underneath a tissue box. I was amused by it at first, but then I quickly went back to musty smells and page flipping.

I just can't seem to give up book covers, filled bookshelves, being able to easily flip from page to page, and all the other great things that come from traditional books.

I know it may have to change one day, but not soon.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I just can't see giving up paper books. I like the feel and the smell (yes, I'm wired strangely).

I can understand the appeal of an e-reader (as can anyone who's ever spent house in a hospital waiting room for days on end), but for anything other than travel reading, I want pages to fold down and hold my place.

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

@Ellen Hopkins,

If it's a gift card, then Amazon already has the money. right now they have the money for nothing. And they're laughing. You gotta at least enjoy that hundred dollars and buy yourself some books. :)

Nicole L Rivera said...

As soon as I can get all the books I want on an e-book reader and the price is cheaper than buying the book used. I'm not paying 9.99 when I can get the book for 3.99 with shipping on Amazon. Sorry.

Fawn Neun said...

I don't have room to store all the paper books I want to read. For ones I read over and over - paper is the thing. But for those that I would normally just grab at the library? Digital is the way. (Mainly because I can never remember to return them on time.)

So, I will probably buy MORE books with an eReader, especially if the big publishers get their heads out of their arses and set the charge for electrons instead of dead vegetable matter.

wonderer said...

I'll likely buy an e-reader in the next year or so. I expect to use it for reading:
- books that would otherwise be too large/bulky for the subway
- books I can't find in the bookstore
- public-domain books
- short stories
- critique partners' stories (if I get one that has that capability)

Beyond that, I'll have to wait and see...

Laura Thomson said...

I already do.

The only things I buy in paper are books I am convinced I will read more than once: this is reference books, and books by my absolute favorite authors. Day to day reading is all ebooks (Kindle).

My decision was influenced by moving to the US and having to give away more than 2000 paperbacks. That wasn't the first time I'd had to do it, either.

A. McBay said...

Being a military wife, we move a lot. My husband has forbidden me to buy any more books unless it is on my kindle. It's a huge hassel to move my books so much, and with two toddlers and two book munching dogs my treasures are in constant danger. At least I am able to lock up my kindle and keep it from harms way. It is also a delight to read on. So much more comfortable than a paperback. Some people argue that they don't want to give up the smell of a book, but I have anosmia (no sense of smell) so it is no loss for me. I'm also working on a novel and its nice being able to load it on my kindle to do a read through. I have my rough draft wherever I go and can highlight mistakes and make notes where needed. The only way I would give up my K2 is for a K3.

Fawn Neun said...

Oh and you broke high school and colleget students? You can download a variety of eReaders for your smartphone for free: Kindle, Stanza, etc. I KNOW you all have smartphones.

Porter Anderson said...

I'm already doing far more e-books -- and the New Yorker, and your blog, Nathan -- than hardback and paper, thanks to the Kindle (I'm on my second). I buy a traditional book only if it's not available in a Kindle edition or it's the type book I truly need in standard format for graphics reasons, such as a book on fine art. This is running me about five-to-one e-books to traditional. Kurt, you're right, Kindle for PC is real good, too.

Best of all: I'm reading far more than I did. I keep five or six books going at once, bookmarking where I am in the Kindle, so I can pick right back up on each. I love being able to look up definitions of words instantly on the Kindle. (We all know "fecund" but do you know "facund?" I mean really.)

We'll always revere Guggenheim. But I'd rather have lunch with Jeff Bezos.

Stephanie Garber said...

I totally get why people love the e-reader, but I will heart my paperbacks and hardbacks until I die!

And it's not just because I have the bad habit of flipping to the last page of a chapter before I finish reading the chapter, which I feel wouldn't quite be the same with an e-book. I just love real books! I love the way they feel in my hands. I love being able to loan them to friends, and see my paperbacks age as if they themselves are old friends the more I reread them. I heart my books!

However... I am grateful for the e-readers if it means that more people are able to enjoy books :)

Brooklyn Ann said...

I'm with physical books all the way. I hate reading on a screen and If I did have an e-reader it would be destroyed by Cheeto crumbs and spilled wine in a fortnight.

Also, e-books ruin my fantasy of my own private library with floor to ceiling cherry wood shelves full of beautiful (albeit Cheeto-stained) books.

Patrice said...

I have a first-gen Kindle, and I used it only listlessly for a while. Lately, I prowl the Kindle bestseller list, download free samples, and buy at will. Most books are half the price of in-store, or less, and they are available to me instantly. I also feel good about saving trees. Best is to look at the cool covers and photos in the old-fashioned store, then buy it via Kindle. And mine's an old klunker from 2007.

I also read my own draft mss. via Kindle to get them to look like "real" books -- and it helps level the field for me.

