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Eight Misconceptions About eBooks

Reading will hurt my eyes. eInk technology is designed to alleviate eyestrain. Because it refreshes only when the page is turned, there is no constant motion as there is with a computer screen to cause eye strain. It can be easier on the eyes than a paper book, particularly the thin pages of the mass market.

It’s too expensive. It doesn’t have to be. With the arrival of digital libraries, one can have the freedom of the ebooks without the cost. There are other, hidden costs with paper books. First, there is the storage issue, a bookcase that runs around $200 can store a few hundred books. An ebook reader can store 1,000s. One reader mentioned that she had to downsize her book collection with each move. It was the ame for me. One of the driving factors for buying ebooks was the fact I had culled my paper book collection ruthlessly to prepare for a big move. Over time, I’ve rebought many books that I had purged and frankly spent more money  replenishing  my book collection than the cost of an ebook reader. I’ll never have to do that with ebooks.

Further, you can read on your computer, smartphone, and other multifunction devices. My first ebook reader was a PDA. You can get these from eBay for under $100.00

I’ll miss my paper. There is tactile feedback you get with turning a page, but I don’t miss paper. I don’t miss the mess, the towering to be read pile.   I don’t miss the  unwieldy  nature of the hardcover or the tight bindings of the mass market.

Authors won’t make as much. Currently, ebook royalties for print authors are higher than print royalties thus ebook sales often can generate more money in the pocket of the author than a print sale.

It will mean the end of books. Again, we have to decouple the Digital Presses like Ellora’s Cave and Samhain have been in business several years (EC almost a decade) and their authors have made money and the presses have continued to put out books. EBooks are just a different method of delivery.

Digital books means an increase in piracy. Not releasing a print book in digital format does not prevent it from being pirated. Case in point is the Harry Potter series. Scholastic and JK Rowling has refused to release an ebook version of the books. This doesn’t prevent the spread of digital copies. Within a few hours of the last book’s release, a team of pirates had scanned, ocred, proofread and released a digital copy onto the internet. John Grisham has so far refused digitization. No matter. His books are also downloadable.

Geographical Restrictions mean less books internationally. Overall, no. No bookstore can stock every book that is available in ebook format. There is simply not enough physical space for such a huge inventory. Bookstores have to pick and choose. The benefit of an ebook store, even with geographical restrictions, is that more books can be made available to an individual readers.   For example, there are a number of Harlequin books that are available virtually worldwide in ebook format but not in print because those books are not in print anymore (particularly the category books).   There are definitely problems with the geographic restrictions but on the whole, there are likely more digital books available in ebook format to all readers in more places than there are print books.

Ebooks will destroy reading culture. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly what the reading culture is. I don’t attend a book club but I have been to library events and lectures by authors. My ebook reading device has never prevented me from interacting with other readers or with other authors. Ebooks don’t reduce my ability to be part of a reading community. You can even stand in line to get something signed by a digital author as many did at the RT convention. (I confess that I find the quest for the author autograph to be somewhat of a mystery).

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

53 Comments

  1. SarahT
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 04:13:19

    Geographical Restrictions mean less books internationally. Overall, no. No bookstore can stock every book that is available in ebook format.

    Amazon and The Book Depository do a pretty good job of it, though, at least from my perspective. There are most definitely more print books available to me than ebooks.

  2. Edie
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 04:20:22

    I would argue though geographical restrictions are limiting on the majority of mainstream releases, which is why my ebooks are limited to the smaller epub presses.
    We get jack romances released in Australia, so I have to stick to paper books which can be imported from the US, which thanks to postage it is a lot smaller an amount than what I would be buying if I could still get ebooks.

  3. SarahT
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 04:41:15

    @Edie: Does The Book Depository offer free shipping to Australia? If so, they’re worth checking out. As I live outside the EU, I’m subject to import tax on goods over a certain value. The free shipping enables me to order in smaller quantities and avoid paying tax.

