Will you ever buy mostly e-books?

by | Dec 1, 2014 | E-books | 36 comments

Eighth! Annual! Poll!

I think we need a moment, guys. Eighth. Annual. Some of you probably voted in the first poll, or maybe you missed that one and voted in the second or third, but holy cow! Where did the time go?!

And where in the heck are the flying cars? It’s 2014, we should be reading holograms in space or something.

Ahem. Meanwhile, there is a poll that YES WE KNOW is not scientific and is not directly applicable to previous years, but even though I say that every single year there will still be a commenter who insists on pointing out that this poll is not scientific and is not directly applicable to previous years. You may be the commenter who after eight years still insists on pointing this out, and I have to say I kind of begrudgingly love you.

Here are polls past, in case you are curious:

2008 (technically the beginning of ’09)

And here is this one. Vote if you dare! Oh, and yes, it’s 2014 but you’ll still need to click through to the actual post if you’re reading this via e-mail or in a feed reader.


  1. Tom Braun

    This poll is way out of date. Where is the "I currently buy mostly ebooks" option?!?

  2. Nathan Bransford


    That would be "Absolutely. I welcome our coming e-book overlords."

  3. Ted Cross

    I've voted in most if not all of these. The flying cars are in my brand-new debut novel! I still chose 'Still don't know' because while I have a Kindle, I buy mostly paperbacks. I only read from the Kindle while on trips.

  4. Magdalena Munro

    I need my reading experience in three formats: paper, digital, and audio (Audible). I'm reading The Bone Clocks now and will alternate between paper and my e-reader and after each chapter I listen to re-read with audio. Indoors e-reader. Outdoors-paper. I can't stand the glow of electronics against the sun. Listening to audible after reading a chapter is like watching a movie in my head after having read something. It works for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Janiss Garza

    When I buy physical books, it's usually something out of print, a gift book printed in a special way, or part of a series I am collecting. I love the immediate gratification of getting an eBook and being able to sit down and start reading it seconds after I've decided I want it.

  6. Bryan Russell

    8th annual poll?!?!?

    My brain just imploded.

  7. abc

    I am 8 years closer to death.

    Forget flying cars, I just want a super train!

    Also, ebooks!

  8. domynoe

    I was dragged into buying ebooks, but now they're about all I buy. You know, apartment space being what it is, I'd need a whole separate place for my books. ๐Ÿ˜›

  9. Gwen Tolios

    Eh, 50/50 right now but i totally see the day where i only buy physical books when I rate them 5 stars and want to reread them multiple times and display them.

  10. Cynthia

    I already spend enough time in front of the computer screen, and so I still prefer reading from paper books. But I am often low on shelf space, so perhaps this might change in the distant future…though not the near future.

  11. Julie

    I just hope our overlords have been keeping track of their TRUE servants over the past 8 years…

    Hurrah for the return of the poll!

  12. Chris Bailey

    I'm driven by cost and shelf space to buy mostly e-books, but I'm not sold on them! I read three or four times as many books from the library. When I want to keep or share a special story, I buy the physical book.

  13. Brian Switzer

    Including KU borrows I've read fifty-four ebooks this year. The only paper books I purchased were Grisham's and King's new releases, and only because I already own the rest of their respective libraries on hardback. Once those two are no longer releasing new material I don't think I will ever again purchase a paper book for my own reading pleasure.

  14. Lee

    Hmmm, as MeatLoaf says "I will do anything for love"… so it behooves me to point out the blah blah scientific bit…

  15. Jane Moore

    What about an option for used books -and other books that are not in eReader form or that you want to mark up or take where there is no electricity?

    I read well over a 100 books a year. More & more of them in ebook form including the ones I take out of the library. I hardly ever buy books except those by friends. Plus how do you get an autograph on an ebook?

  16. Sally

    Used to buy ONLY ebooks; now I am an early adopter of post-tech, neoLuddite back-to-print-ness! Lately I've just gotten tired of bathing my eyeballs in electronic glow.

