Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Digital vs. Print -- How I Read

I was not one of the first people to run out and buy a Kindle. I resisted it. For a long time.

I've always considered myself lucky to live in a town with a fabulous bookstore run by intelligent people who know books and know their customers. I love being able to go to a store and pick up a book, study the cover, read the back, explore the first few pages. And I never want to lose that.

But I noticed something shocking this week. At least shocking to me. In the last year, the number of ebooks I've read outnumbers paper. By far. I think I've read maybe 15 physical books. By comparison, in the same time frame, I've read (gulp!) 75 ebooks.

How did I make such a drastic shift?

Blame it on the iPad. Being able to download books for Kindle, Nook, PDFs and Bluefire Reader makes it oh so convenient to read anywhere, anytime, any format. And where do I do most of my reading? In bed with the blanket pulled up over my head so I don't disturb my sleeping husband. I feel like a kid with my favorite novel and a flashlight. Only the iPad lights itself, and instead of one book, I've got hundreds. And now that I have an iPhone, I can also read while I wait for my kids, when I'm in line at the grocery store, on my lunch break.

And then there's the price. I read a lot of books from independent authors which tend to be in the $0.99 to 3.99 range. Not to mention the fact that most of these would never be found in a bricks and mortar book store. I do also buy Big Six books (often when they're on sale), and I've also been sucked into a series and shelled over the $8.99-10.99 for a book I just had to read. Even then, the digital book is less than a hard cover.

Even the library has contributed to my digital habit. Borrowing an ebook from the library is easier than a regular book because there's nothing to return. Once the time's up, it just disappears from my reader -- no more late fees! Hooray!

I never thought I'd move away from "real" books. My son still hates electronic reading and while my daughter is more open to it, she still prefers paper. When they pick up the iPad, they tend to open up Doodlejump or Angry Birds, not a book. But I wonder when that will shift for them as well.

What about you -- do you read more paper books or electronic books? How has that changed from how you read a year ago?


Laura Pauling said...

Your story is exactly like mine. I def. read more digital. My library has some great print books lately and I read the ones I want to. But I also download digital ones from my state library. And I've found some tremendous books b/t the 99-3.99 price point.

It happens slowly. You browse Amazon for the top books or ones you like or you see a tweet. But yes, slowly it happens. I read more now than I ever have before. And that's good!

Unknown said...

I'm the same as you and Laura. I've been downloading a number of SP'ed New Adult books (and some YA. Seriously, who can beat a $3.99 book that comes highly recommended?), and I have occasionally bought traditionally published ebooks (unless I can get them for about the same price in paperback). I still like hardcopy books, but I am starting to move more toward ebooks. It's so easy with my iPod Touch. I can take my books anywhere with me.

Kristan Hoffman said...

Ditto you, Laura and Stina, although I'd put my percentage at 60/40 in favor of ebooks, and the 40 is only because my writing group and I share so many books, and I'm the only one with an ereader. (They lend me books; I sometimes lend them my Kindle!)

I don't know what it means for the landscape of publishing and bookstores, but as long as stories and writers survive, I think it's okay. (And heck, maybe this will help stories and writers THRIVE.)

Annalisa said...

I'm still a print reader. My husband has a work iPad he brings home in the evenings and I could download books on that, but I still prefer the feel of a real book. I will read on my iphone when I'm out so I don't have to take a book with me (and I listen to audiobooks in my car), but at home I read print books exclusively.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm the minority. I still read print books because most are books I give away on my blog. I just was given a Nook and am going to start reading some books on there but will continue to buy books so I can share them on the blog.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Laura: I've actually bought a few print books after reading the digital version because I wanted to be able to share the story with friends. I don't know that I read more. I've always had a voracious appetite for books!

Stina: Er, what's SP'ed mean? I also like hardcovers, especially of my favorite books. But the low price point for ebooks makes me more willing to try out new authors, too.

Kristan: Most of the print books I've read this year have been ARCs or books I borrowed from friends. I have some hard covers that I bought that I've been waiting for Thanksgiving break to read since I'll have more daylight hours to read instead of work :)

Annalisa: I still love the tactile sensation of a paper book, too. I think if I didn't have to work and had more time to read during the day, I'd read more paper books than I do right now.

Natalie: I read a lot of ARCs so at least half of the print books on my list were ARCs. Which reminds me, I'm going to need to do a giveaway soon!

Marcia said...

I read way more print books. I'm getting a Nook for Christmas, but I expect it to be another way to read rather than a replacement way to read.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

And then there's the price. I read a lot of books from independent authors which tend to be in the $0.99 to 3.99 range.


Ahem. :) I read almost exclusively ebooks now, not on purpose (although you could be forgiving for thinking I'm not telling the truth about that) - it's just so much easier. I will occasionally spring for print, ironically almost always hardcover, because it's something I simply must have in paper form, or that's the only way that it's available. But I was shocked when a package arrived from B&N the other day, convinced my mom had sent me a present! Instead, it was a hardcover book I had preordered, that just released (I'd ordered it for research).

It's still sitting on my table, unopened. I'll get to it, but if it had been available when I first thought to order it, I would have read it already.

There's an immediacy to ebooks - their availability, the fact that you can get them on your phone when in line - that means I'm reading more and more all the time.


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