  4. sarah mayberry
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 05:15:02

    I would like to dip my toe in the ereader pool and do a few laps, but there’s precious little choice for those of us down here in Australia and New Zealand. Sony don’t sell the ereaders down here, and Kindle is also out because of the inability to log in and download stuff on the 3g network or whatever it is. Which leaves us with the other ereading devices that are out there, which no one really seems that thrilled with. Plus there aren’t a lot of places selling ebooks down here yet. I hope this changes soon because I am about to move house again – internationally! – and have managed to amass quite the collection in the two years I’ve been in NZ. Where the hell they’re all going to fit when we get back home is going to be a very interesting question…

  5. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 06:01:15

    I’m in the UK, and no Kindle. I’m of the opinion that what will really win is the multipurpose device. I still read on my iPaq 4700, or my Asus MyPal, which I slip into my purse with a loaded SD card, it’s just so convenient. And I love and hug my ebookwise at home, but I’m looking greedily at the new pocket Sony and omg the Asus, if it comes to pass.
    I want color and a backlight, which is why I’m hanging on. Barely, but there you go.

    Anyway, I’d add for me anyway, a big advantage is the availability of backlist. I’m a latecomer to US romance and one of the frustrations to me ten years ago was not being able to get hold of books that were touted as wonderful, but not offered in the stores. I had friends scouring the USB’s for copies of beloved series. And the postage was awful.

    Recently, the only continuity series I’ve done, the Richard and Rose series, has been reissued by Samhain. You wouldn’t believe how many emails I’ve had from readers saying how nice it is to have the whole lot back up, because it’s best read from the beginning. And sales are picking up all the time. It’s the same for the Pure Wildfire series, although each book in that is a standalone. People coming to it late can still pick it up.

    If I want to catch up on books I’ve missed in a series, ebooks means I can. And for me, that’s great. I can also get the books I want, which aren’t always available in UK bookstores on the day of release.

  6. Angelia Sparrow
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 07:28:40

    I’d much rather read on my reader than on a computer. I’d rather read it than most kinds of paper. Sometimes, I like paper, but I find the reader more comfortable for lines and bed and the recliner than a paperback.

    I make 35-40% royalties on ebooks. I make 5% on print. The only advantage of print is wider distribution to people without computers. (yes, there are still some)

    I like ebooks. I like print books. Not giving up either one.

  7. ecci
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 07:31:23

    @Lynne – omg, you have an Asus MyPal? I have one too, on permanent sleep since I got an iPhone. I was wondering what I could do with the Asus because it was a good friend for years.

    @ Sarah – the iPhone is has multiple ebook readers in one device. It’s not perfect but you can read any eformat on it without being stuck to a Sony or the Kindle.

  8. CD
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 07:40:46

    I work overseas so ebooks are a GODSEND – no more carting an entire suitcase just for my book collection. I use a Cybook, which although not perfect, generally works well and does what I want it to do. So there are other good ebook readers out there apart from Kindle ;-).

    Regarding geographical restrictions, you can get round these pretty easily. For Books on Board, I found just changing your country on your personal settings works even if you then go on to pay by paypal (with a UK registered card!). For Fictionwise, again change your personal settings and then just use micropay credits to purchase the book. Or else pay by credit card with your billing address as per normal except putting the country as the US. This works because the country on your billing address is not checked by your credit card provider.

  9. SarahT
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 08:17:00

    @CD: Jane linked to a post earlier this week regarding Fictionwise closing the loopholes which have allowed non-US residents to get around the geographical restrictions up to now. It’s in her ‘Friday Midday Links: To Heaven and Back Again, the Ebook Saga’. Here’s the article Jane linked to: http://www.teleread.org/2009/09/18/fictionwise-forced-to-impose-geo-restrictions-on-already-bought-book-lit-agents-unwittingly-promoting-piracy/

  10. Sandy James
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 08:17:45

    Currently, ebook royalties for print authors are higher than print royalties thus ebook sales often can generate more money in the pocket of the author than a print sale.

    Definitely! Even my agent was pleasantly surprised at the amount of royalties my publisher pays on ebooks over print. Although I was offered the ebook contracts before she took me on as a client, she reviewed them for me and gave me a thumbs up.
    I’ve tried to convince friends and family of the value of ebooks, both for them with the lower prices and for authors in higher royalties. I’ve gotten through to some; others prefer their print. Change takes time. I’ve learned to enjoy ebooks because of writing. Since I spend so much time reading what I’ve written on a computer, it wasn’t too much of an adjustment to read ebooks. I don’t own an ereader, but I don’t need one. My laptop works just fine.

  11. CD
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 08:27:15

    @SarahT: Well, I just bought a geo-restricted book through Fictionwise a few days ago so it still seems to work. Oh well, we’ll see… If not, there’s always BoB and (last resort) Mobipocket.com who don’t seem quite as eager to enforce territorial restrictions.