  17. Debra Erfert

    I love to read from my Kindle, and my iPhone, and my Kindle for Mac. I'm never without a book–ever! That said, there's just something about holding a real book. I don't know if it's turning the pages, or the sometimes musty scent you get if the paperback is older, but I know it's love. Besides, Amazon does weird things, like making me reload the books every once in a while, and that's irritating, if not inconvenient.

  18. Anma Natsu

    I've voted in most of these, weee ๐Ÿ™‚

    And my answer has yet to change – not now, not ever. They can pry my paper out of my cold dead hands!

    I have bought a few more eBooks in the last year, as in maybe 5 or 6, because I got them for free or low cost with print ones I gave as gifts. And I've yet to read any of them.

    Out of the 166 books I've read so far this year, only 6 have been eBooks (and some of those I have yet to finish). Suffice to say, when giving gifts, its always paper as well.

    I've even missed on some books I'd like to read, because they were done as digital only releases. *shrug* Guess I'm not their target reader after all, even though I spend way too much money on books each year. (okay, that's partially a lie, there is no such thing as too much money on books LOL)

    Besides just not liking the format, I am a computer programmer by trade. I stare at a computer all the freaking time. The last thing I want to do when I want to read is look at even more screens!

  19. Cinthia

    After my sister bought me an eReader for Christmas last year, I left it lying on the coffee table. It stayed there for three months; I didn't pick it up once. Finally I opened it, downloaded a few books, and I've barely set it down since.
    This shocked me. I am a great lover of books, of how books look and feel and smell (oh, how they smell!) and every room in our house is lined with books.
    Yet, I have to say, eBooks have hooked me (I almost wrote booked me, lol). I love that I can read at night, read while camping or tuck my eReader into my pack when traveling and have access to as many books as I want, without added bulk.
    I love buying eBooks, love the ease and especially love that it prompts me to sample books I won't necessarily read.

  20. Terin Miller

    Voted. Again. For the 8th time. I mean. 8th year.
    Same answer.
    I like paper. I like print. I like books.
    I gotta tell ya, the smell of my Kindle books on my netbook (no, I don't own an iPad)is no where near as inspiring as the scent of ink on paper in a library.
    Was just at a research library, in fact. The smell reminded me of my father's study.
    But that's another story. For print. And ebook.

    See? I don't discriminate. I appreciate. Sales. In any and all formats. As long as I get paid. Something. For any of them.

    And I'm still waiting for my frickin' flying car. Was supposed to be hear in the 1980s, as I recall.

    What does Mira say?

  21. Neurotic Workaholic

    I like e-books, and I admit that I usually just buy e-books now. But that's mainly because I've run out of shelf space and have too many books stacked on the floor. But on the other hand, a good old-fashioned library book doesn't have to be recharged. I don't have to worry about getting robbed if I read a regular book on the train, whereas I can't say the same if I pull out an e-reader.

  22. Anonymous

    At first I refused the idea of e-readers entirely. But I wanted to travel without all my weighty books so I thought I'd try one, and voila! I'm in love. My only concern is what about long-term power outages. Then I'm back to the Abe Lincoln method.

  23. thewriteedge

    Um, are the overlords benevolent? I would hate for them to become the publishing stronghold who start dictating what writers can publish and who can't and forcing really talented writers to wait years for publication or else not even get published at all…oh, wait. Never mind. Go, overlords! :>

  24. Adam Heine

    I've voted in all 8 polls, slowly shifting from "We'll see" to "Absolutely!" Now, the only reason I'll buy paper over e-book is for one of three reasons:

    (1) The paper is cheaper.
    (2) I own the rest of the series in paper already.
    (3) The book has a map (maps still suck on the Kindle Touch).

  25. Ishta Mercurio

    My vote hasn't changed since I first voted, lo, those 5 years ago. (EIGHT YEARS OF POLLS ON THIS? How did this happen? How has it taken me this long to get close to publication? WHAT THE EVEN WHAT?)

    *ahem* Anyway…

    I will never buy mostly e-books. The Hubbles has an e-reader which I picked up once, and never picked up again. I can download ebooks to my phone, but I don't. I could read ebooks on my laptop, but I don't. I just prefer to hold my stuff in my hands, not in my head.