Plus, I like the way I can change the font size. That's going to be an important aspect of e-book reader sales for baby boomers.

It's only a matter of time, guys. So many benefits to this brave new electronic world.

Mira said...

E-books.

I got the kindle for the I-phone (for free) in September, and I now have 43 books on it, including one textbook.

When you did Harry Potter week, Nathan, I thought to myself: I'm going to re-read the whole series. Then I found out that Harry Potter isn't on e-books yet.

I was at a complete loss. I am NOT joking. I'm like, "well how am I supposed to read Harry Potter now???" Then I remembered the books on my shelf, and ran through in my mind how you read a paper book. You take it off the shelf, and open it, and it's heavy, and then you have to lug it around with you.

No way. Not worth the hassle. I'll just wait for the e-book version.

Even though I've supported e-books from the start, I'm still surprised by how quickly I adapted. I've moved on from that old technology called paper books. Someday, I'll tell the younger generation about how we used to have to travel miles and miles to go to this big building and walk around it for hours just to buy a book. Then, we had to travel miles and miles with 100s of pounds of paper books on our backs for days and days. Barefoot. Uphill. In the snow.

They'll be amazed at what we had to go through just to read a book! Such courage and perseverence. Well. Not anymore.

Yay!

Keetha said...

I do not have an e-reader and I do not want an e-reader. At the same time, I can imagine changing my mind at some point. The idea of an e-reader makes a lot of sense to me but I really love books, pages, covers.

Also, I stare at a computer screen all day. The last thing I want to do when I read for leisure is look at a screen again.

T. Anne said...

I buy mostly e-books now. I'm enjoying my ipad more than my Kindle. I still use the Kindle app for ipad. Since I'm able to see cover's in color, I miss paper books even less!

Dave Ale said...

I can't believe everyone gave up on stone tablets so quickly. Sure, they're heavier, and kind of awkward, and a b**** to move, but don't you miss the sensation of rough stone on your fingers, or the slightly earthy smell?

Carol Riggs said...

I won't say Never. But I rarely BUY books anyway. I'm a library gal, always have been. Partly because I don't re-read books, so why keep them around?

Nicole MacDonald said...

Love e-books - so much cheaper and lighter than the monster $40-$60 books I like :) Looking forward (and simultaneously terrified..) to publishing mine on Amazon..

BirthRight The Arrival - on Amazon 1.1.11

*gulp*
www.damselinadirtydress.com

JES said...

I'm about to cancel my hardcopy New Yorker subscription, which I've had for 30+ years, and replace it with a Kindle subscription. That pretty much says it all for me.

Shellie Neumeier said...

Already there. I rarely buy paperbacks, anymore. Even my kiddos are reading on my e-reader (which shall stay nameless so as not to incite a riot or debate:).

Marta said...

Put me in the maybe category, though I sense a shift coming. I downloaded a few public domain books I'd always wanted to read to my (new) Android phone, which has a Kindle application. The text is surprisingly easy to read. Now I have something to take with me anywhere to read (subject to battery life), which means I no longer have to haul books around. So many books are oversized lately that they're not as convenient as a paperback to stuff in a small space. Can't get much smaller than a phone.

In the last week, I've also downloaded two other books simply because I didn't want to wait for them to be shipped in 2 or 3 weeks. On the other hand, they're not ones I'll want to keep around long. I save space on my shelves for the really good stuff.

Karen Peterson said...

I will always have book shelves with actual, tangible books on them. And I will still buy new books.

But I sure do want a nook. And I will use the heck out of it when I get one.

Erin said...

I've been ebooks-only for 3 years now. I've had friends loan me a paper book, and I ended up returning it without ever opening it, because it just seemed so inconvenient... Instead, I would just buy the book for my kindle...

Tracy said...

I almost all e-book now anyhow. I only buy the paper version if it's something I'll want to have signed some day. :D

TERI REES WANG said...

I used to so overly possessive of my books. I was a hoarder and now I'm not...not any more.

I found myself gifting my old classic collective, rare finds to some who might not ever read my books, but I know they will be well cared for.

I also delivered a library stash of duplicates to a small town library. Emptying the shelves, wiping them clean, and re-stocking the shelves as best I tried.

A series of one author books goes directly to my Mama, who does her duty, and then directs her friends to come collect the batch, and follow our same reading path.

My eBook (nook) keeps me in the game with all the visual responsibility of banking the paper.

I feel lighter, and fuller.
Cheers!

D.G. Hudson said...

Probably not. I'm not a techi-aficiondo - and I get annoyed at having to recharge every e-tool I use.

I mentioned once before that in Paris, France and in Montreal, Canada airports a few months ago, I only saw two people using their ereaders, but many reading actual books. I didn't see a plethora of ereaders anywhere on my trip. I didn't even see 50% usage.