  12. AnimeJune
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 08:32:24

    Wow, I sound like an old geezer (I’m 23) but while eBooks sound like an excellent alternative for others, I just prefer print. No batteries. No loading time. No viruses. No freezing. I can just pick one up and open it. If I drop one in the bath I can still read it (plus, if I can’t, I’m only out one $10 book, not a hundred-dollar reader)I dont’ have to buy a player to read them. I like bookcases and the way the beautiful covers look in my house – I believe Stephen King said that books aren’t just books, they’re also furniture. I like having a physical library, it’s pretty!

    Plus, I like physically holding books – the tactile experience is pretty big for me. I like the weight and feel of books. I also prefer physically browsing for books in stores than online (although I do go online to get specific titles).

    Great post, though – while it eliminates a lot of the preconceptions, it still doesn’t change how much I love print books.

  13. Sandy James
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 08:39:02

    @AnimeJune

    Plus, I like physically holding books – the tactile experience is pretty big for me. I like the weight and feel of books. I also prefer physically browsing for books in stores than online (although I do go online to get specific titles).

    Many of my friends feel the same way. And there are quite a few times I’d prefer to curl up on the couch with a book instead of my computer. The nice thing is, as Jane pointed out, print will always be around. My “keeper” shelf sure isn’t going anywhere. The only new thing is that I have a “keeper” file on my computer too.

  14. Gayle
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 08:55:58

    I feel sentimental about print books too. My entire childhood was about lugging books back and forth from the library and curling up with them in my bed.

    As I have had to cull my collections ruthlessly when I move every couple of years, print books have become an annoyance in many ways. I’ve had to choose between good and great books.

    I now walk into a bookstore and can’t bear to buy a print book if it is available in e-format because I know someday I may have to say goodbye to it. I am a full ebook convert with my Sony Reader.

  15. LauraB
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 09:14:48

    I wonder if there was the same debate when reading culture moved from the scroll to the codex (i.e. “book”)? : )

  16. Poppy A.
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 09:55:38

    I don’t have an e-reader of any type, but then I don’t even have a cell phone either :) I really can’t afford one, plus I read in the bath a lot and I doubt an electronic device will be very happy if I drop it in the tub.

    I like books and I don’t really see that changing. I do like the idea of not having to find a place for all my books, but I don’t like the idea of having an e-reader then having it break and not being able to replace it and then not being able to read my books :(

  17. Janine
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 10:06:45

    @AnimeJune: by AnimeJune September 20th, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Wow, I sound like an old geezer (I'm 23) but while eBooks sound like an excellent alternative for others, I just prefer print. No batteries. No loading time. No viruses. No freezing.

    AnimeJune, I used to feel as you do — when my PDA was my e-reader I always preferred paper books. But now that I have an e-ink device, and the print is sharper and there is no glare or eyestrain, I would just as soon read e-book. The space-saving is a huge benefit when one lives in an apartment. In the nine months I’ve owned my Sony, I haven’t had a single virus and I think it only froze on me once. Also, to correct a misapprehension, there’s really no loading time to speak of on the e-ink devices. At least with my Sony, I just slide the slider and the text is there instantly.

  18. brooksse
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 10:07:55

    I began reading ebooks on my laptop and started thinking about a digital reader when I got tired of lugging my laptop around the house while reading. The clincher for me was having very limited access to my ebooks when a hurricane left us without power for a week.

    The majority of the paper books I bought were paperback. Now that I have a Sony reader, I don’t miss paperbacks at all. What’s to miss about covers that fall off or pages that fall out when a book is poorly made? Or the yellowing of pages as the book ages. And since I bought most of my books from a used book store, no more musty smelling books or books with stained pages. Not to mention the occasional paper cut.

    I no longer have to find something to use as a bookmark, or try to figure out which page I was on if the bookmark falls out. And I no longer have to choose which 2 or 3 books to take on vacation or on a business trip.

  19. Statch
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 11:00:07

    Lynne Connolly: I love your books! I’ve just bought all the Richard and Rose series, and the Secrets series, and I would never have found you if it weren’t for ebooks.

    The only print books I read now are backlist books I just have to have and can’t find in ebook form. I hope the publishers all take note and get busy digitizing backlists so that I can pay them and the authors for the books instead of paying the UBS owners. (I do also buy nonfiction books like gardening and animal books in print form.)

    I buy a lot more books now, because I can read them wherever I am so I end up reading a lot more. And I love being able to read in bed without turning on a light. (I do read in the tub; I just put the reader in a ziplock baggy.) I have eye problems so the ability to increase the size of the font when I need it is huge.