  26. Tom Braun

    WOW. Just clicked on 2013 and 2012 and it's impressive how close the numbers on those polls are to this year. Easily within a margin of error.

    IOW, apparently everyone who is going to adopt ebooks has largely done so. Those who have said they will not are sticking to their guns. And the undecided I suppose are still making up their minds.

  27. Shawn

    You can love your manual typewriter. You can romanticize your manual typewriter. You can tell everybody how hip you are for sticking with your manual typewriter.

    But the day still came where you couldn't buy a ribbon for your manual typewriter.

    See also: Bound books.

    The day is neigh where you're not going to have the choice.

  28. Julie Hunter

    I have to say, I resisted the e-book movement with vigor. I love books, books in the hand, piles of books, shelves of books and so on. Then last year or so I downloaded an e-reader on my phone and its safe to say that I've read 3x (probably more) the number of books in a year than I normally do. Many of those were only published electronically. Yes, I still bought Nathan's writing book when it came out in paper. I still buy anything in a reference category in paper but otherwise, I can't get enough of this e-reading. I'm reading in grocery checkouts now. Who'd have thunk? I hope authors across the genres are doing better now that I'm buying anything I can download.

  29. Sarah

    I love e-books… but I still love paper books, too… For me I'm totally open to any option, but I wouldn't choose ebooks over paper, except for the price on a book I'm on the edge on. For Christmas, buying ebooks becomes a question… will the receiver like getting 4 ebooks, or would they just rather have 1 solid book…?

  30. Genissa

    I think I'll always prefer an actual book in my hand, but e-books are such a wonderful options, I find myself buying them more and more. It's nice to have a digital library to store all the books I've read and the books I plan to read. I'm planning to relocate soon, and I'm dreading having to find a way to pack up all the books I own!

  31. KJ Bateman

    There is some research coming out now that supports my experience. We don't make pictures as deeply when we read electronically as opposed to reading physical books. For me, ereaders are similar to having watched a movie. I am an observer. With a physical book, I am a participant, I am there in the room. So much so that sometimes I think I've been somewhere when I have only read about it.

  32. Krista Van Dolzer

    I voted maybe (again). "If the technology is right" is a big "if" in my mind; I have really twitchy eyes, and real, live books are so much easier on them.

    That said, I rarely buy books, period (though I read four to eight a month). Long live the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District!

  33. Anma Natsu

    Shawn – I always find it interesting when I see this argument, that one day we won't have a choice. Do you think there is going to a worldwide book burning to destroy every print book in existence?

    If not, I doubt any of us will live long enough that there will be no print books around. ๐Ÿ™‚ It would be nearly impossible for one person to even read all the options they have now, much less the ones still being released. And while a few niche areas (like in erotica and some manga and graphic novels) are doing a few eBook only releases, I can't think of any mainstream title that has made such a drastic choice yet. Most indies also offer print as well, and why not, with POD it's easy.

    P.S. You do realize the day has not come when you cannot get ribbon for a typewriter…right? Office Depot alone sells 2 dozen options… ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Jessica Markley

    E-books are all I buy, Now if I win the lottery, I'll buy hardcover books to stock my library. Until then e-books all the way.

  35. Buddy Brannan

    Just want to point out that ebooks are absolutely all positive for those of us with print disabilities. I love paper bound books as much as the next guy. Unfortunately, hardcopy braille takes up a lot of space, is prohibitively expensive (so we mostly just get to borrow it), and only a tiny fraction of published books are available in it. But since B&N, and then Amazon got their collective acts together with accessible ebook reading apps, well, you probably can imagine how liberating it is to be able to have the same books at the same time as everyone else has them. This is a thing many of y'all take for granted I expect, but for me, I feel as though I've got an embarrassing amount of riches–more books than I could possibly read in a lifetime, and I love it.

  36. Michael Montoure

    The only time I buy a paper book these days is if I've already read it, loved it, and want a physical copy for my bookshelves to gaze at lovingly.


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