One reason I invested in an ebook reader is because I myself am selling ebooks. [Shameless plug alert]: Superior Justice is available from Amazon in both published, and Kindle forms; it is available from Lulu.com/revth both in bound/printed and ebook formats. However, until I bought my ebook reader I had never actually read an entire book electronically. I figured it was only right, if I was selling a product, to try that product out. In fact, it’s a little like when my wife made her first CD album. We didn’t own a CD player until we got the studio rough mixes for that project on CD.
Another reason I bought an e-reader is because I’m tired of using up valuable suitcase real-estate with bound books. Generally, whenever I go anyplace for a couple days I have my bible and a devotional book – both are generally on the larger, heavier side of hardbacks. Then I often take three or four additional books – a few novels and some non-fiction topic that I’m interested in. Since I try to keep my “luggage footprint” small (usually small enough to carry on an airplane) I end up with half of my space devoted to books. The e-reader absolutely changes all of that.
In the few weeks I’ve owned my reader, I’ve read half a dozen books or so with it. My conclusion is that the people who want a paper-book because they like the look/feel/smell etc are a bit like folks who would turn down factory-fresh M&M’s because they came in a ziploc bag instead of the retail packaging.
The point is not the packaging. The point is the contents. And the contents of an ebook are exactly the same as the contents of any other book: words.
So are bound-books going away? You tell me what you think. I don’t think so, but I think they will diminish. Again, it’s a little like the music industry. CD’s slowly replaced cassettes. One of my original objections to a CD player was that I’d have to buy my old music again if I wanted to listen to it in CD-quality audio. CD’s were more expensive than tapes. But eventually, that all faded away, and I hardly own any cassette tapes any more. Not only that, but the CD revolution itself is almost a memory, and I probably purchased my last CD several years ago.
It’s true, I already own a thousand or more bound-books (even though my wife has worked diligently for years to cull books we’ll never read again). I probably won’t buy them again just so I can have them on my reader. But going forward given similar pricing, I’ll be buying ebooks.
What about libraries, you ask? Check back next time, when I talk about specific types of e-readers.