    I read on an iPod Touch. (I want an iPhone so bad but don’t get AT&T service well at my house.)

  20. brooksse
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 11:21:27

    I now walk into a bookstore and can't bear to buy a print book if it is available in e-format because I know someday I may have to say goodbye to it. I am a full ebook convert with my Sony Reader

    I’m also a total ebook convert. I do all my book shopping online now, so I won’t buy it if it’s not available as an ebook.

    Authors won't make as much.

    In my case, authors are pocketing more money from me. I admit to shopping around for the best price I can find, which probably means less to the author per individual sale. But since I only buy ebooks, the author gets a royalty for each book I buy. Before ebooks, it was mostly used books for me. If there were no used copies available, I might buy a new copy… or I might wait for a used copy to become available. So the only time an author made any money were times I decided I didn’t want to wait for a used book to become available.

    And new-to-me authors… those were almost always used copies.

  21. Leslie
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 11:51:37

    Like many of the others here, I became a total ebook convert when I received my first Kindle in April 2008. I could go on and on about the many wonderful features but probably the best is being able to read a positive review of a book that sounds like something I would enjoy and seconds later, have it on my Kindle to read. Absolutely amazing. I also really enjoy finding books from indie authors or small publishers that I never would have discovered in a million years in paper versions. My Kindle has me reading voraciously, back like I did when I was a teen.

    L

  22. Marsha
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 13:09:58

    @brooksse:

    What's to miss about covers that fall off or pages that fall out when a book is poorly made? Or the yellowing of pages as the book ages. And since I bought most of my books from a used book store, no more musty smelling books or books with stained pages. Not to mention the occasional paper cut.

    Well, right. But to my mind, moving to e-books simply replaces this set of problems with another, more expensive and irritating set of problems.

    When DRM and format issues are resolved there might be something there. Until then, I’ll continue reading my 5-8 paper books a week enjoying their no-battery-required, drop-able, single-format and permanent ownership features.

  23. dark
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 13:13:42

    eInk technology is designed to alleviate eyestrain.

    not everyone has enough disposable income to be buying ebook readers. If I buy an ebook I read it on a computer screen. So it’s not a misconception for me it is hurting my eyes.

    Ebook readers are expensive, not everyone has disposable income to be buying ebook readers even second hand. Then we factor in the constant charging costs, it all adds up.

    As to digital restrictions fictionwise et al are clamping down on all the loop holes. People who bought books are suddenly finding that they cannot access their books. There is a very long thread on the mobile reads forum about this.

    If anything is going to kill the ebook market, other than the price of ebook readers and the battery life – it is this stupid enforcing of geographical restrictions. And this is before we get into the stupid drm nonsense that is going on. I have three programs on my pc to remove drm.

  24. Jessica G.
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 13:41:30

    @dark, what do you mean by battery life killing ebook readers? They on average last two weeks on a single charge.

    I was one of those who thought I would miss paper books. I don’t at all. I get so absorbed in reading, I don’t notice it. Now I prefer my Sony, since I can do fun things like lie on my side.

  25. dark
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 14:44:55

    averages are funny things. How much is that in reading terms? Is that two weeks as in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Or is it one hour a day?

    ETA: have the batteries improved since this?
    http://thinkwrap.wordpress.com/2007/09/19/experiment-with-sony-reader-battery-life/

  26. hapalochlaena
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 15:26:00

    My personal experience with battery life on the Sony PRS-700: I use it 4 to 5 hours a day, seven days a week. By the end of the week it still has about 1/4 or 1/5 charge left (I forget how many charge bars there are). This is when I use the USB cable/computer method to charge the reader.

    When I use the wall charger, the reader’s behaviour changes a bit: it lies about the state of charge. For some reason the battery can’t maintain the charge as well with this method, so I reserve the wall charger for travelling and use the USB/PC method by default.

    ETA: I never use the backlight.

    Fictionwise has backed down on the additional verification thing, and I managed to buy some books using Micropay on Friday. I have no doubt that the day will arrive when all the loopholes are gone, but when that happens I have other e-retailers to give my money to.

  27. brooksse
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 15:34:29

    @Marsha:

    It’s true, there are advantages and disadvantages to both electronic and paper formats. I guess it all depends on which set of advantages you prefer, and which set of disadvantages you are or are not willing to put up with.