It appears to definitely be generational in appeal, and only affordable to the upwardly mobile.

What happens when the ereader becomes outdated? Will all ereaders always be able to download the material provided or will it keep changing like our music delivery? (so you need to upgrade)

I voted maybe, but you won't see me jumping in until my husband decides he wants one. He doesn't even see the need for one yet, and he likes new toys.

More and more, we creep toward connectivity - with something. . .anything. Where's my robot?

J. R. McLemore said...

I said never, but honestly, that could change in the near future. I downloaded the Kindle and Nook apps for my PC and bought King's UNDER THE DOME and a new up-and-coming author's eBook, but I haven't read either.

I still prefer the riffle of the pages and the smell of the print. Also, I built two huge bookshelves this past summer to house my paperbacks. Finishing a book and adding it to the shelf of read books is like putting a trophy among the others.

Jessica Subject said...

I've only had my e-reader since June, but already my TBR pile of ebooks is much larger than traditional published books. I like the portability of ebooks, but I also like the ease of access of paper books; all you have to do is open them instead of waiting for them to load up.

Nicole said...

I'm in the Never camp for a lot of the same reasons people have already said. I have an undying (and perhaps irrational) love for actual paper books. Plus, I spend way too much time already looking at computer or phone screens. I would never want to do my fun reading that way - for me, it cuts down on my chance to truly escape into the pages.

I do think e-books are opening a lot of cool possiblities, but I am secretly rooting for paper books to hold their own. :)

Douglas L. Perry said...

Been there since 2008 when I got my first Kindle. I casually walk by the stacks of books I want at Costco only to get the titles I'll download later.

Author, Planet Heidi said...

I used to be a paper book zealot. Then a few months ago someone gave me a Nook as a gift (I would have never bought such a device). Now I'm hooked on e-books. So easy, so cheap and so much less space. I feel bad for the small independent specialty book sellers (like the Seattle Mystery book store) because until I got Nooked, I was a power shopper there. Now I realize that e-books are perfectly positioned for the power book shopper and because of that, are a razor blade across the jugular of those small book sellers. Sad but true. Even today, I found myself chuckling at a woman at the bus stop reading a hardback with a homemade book-cover. How quaint, like a buggy-whip.

Jenny said...

Right now I'm about a half-and-halfer, mostly because of textbooks for school. When that's all over, and I don't have to worry about whether or not my page number matches my classmates', it'll probably be all electronic.

Anonymous said...

Option # 5;

I expect at some time in the near future I won't have a choice, because of migration to digital publication predominance, because of expedient circumstances, because most of my reading is already through some electronic format or another for the above two reasons.

The technology and styles just don't quite fit my comfort zone yet. So my purchases remain hardcopy for the reasons of comfort and durability.

Maddz said...

Never!

bookgirl said...

definitely not happening yet. the only e reader i've had physical contact with was a sony reader on display in a branch of waterstones and i didn't like the page turn. it's really distracting. so until i see something better that doesn't cost a fortune i'll stick to paper. plus i hate to think paper books will become obsolete, you can't take your kindle to a book signing! if you publish a book you can't see the e version on a book shelf.

Anassa said...

The only scenario in which I'd buy e-books would be if paper books disappear or become horrifically expensive, and I'm forced into the digital option. Until then, I'm a paper book gal all the way.

Matthew Rush said...

I can't imagine ever buying only e-books. I love real books too much. Then again I am an environmentalist, and it's hard to argue against the benefit to the planet.

lisa c. baker said...

I've bought mostly ebooks ever since I got my iPhone. It's just too convenient to have all these books in my pocket to choose from. Plus I can read them in the dark. Awesome.

But I will never move entirely to ebooks. How would I read if the electricity went out? Too much risk! My new mode will probably be to buy books twice--first as ebooks, and then again as used paperbooks for books I want to re-read and lend over and over. Although once libraries have a decent selection of ebooks I'll use that instead. But right now I do most of my reading in the dark while putting my kid to bed, so the backlit screen on my iPhone is just plain necessary.

Anne R. Allen said...

The folks who will only buy ebooks must never fly. The time you most need a book is waiting for the plane to take off and when you're trying not to worry about the landing--the two times you are required to turn off electronic devices. So people who don't buy paper books will be stuck talking to that boring salesman next to them instead of reading.

Megan Grimit said...

I really love the convenience of an e-reader but I also love real pages and real books so much that most times I'll buy a book for my kindle and if I love it I'll also buy the actual book to put on my bookshelf. So I'd have to say I'm stuck in the middle.

Ann Best said...

