I got a kindle six weeks ago and I love it. I think I've made one purchase and it as $2.50 for scrabble from EA games. I have yet to buy a book, but I've been reading a lot of the free books on it. I have a hard time spending a lot of money on ebooks though. The local library is too good. I realize that due to my cheap-skatedness I'm probably an anomaly...
Interestingly, a close family member works for a local used and new bookseller with a nearly 100 year history. They have struggled mightily in the last 5 years or so, and now are unable to get a loan from any major bank because the bankers say e-books are going to put all bookstores out of business.
Has anybody _exclusively_ begun using ebooks? I think amazon's real-world bookselling are a much bigger threat to the likes of borders and the local bookstore than it's e-books are, but maybe I'm just smoking crack.
When I have the time I read a bunch of books - around 1-3 a week, depending on length. I like reading books I've heard about on talk shows or from friends, which are usually new releases that won't be in my local public library for years. I realize I'm an anomaly here as well, but when you look at just the space of people who actually buy books and weight them by number of books bought, I bet people like me make up a large part of the market, if not the majority.
The Kindle is a godsend for us, principally for the portability but also to save space. Several times in my life I had literally no physical space left in my house/apartment for more books and had to sell off a large number of them. Starting back in high school and through college I used to walk to a bookstore almost every week, though I couldn't always afford to buy more things. I still buy physical books off of Amazon from time to time, but I have not walked inside a bookstore in six months.
I read around 40 ebooks last year. To me the big wins with ebooks are: the immediacy of purchasing, the backlit screen and the fact I'm no longer burdened by having to house and store a bunch of dead trees.
I know that a few studies have found reading an ebook is slower than reading paper, but anecdotally I'd swear that I read 10-25% faster.
The only media that I still buy consistently on paper are graphic novels, but if I could get a decent digital comic reader for the Mac I'd drop those as well.
I have. I got a Kindle, and I love it. It's a no-brainer for me. I move relatively often, like to travel, and commute to work by train. I mostly read non-fiction books that are all (or mostly) text.
Re: e-readers vs tablets
The e-reader will give you less physical strain due to the lighter weight and e-ink screen. And less strain = more pleasure, while reading. It's the strongest benefit of e-readers over tablets.
If you read books with mostly text and read in a linear fashion, then get an e-reader. Examples are: most paperback books. If you read books that require a large viewing area, color images, or strong navigation features (for non-linear reading), then get a tablet. Some examples are: textbooks, magazines, technical books.
Ideally, you'd get an e-reader for paperback-type books and a tablet for the media-rich or reference books.
Also, this fellow HNer wrote an article on switching to e-books: http://ryanwaggoner.com/2010/11/how-i-read-more-by-getting-r...
On top of all that, used book stores provide much more value than big commercial vendors like B&N because their selection is so broad and so cheap. Used books are in general perfectly fine to be re-read, so people seeking bargains on new books go there frequently; e-Books will generally not be discounted very quickly, there is no such thing as a "used e-Book".
The _real_ reason used bookstores are going to be around for a long time, though, is that there are A LOT of books out there. Even if someone was able to digitize millions of books, there'd be millions and millions more that would only be able to be found in used bookstores, especially with older books. Just go into your local used book store and ask yourself how much of that catalog is available on the Kindle, or will be made available any time in the foreseeable future. It's a pretty small percentage.
I still mostly read physical books -- in part because I'm in grad school for English Lit, and the edition problems with eBooks makes them hard to cite and harder still to cite authoritatively.
But a doctor I know observed that he and his wife switched to Kindles because now they don't have to take 10 lbs of books with them, per person, when they travel. I definitely identify with that.
The biggest problem as anyone who owns (buys) a lot of books knows is what to do with them once you've read them. E-readers will continue to get better, more convenient and cheaper. My desire to try to sell used books on Amazon, bookstores or donating them to Goodwill or the library (even though libraries don't actually want your donations) will continue to remain low.
It's not obvious that the Kindle stopped me from buying books - I didn't realize it until now. But I certainly would've picked some up wandering past a bookstore or at the airport if I didn't have the Kindle.
It might be due to the type of reading I do (mostly non-fiction: finance, management, science, technology, etc) and Amazon's ebook store in the UK, but I really find it hard to believe that I have to go through almost 100 eBooks to make it up for the price of the device.
So, no eBooks for me, not until they actually come up with a much better pricing scheme.
For reference stuff I'm still not sure if it will work because the "note" making stuff is not great, and definitely is not as easy as flipping through the book to find the page you want.
Useless anecdotal evidence follows...
That's a pretty shocking figure if you ask me. It's hard to believe when you hear about some startups raising a few millions over an idea without any business model... (e.g. come to mind the young though very popular Path and Flipboard: $2.5M for the former, $10M for the latter, and I imagine valued in the same range as Borders for these rounds)
I know that comparing web-startups to a brick-and-mortar business is not as simple as that, but it does put things in perspective.
"As Borders Group Inc. asks publishers for leniency on paying bills, the bookstore chain has been in discussions with restructuring advisers about ways to rework its debt-heavy balance sheet"
Borders is Walmart with inky paper. It offers little more than what you could get online at a fraction of the cost.
Shopping at locally owned book stores in Boston & Cambridge adds value to my life because they have unique cultures & offer unique experiences. (Has anyone here been to the basement of Brookline Booksmith or the tiny room in Rodney's Books on Mass Ave?)
Bookstores are as important to Boston as jogging along the Esplanade, chilling in the Common, coffee shops and bars.
That said, the way it did go with respect to Amazon and Borders is quite fascinating, especially with the market cap and per-store statistic.
Browsing Amazon isn't actually much fun. And the Borders stores always seemed packed. What gives.
I will never understanding stock markets and valuation of publicly traded companies.
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