Monday, September 20, 2010

Digital, Not Paper, Please

As we drove away from Books-A-Million for the last time, I turned to my wife and said, "I don't know how many more paper books I'll be buying in the future." My wife and I had a good chuckle at my comment and I didn't give it much more thought for the rest of that day. But in the following days, I reflected on that comment and began to wonder just how true it was.

There are pros and cons for both sides of the argument about digital versus paper. But I'm going to look at this from a purely selfish standpoint right now. I'm not looking at what I can collect, even though I have a collector's heart. I'm not thinking about how impressive my book collection appears, even though I love it when people visit my home and say, "Wow! That's a lot of books." And I'm not going to focus on being able to pass something down to my children, although I want my kids to enjoy the wonderful books I've discovered (I still can do this electronically, I guess).

I'm looking at the pure economics of this. I don't see why I should pay $7.99, $9.99, $12.99, or $15.99 for a physical copy of a book, when I can by the e-book version for anywhere from $2.99 to $5.99. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I'm interested in the story. That's it. Not collecting, not displaying, and not passing on. I just want to read the story. And you might say, "Wait, you have to buy the e-reader first." Yes, I do. But I can pay around $150 for an e-reader or I can spend an extra $300 or more on buying the paper versions. (This is based on an average $3 in savings per e-book for 100 e-books. I've seen some only $1.00 cheaper and I've seen some $10 cheaper.)

So from a purely selfish standpoint, I think I will say, "Digital, not paper, please." Now don't get me wrong, I'll still probably stop by the used bookstore from time to time, and if a paper copy of a new book is cheaper than the e-book, I'll buy it. But for me, right now, it just doesn't make economic sense to choose paper.

Just a quick note about my first "real" book giveaway. If I get 100 followers on Twitter, I'll randomly pick one of my followers and send them a new copy of Jeff Strand's Dweller. See? I told you it would be simple for you to have a chance to win a "real" book. And if you haven't read this one, you're in for a treat.


author Christa Polkinhorn said...

Yes, I am more or less a convert from paper copies to ebooks as well. There are certain books, such as art book with colored photos, that I definitely want in paper or hard back. And I still appreciate certain paperback or hardback novels with a beautiful cover. I did my own book both as ebook and paperback with CreateSpace because I wanted to see it and hold it in my hand.
So, I guess, I still like both, but I've been buying a lot more books since I have my Kindle reader because they are so much cheaper. I can try out new authors and new books and if I don't like them, I did waste a lot of money and can even delete them! Much more environmentally friendly, too. And they are so much easier to take along on a trip.

Neal Hock said...

I agree with you, Christa. I probably came off as a bit harsh towards paper books in my post, but they will continue to be a big part of my life for a while to come. I have over 700 of them that I still need to read, so that's plenty of years of enjoyment. But like you said about e-books, I can try new authors and if I don't care for them, I'm not out much.