Born in 1940, I grew up with books. I love the printed book and always will. I don't think I'll ever completely clear out my bookcase, especially not illustrated titles like Why the Chimes Rang and Girl of the Limberlost. But I am loving my new iPod. So easy to carry around, and I can afford to buy more books this way, and I'm also downloading all the "classics" that I read years ago! Technology can indeed be wonderful!! (As long as there's a source to charge the battery! That's one advantage of print books: no battery required!!)
Ann Best, A Long Journey Home

Kasey with a C said...

Never. Technology has a nasty habit of leaving a person in the lurch, usually at a time when one most needs it. I wouldn't mind an e-reader for the occasional fling, but nothing will ever replace my books.

Martin Rose said...

Hells yes! Hey, books are nice, they have an aesthetic sensibility, but they can't compare to the portability and functionality of an ebook reader. I live in a house barely 1,000 square feet; I can't fit all the books I want to read, will ever read, inside of it. The ebook reader is excellent in solving this space problem. And nothing from nothing, but if a pile of bound paper is what makes a story worthwhile to people, than they don't know how to read. The story is what matters -- no matter what format it is presented in.

Ted said...

I expect to be buying both -- eBooks for stuff I want to read once, and print books for gifts and mementos I want on my shelf.

I also love buying used historical non-fiction books on Amazon... the kind with century-old photos. Don't foresee an e-reader for those.

Joseph L. Selby said...

Watcher55 said (as an anonymous post while he figures this darned thing out):

Paper books are more personal (someone made this)


Hi, my name is Joe. I make your ebooks. Nice to meet you.

Now ebooks are personal too.

CMR Prindle said...

After seeing how quickly I've jumped to nearly all-download-all-the-time for music, despite my protestations that I like the cover art and the booklets (I really, really do!) I was ready to reluctantly admit that I'd probably jump ship just as quickly if/when I get an e-reader. Then I remembered a conversation I had with my mother about them, that basically pointed out how difficult it would be to study several tomes on an e-reader: sticking your finger (or pens or pencils or barrettes) in several pages of several books simultaneously, simul-reading from all those tomes, checking appendices or concordances, etc. and so forth. Short of going all Star Trek and having a stack of PADDs lying around, I don't think e-readers are there yet. So for my casual reading, more likely than not. For my serious study time (or, rather, my imitations of my mother's serious study time) not so much.

Becca C. said...

Never never never. My favourite thing in the world is going to a book store and enjoying the smells and textures of all the books. I take the biggest pride in my massive book collection, and one of my goals for the future is to have a fancy private library someday with ladders on the shelves. You can't make the same emotional connection with an e-book that you can with a paper book. I'm sorry, but I'm paper till the day I die.

And I'm 19. Just being young doesn't make someone all-for technology.

Carradee said...

I'm holding out for lendable e-books. I personally own several bookshelves of books and often act as a mini-library for novels that interested friends can't find at the library—because I only buy books that I know I enjoy and will want to lend to others. It takes up a lot of space. I'd gladly transfer as much as possible over to e-books if they were as lendable as paper books.

Kersley Fitzgerald said...

As of 25 December, around 11:15 in the morning, I will be buying mostly ebooks. That's when I should be unwrapping my Kindle.

Well, if my 17 reminders a week haven't so annoyed my husband that he refuses to get it just on principle.

Victoria said...

Well, up until I received an iPad, I didn't get the ebook idea. But I must admit i've found the iPad bookstore good for picking up older classics I don't own and have always wanted to read. That hasn't replaced my fiction book shopping though. Given the choice, I want to be holding a novel in my hands, and admiring it on my shelf.

However, the significant difference in my shopping patterns is in my non-fiction shopping. I really see the future of non-fiction heading in the ebook direction, and I purchased a revolutionary book on my iPad that showed me how different the future was going to be. It's called Lights, Camera, Capture, and it isn't just a non-fiction book on photography, it's so much more than that. As you read the book you can access videos and demonstrations by the writer, (built into the book but accessed via Wifi) and the photos and diagrams open up with complete explanations.

The experience is so much more than I would have received from a paper book. It's interactive and in depth - just like being in a tutorial. For the first time, I understood where we're going with ebooks. The future looks exciting!

I'm still going to buy my fiction in paper, but non-ficition ebooks, here I come!

Liz Fichera said...

I love my e-reader. I now only buy e-books and I download e-books from my public library. Totally cool. Going back to actual books would be like going back to rotary dial phones.

MJR said...

No, I won't ever shift exclusively to ebooks and though I have an ereader, I find I'm reading more printed books than ebooks lately. I enjoy holding a printed book in my hands and turning the pages and I find my ereaders a hassle (making sure it has enough power etc etc).

TheLabRat said...

Since breaking the DRM on ebooks is so easy (allowing me to transfer it around my storage as I see fit) yeah I'll probably buy plenty of ebooks. But there will always be special books I want on paper so that I still have them in the event of the inevitable zombie apocalypse. :D

Ishta Mercurio said...