    For me, it’s the convenience of having my entire TBR list on one reading device, and having all the ebooks I own stored on my computer. Of having a book with me wherever I go. Of being able to take a few minutes to shop around online for an author’s backlist, instead of driving around town to new and used book stores, and then maybe having to order off Amazon anyway when I couldn’t find them anywhere else.

    Plus I keep some hardbacks on my bookshelf, but mostly I have two boxes under the bed that are used to store books. When the bookshelf or boxes would fill up, I had to decide which books to give up to make room for more. So buying in paper format rarely meant permanent ownership for me. And on more than one occasion, I was tempted to re-buy a book or a series of books because an author wrote a later book that made me want to re-read something I had traded in. Now I can store many, many more books on my computer and my reader and never run into the problem of having to decide which books to give up and which ones to keep.

    So for those reasons, I’m willing to put up with DRM as well as the fragility and expense of the reader. I can understand why others would feel differently, because when they weigh the advantages and disadvantages, they’re looking at it from a different perspective.

  28. Angie
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 15:42:17

    You can even stand in line to get something signed by a digital author as many did at the RT convention.

    I have to ask — what the heck are electronically published authors signing at those conventions?? I mean, sure, you could always bring an autograph album, or have them sign the convention program book. But there’s something cool about a signed book. Short of burning the e-book to a CD-ROM and having them sign the case or something, I’m not getting how this works.

    Angie

  29. Evangeline
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 16:04:11

    I’ve read more since test driving the Sony Reader than when I didn’t have it, and relied upon getting to Borders or my local used book stores. Having an eReader, however temporarily, has also widened my reading horizons. Where before I glanced wistfully at books released by Samhain or Cerridwen or TWRP, and tended to not read because I no longer found what I wanted in brick-and-mortar stores, I have a large and varied roster of authors to choose from. It’s amazing to go to an ebook-tailer and drop the latest Eloisa James in the same basket as Ann Lory. Granted, I can’t return an ebook or take it to my local ubs for credit, nor are long OOP romances available in e-format (here’s to hoping that will change), but my advocacy for ebooks is not really about its convenience–it’s about the existence of a secondary fiction market that is filled with new and exciting voices that may not fit into the landscape of traditional publishing for the present.

    As for the price–I’m far from wealthy, which is why I leaped at the chance to be chosen by SBTB to test-drive the Sony Reader. But now that I have used it for the past 45 or so days, if I had to purchase one brand new, I now consider it worthwhile. No more darting from bookstore to bookstore to book section hoping the books I want are in stock. No more mess beside my bed from all the books in my TBR pile. No more leaving the bookstore/section empty-handed because I forgot what I wanted to buy. No more juggling of a book during my loong and packed subway commute. And so on. Yes, the price is pretty steep, but as a voracious reader, having an eReader has allowed me to indulge in my bibliomania to its fullest.

  30. Marsha
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 16:34:53

    @brooksse:

    So for those reasons, I'm willing to put up with DRM as well as the fragility and expense of the reader. I can understand why others would feel differently, because when they weigh the advantages and disadvantages, they're looking at it from a different perspective.

    Yeah. I would like to share your perspective, because I do understand (maybe envy is a better word?) the value and pleasure you’re receiving. It works for you and I think that’s great. I just can’t quite make the benefits outweigh the challenges, especially when it seems to me that I’d be incurring extra expense and hassle for something that I wouldn’t actually own (I’m talking about the books here, not the reader).

    Then again, I’m a late adopter in just about every way. Maybe I’m just wired to let all you technology-forward folks work the bugs out for me. Thanks for that!

  31. Sandy James
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 16:50:33

    @Angie

    I have to ask -‘ what the heck are electronically published authors signing at those conventions??

    For my first booksigning (@Lori Foster’s gettogether), my publisher wasn’t sure my paperbacks would be ready in time. I had postcards and bookmarks with my cover art printed so I could sign those. They’ve come in very handy. Luckily, my publisher came through and I had plenty of “real” books to sign as well.

  32. etirv
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 17:39:58

    This is very useful information for me, thanks!

  33. Lori S.
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 17:46:14

    Sorry, but I still prefer print. After working on computers all day, the last thing I want to do is read from an electronic device. *shrugs* Maybe it’s just me, but there are times I preferred to be “unplugged,” and reading for pleasure is one of them.

  34. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 17:58:57

    @Lynne – omg, you have an Asus MyPal? I have one too, on permanent sleep since I got an iPhone. I was wondering what I could do with the Asus because it was a good friend for years.