9% of us are swingvoters? Come on, guys, come to the print side...

Mwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!

(ahem)

Nathan, after the poll has been up for a sufficient amount of time, will you do a post comparing this year's results to other years, so we can see which way we're trending? Pretty please?

Anne Buzzini said...

I tested my emdurance with a friend's Kindle vs. a paperback. I could read less than an hour (an average of 48.3 minutes) on the Kindle. I read an average of 6 hours (6.1) with paper.

Hmmmmm. Since I'm a reader (as well as an aspiring writer) looks like I won't be shelling out the money for an ereader soon.
It might be more convenient, but without the capacity to share books, etc. (as mentioned in previous posts by various contributors) it has no appeal for me.

Doug Pardee said...

For narrative fiction, all e-book. Got my NOOK in March and haven't bought a fiction title on paper since. If one fiction title isn't available in e-book, I'll read a different title.

For tech/reference books, paper for now. That small B/W screen doesn't cut it for graphic- and layout-heavy books where you need to flip back and forth.

To those who mentioned the library: many libraries in the US allow you to check out e-books. You can't read 'em on a Kindle, but you can on most other readers. (Insert raspberry to Simon & Schuster and Macmillan for not allowing their e-books to be loaned by libraries.)

WING WIFE said...

Books CAN be shared on Kindle--better than any other e-reader, people just have to share the Amazon account--which works great with family and even best friends.

You definitely want the 3G and Wireless Kindle ($189 version). If you are somewhere where there is wireless it will connect up--like at home or at Starbucks--but if wireless isn't available you can connect to the internet and the Kindle Store using3G which is like a cell phone connection. I have downloaded books and free samples of books in airports, in the car while driving to Colorado, in bookstores and yes! on the beach.

I've also used the internet on my Kindle to look up restaurant recommendations or what movies are playing when I am traveling away from my computer.

Did I mention that once you buy the Kindle you pay no connection fee? I get 3G and Wireless for the life of my Kindle for free! An amazing thing. The iPad is $30 a month at least--every month.

By the way--there are five Kindles now in my family and we all share the 1000 books my husband and I have bought (on my one account on Amazon). My grandson has my 1st Kindle, my daughter has my husband's first, my best friend who has no money but reads voraciously has my second. I am on my third Kindle and Andy on his second. They just got faster and had more memory so I upgraded and gave the earlier ones to people I love.

By the way--my house is filled with wonderful Dead Tree Books I never read--I am allergic to their dust and mold. I've given 45 grocery bags of hardbacks to the local Friends of the Library.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Just noticed that the previous polls are hyperlinked - d'oh! Ignore that last comment.

The trend is interesting - a lot of the "maybe" people from before are moving to the e-reader side or the "still have no idea" side, but movement is definitely steadily drifting away from the print side. Boo.

Anna said...

I think it depends on whether "buying" means that you are spending money to get a book. I know that sounds redundant, so let me explain. I just got a Kindle two days ago and have been rapidly "purchasing" free out-of-print books as fast as I can download. I've "bought" more e-books than I have real books this year as a result of my downloading spree, but I don't think of it as the same as buying print books. For one thing, editions are extremely important in my profession, so I will always turn to the print version whenever I'm using it for work. But for fun? Whichever is cheapest: new, used, or e.

hannah said...

I have no idea. I have a nook and I have no protocol for whether I use it or whether I get a paper book. The fact is, most of my books are ones I get for free from my publisher or from other writers. That's just the reality of my college-budget life right now.

And I have trouble with e-books right for the simple reason that you can't flip through them. It's why reading an ebook version of a textbook doesn't make sense to me yet. I need to be able to keep my finger in two different spots and flip back and forth. I'm sure there's an ebook solution to this on the horizon.

J. T. Shea said...

E-books? I've just made the transition from scrolls! Now I'm replacing my lovely curly vellum with these flat cardboard and paper 'book' things.

Seriously, I do not know what I will buy in the future. It's enough of a challenge to decide what to buy right now. Meanwhile, may I remind my fellow commenters that e-books do not require e-readers, and print books do not require driving. I use an old-fashioned gadget called a 'laptop' for both.

Elizabeth, one sentence from each of 180 books? That would make an interesting mash-up!

Watcher55, click the NAME/URL option when commenting, and type 'Watcher55' in the box that opens.

BTW, I am encouraged by the number of commenters mentioning situations where they read e-books but could not read print books. Such 'additive' reading could grow overall book sales.

Stephanie Garber, you flip to the last page of a chapter before reading the chapter? HELL IS NOT HOT ENOUGH NOR ETERNITY LONG ENOUGH FOR SUCH A TRANSGRESSION!

Dave Ale, YEAH for stone tablets! They could be the next big retro thing. With a free chisel for making notes in the margins.

Mira, taking the book off the shelf and opening it isn't the real problem. The real problem is reaching the shelf from the armchair or bed. Sometimes, horror of horrors, I have to STAND UP!

Kristin Laughtin said...

I'm pretty sure I will. I suspect I will be getting an e-reader for Christmas, and after that I will probably only buy physical books if they're really pretty, cheaper for some reason, used, something I want to lend a lot, or I want to get a copy signed. Or maybe as an impulse buy when I visit a bookstore (I like browsing or shopping for others!). But I suspect with an e-reader I will abandon my dream of having a floor-to-ceiling library like in Beauty and the Beast. Actually, I kind of did last time I moved. Books are heavy!

robinC said...

I adore my iPad, have some e-books on it but for me nothing compares to the tactile experience of holding a really good book in your hands, getting so into it that you have to thumb through chapters ahead because you can't wait to get there and that old, broken in much-loved look a book gets after it's been read. Can't even talk about taking an e-reader into a bubble bath...BUT...it certainly saves carry-on space to have e-books on vacation. So for now I'm mostly playing Fruit Ninja on the iPad and reading old school. But I'm open to change...

Known Alias: Ingrid Tuesday said...

I loan out my books to friends on a regular basis, so unless it becomes cost-prohibitive to buy paper copies, I don't foresee using e-readers anytime soon.

Sue Bond said...

E-reading doesn't interest me. I enjoy going to my local independent bookstores and engaging with the booksellers. I enjoy going to Lifeline Bookfests and the University of Queensland's Alumni Bookfairs every two years and poring over the treasures. I enjoy going to second-hand bookshops and op shops and finding things I've been looking for for years. I enjoy having a personal library on shelves. I use a computer everyday and read a lot of short pieces online, so shutting my laptop and picking up a print book or magazine is a nice sensory change, as well as a relief for my eyes. I think e-books are fine and have no problem with them, but don't want them to replace print books, as the latter are such an important part of my own world, and our history generally.

Carson Lee said...

Wow. Reading Comments here, I have learned a lot -- as if i had taken a three-week course, I think. Currently --
DO NOT have a gadget budget,
and
DO HAVE many tangible Books which haven't yet read, so -- I'm good.
But it's great to be allowed this deeper, multi-prismed (sp?) glimpse into how some other people experience the benefits and enjoyments of both e-books and "real" (?!) ones.
So many very interesting and engaging thoughts / ideas expressed here.
Terrific blog.
Terrific commenters.

ElizaJane said...

I'm shocked and dismayed by this transition.

I have an i-pad and use it to check the web but I would NEVER read a book on it, under any circumstances. I like being able to peek ahead, check back on something, just navigate the text in the way a physical object with pages enables you to do.

I'm afraid that if paper books stop being available the way VHS movies and records did, I will actually stop reading. I cannot conceive of reading a book in that restrictive one-page-at-a-time format.

Also, I spend thousands of dollars a year on BOOKS; I wouldn't bother buying e-books.

Papa Squirrel said...

Other than cookbooks, everything we read now is on Kindle. We actually gave our K2 to my 75-year-old mother. My wife, son,and I all read with the Kindle app on our iPhones.

Kerry Lonsdale said...

the only time i don't by an e-book now is if it's not an option, i.e., the book is only available in hard copy. i'm usually reading 4 books at once, so my Kindle is so much better than lugging around 4 novels.

Claire Farrell said...

The last time I bought a DTB was in March. The same month I was gifted an ereader. I buy ebooks every week (a little too often) and I can't see myself needing to buy a DTB unless it's a picture book for my smallies. :D

The Red Angel said...

Not a fan of e-books...I will always love my paper books. :) Also, the look of e-readers such as the Kindle don't really attract me all that much.

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

ed said...

...I believe it is inevitable...

Justin J. Murphy said...

I can't even imagine a world without tangible, thick, old-paper scented books. Has anyone taken the time to think about the effect ebooks will have on the furniture industry? What's that mom and pop shop down the road here in Topanga going to do when no one wants to buy a bookcase? Not to mention interior decorators. Homes will be left with a giant blank void in the corner of the room. What will it be filled with? Another flat-screen television? A silk-screened black and white rendering of Jimmy Page circa 1972? Horrible. Books belong in homes, not in computers. Computers die, technology becomes obsolete. Photographs, books, traditions can be passed down; they survive. Who's going to go into a "used book store" in twenty years and buy a Kindle crammed with children's books that adults read, stories about compulsive shopping, dogs, a quirky bridesmaid, or secret Vatican conspiracies? Imagine James Joyce on a Kindle. I feel sick.

Leslie said...

I buy all e-books unless I have read an e-version and loved it. I will then go and buy the hardcover for my collection. I want to be able to show off my literary tastes, and that's an easy way to do it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not all that infatuated with e-readers. Yes, I understand the pro's of them but I still have concerns. Technology always has a way of out doing the last generation and rendering it obsolete. This has been case with many things, VCR's to DVD player and now blueray, Who's to say that e-readers won't be the same way. What if the next generation(s) are not compatible with the books you've already downloaded? What then, buy a new e-reader and purchase the books all over again? Thanks but no thanks, I'll stick with paper versions as long as I can.

Anonymous said...

For convenience, the environment, and a pleasant reading experience, I'm already kindled. --dalerobertweese

Nancy said...

Nathan:

Wouldn't the poll be more effective if you asked "What percentage of books to e-readers will be your preference in the near future?" And then list the percentages: 1) 100% e-reader books. 2) 10% paper books to 90% e-reader books, for example, etc., on down to 100% paper books. I imagine myself buying an e-reader in the future, but I also have to admit to my old-fashioned notion that a book should be a rolled out, one-of-many alternative universes of a tree. The concept connects me to the wonders of ancient Egypt with its papyrus, or farther back to cuniform on clay tablets. When I hold a cloth/paper book I'm connected to learning and understanding down through the millenia. It's a connection through tangible, related materials, unlike holding the electronic readout version. Not that the e-friendly version isn't any good. Maybe 200 years in the future people will curl up with their e-readers in front of the old electronic fireplace, enjoying the historic nostalgia of it all. At this point in time as I stand in a bookstore amid all the colorful invitations to worlds of learning and adventure, am I excited about e-readers and e-fireplaces? Not yet.

Nancy said...

P.S. Yes, I know papyrus is not made from a tree. But still... it is a small connection to the roots of humankind's learning. The e-reader will no doubt be a part of humankind's learning and entertainment history one day. This reminds me that in the future we may well be able to cozy up to reading using a virtual field of vision made possible via retinal implants. Well, you just never know these days...

Khanada said...

I voted "never" again, but it didn't feel as strong as last year's.

I seem to like collecting classics as ebooks but am reluctant to buy newer ebooks. I almost took the plunge recently with a nonfiction book, but the formatting in my sample is AWFUL! I can read a few pages, then the sample suddenly stops and starts over again. Then that part stops, and I'm back to reading again where I left off originally.

Moses Siregar III said...

Already there, and my reading experience has never been better.

Amy Lynn said...

So, I just bought my first e-reader, and I am welcoming my e-book overlords, but I don't think I will buy mostly e-books.

So far, I've loaded public domain classics, bought my favorite authors books, and checked out some digital ARCs.

I plan on reading ebooks that are priced reasonably, and interesting. I still plan on buying physical books. I'm still hoping they'll begin bundling hardcovers with a digital edition of the book. I can't justify $30 hardcovers, or $20 ebooks.

Steppe said...

Still a cold dead hands supporter.
I want to collect classic books with leather covers and acid free paper just to have a weird hobby. If a book truly affects me and changes my world view I want it memorialized in the old fashioned form. Publishing doesn't reveal new stuff (world views)so maybe e-books are the cure and I'll become an obsessive reader again.

Victoria said...

I think Nancy made a great suggestion for a future poll - I think the spread of ratios of what we're prepared to own would make the e-reader conversion from print look a lot less threatening.

I can't see our household ever going over a 80/20 ratio print to ebook.

ablankwhitepage said...

I'm a paper book purist (and I've been working for a creative digital agency).

I think they'll sit side by side, but I think paper books will continue to edge out ebooks (despite all the comments that seem to say otherwise)!

Then again, I'm a bit of a grumpy curmudgeon sometimes, so maybe it's stubbornness.

Rob Crompton said...

I grew up back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and people used fountain pens and second-hand Remingtons and things like that. But I got my Sony reader a few weeks ago. It's great for skiving in the coffee shop, taking chapters of my new novel to read at my writers' group or a selection of books to reader on that weekend away. Wouldn't be without it.
But's it's o good at all for casually-on-purpose leaving one's own books lying around for visitors to spot: "hey, did you wirte this then?"

Alison Barber said...

I once heard (maybe it was on Oprah) that at the end of your life, it is the people you've met and the books that you have read that matters most. Call me romantic, but I have fallen in love with books; the dogeared, tangible ol' things. They are like good friends. They sit on my shelf and remind me of great times. The ones I haven't read; invite me, with their pretty covers and intriguing titles and their sheer weight, to come and discover the stories within. I get anxious by looking at them. I guess it is my fear that e-books are, and will be forgettable.

subcreator said...

E-books weren't really on my radar at all until recently when my husband began talking about possibly getting one. I was shocked and dismayed. Replace my lovely paper books with their wonderful book smell for a piece of electronics? I'm not a person who deals with change well and so I immediately shut him down and forbade him to ever talk about it again, all with a look. (He knows by now not to go against THE LOOK.)

But as I began to branch out and read more blogs about writing lately (I'm an aspiring author myself) I slowly began to reconsider my opinion. This e-book thing is pretty big, not just a fad or something, huh? Grudgingly, I did come to accept that this is the future and eventually was even able to see the multiple up sides.

I think we'll finally be getting an e-reader for Christmas. Not a Kindle. My husband works for the library and insist we get one that enables borrowing from libraries. And then I won't be surprised if we go over to mostly e-books. It's cheaper and easier, after all.

Cid said...

Before this year I would have said no. I liked my physical books, ereaders just weren't durable enough - and then I became part of a book review website. The volume at which I read now cannot be contained by my small apartment - ebooks are the natural solution for everything I don't just want to read and read and read and read. So I got a sony daily, and I'm slowly but surely falling in love with it and ebooks. :) What can I say? I'm a convert!

J. Viser said...

I like the convenience and ease of ereading. In my day job, I do most of my reading online anyway, so making the switch to an ebooks for entertainment reading is an easy migration for me.

I think there will always be a place for paper books, especially for those you want to pass down to family and friends. And, I am amazed at the amount of relatively cheap/free content out there.

All that said, that's why I decided to release my novel, Lie Merchants, as an ebook first and then consider moving over to paper.

www.LieMerchants.com

J. Viser said...

I like the convenience and ease of ereading. In my day job, I do most of my reading online anyway, so making the switch to an ebooks for entertainment reading is an easy migration for me.

I think there will always be a place for paper books, especially for those you want to pass down to family and friends. And, I am amazed at the amount of relatively cheap/free content out there.

All that said, that's why I decided to release my novel, Lie Merchants, as an ebook first and then consider moving over to paper.

www.LieMerchants.com

Deni Krueger said...

We're military stationed in Europe and can't download everything from Amazon because our computer URL lists us as Germany. Can bypass with a proxy url, but it gets sticky...so probably not until we're back in the states. For now, it's cheaper to buy the actual book and have it sent over.

Andrea Strong said...

Maybe "Mostly" but never "all". I like the feel of a book in my hand too much.

Someone mentioned stone tablets...you have to admit, they're more durable than paper ; )

I don't have an ereader, but if I can ever afford one, I understand that the data files are often cheaper than the hard copies. Though I think I'll still want to own my favorites in hard copy.

Think about what might happen if there ever was a world wide electronics crash. All those books in ereaders would be useless, unreachable. ;) Hard copies? no technology required to read them (at least in the daytime). The sun makes it fairly easy. And if something happens to that light source, I don't think any of us will be worrying about books. :)

Anonymous said...

Last year I would have said "never", but I love my Kindle, and I'm going to buy a Kobo or Nook so I can borrow E-Books from the library. You can change the text size, which my eyes appreciate, and I'm making a lot of space in my house by getting rid of some of my classics. I can get them for free with Kindle. When I travel, I won't have to take a separate MP3 player for audio books. The Kindle plays them. I will always buy and read books from major publishers, though, unless it's something very local and very specialized.

Anonymous said...

Not until the rights for countries like Australia are a whole lot better than now. My Kindle has been more useless than useful, as so many of the (maintstream) books I would buy aren't available to Australia in Kindle (even though they are to the US). As a mug punter reader, I don't know for any given book if the ebook rights for Australia are still with the author, being sat on by a publisher, or what, and there is no clear/simple way to find out; so I can't write/email/agitate. I thought I was entering a brave new world; right now, I'm trapped in the vestibule, waiting for authors/agents/publishers/somebody to remember that Australia has people with ebook readers who might like to read more than out of copyright classics and Steig Larsson.

Buying a Kindle has been a waste of money (it would be the same for any e-reader); and I'm buying more print than I had planned to.

The Australian Consumer Assoc recetnly reviewed e-readers available here, but sadly ignored the elephant in the room of the limited content available.

If books weren't already available in Kindle form, I'd be less narked; but the formatting etc is done, the issue is the rights.

It would be great if e-book selling websites such as Amazon had a button you could ping to send the message that you would have bought this book in Kindle form if you could; that could be forwarded to publisher/rights holder etc, and indicate demand so perhaps someone would get their rear end in gear.

Ebooks for Australian readers are more frustration than anything. Sadly.

Anonymous said...

This year I finally hope to get one.Last year,I have made considerable savings to buy myself an e-book.
...........
Adam
www.plrprivatelabelrights.com

Adam said...

The eBook era has arrived. It will continue to gain an ever larger percentage. Personally, I think it's the best option.

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