    Well the MyPal has a great screen – 480 by 620 I think, so the resolution is high and it’s lovely as an ebook reader. That way, I’m not overburdening my phone’s battery, and the screen’s bigger, too.

    I can see that changing in the near future, if Asus come up with their new reader, or I decide I want the new Sony Pocket reader.

    @Statch:

    “I love your books! I've just bought all the Richard and Rose series, and the Secrets series, and I would never have found you if it weren't for ebooks.”

    OMG thank you! It’s strange, just as I start to write a new historical romance (Corin’s story) than I get lots of people writing to me and saying they like the books! It’s absolutely the best encouragement in the world.

    @dark:

    “not everyone has enough disposable income to be buying ebook readers. “

    I bought my PDA’s on ebay at a very good price. Now smart phones are all the rage everyone is selling their PDA. I also have an ebookwise, which I love, and that was under $100. I’ve saved that on bookcases and shelf space.

    @Angie:

    “I have to ask -‘ what the heck are electronically published authors signing at those conventions??”

    Cover flats, and postcards. I do a set of postcards for each series, and my publisher provides cover flats for me to sign, and I have bookmarks, too, with the book details on them. All the publishers have a stand at the end of the hall, where you can, if you wish, buy the book there and then and upload it to your device. Mind you, at the last Romantic Times, one of my publishers, Samhain, gave away cloth totes, and we were signing those, which I thought was a lovely touch.

  35. brooksse
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 17:59:47

    @Marsha:

    I don’t really consider myself an early adapter for most types of technology. (Which is odd since I work in IT and most of my colleagues are early adapters.) My computer, cell phone, and digital camera are pretty middle of the road, no bells & whistles. My newest TV is 7 years old, and I hardly ever use my DVD player (which I got dirt cheap at Walmart). I think because I don’t splurge on other things, technology-wise, I allowed myself to splurge on the Sony reader. It’s the exception rather than the rule.

    Regarding the ebooks, I do consider that I own those. I bought them, downloaded them, and keep copies on my computer (and backups too!). So I do consider them mine. The only thing Fictionwise, Books on Board, etc., could do is take away my access to re-download the books. They can’t delete the files from my computer, my reader, or my backup files. And I buy mostly PDF or ePUB files, so the format will be portable. But even if those formats become obsolete, I figure as long as I have copies of the files, I’ll find some way to get access to my books. I guess that’s my IT background kicking in ;-)

  36. Ann Bruce
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 19:25:02

    Haven’t read through all of the comments so I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this advantage yet: An e-reader is the best friend a germophobic bibliophile can have.

  37. Kaetrin
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 19:28:39

    I had a recent problem with geographical restrictions at Books on Board. I had changed my country of origin to the US but when I went to pay with PayPal my actual address showed up and the sale was blocked.

    I bought a gift card via PayPal and then in a separate transaction I went back and bought the book I wanted. (A stroke of genius I thought!) (If you are from Books on Board, delete this post from your memory banks – This. Never. Happened. – *Jedi mind trick*)

    I feel no guilt for doing this. I could (albeit for more money and taking a great deal more time) have ordered the same book in paper format quite legitimately and had it imported. I wanted it electronically. The author still gets her money and the publisher gets their cut – I think it is a much better option than pirating the book (which I also could have done).

    I would like it if the digital rights could be worldwide so I don’t have to go to such lengths, but I don’t feel I’m doing anything wrong in trying to actually pay for a book I want to buy.

  38. DS
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 19:51:43

    @Lynne Connolly: Yorkshire was free on Amazon about a month ago. I started to read it the other day and am enjoying it. I appreciate your research, especially since I have just disentangled myself from a historical mystery written by someone who should know better that I referred to as CSI: 1811.

    Prior to the impulse that led me to buy my Kindle I would have been talking about how I enjoy hard copy books, liked to read in the bath, don’t like to read on a screen, etc. Now I am a total convert due to combination of convenience and ease of use.

  39. Melisse Aires
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 21:28:18

    I prefer ebooks but will read library books when broke. The hardbacks feel so clunky!

    I read on a pda, purchased quite reasonably from ebay. It has an sd card so can hold my entire ebook collection. I actually have 2 cards, one is for back up. My house is small and all the bookshelves are filled, so this storage solution helps with clutter.

    I love the pda, it has a backlight and an autoscroll function so I can prop it up against a pillow in bed and read while keeping warm during the Wyoming winter. I pop it in a ziplock and read in the bathtub all the time–that is one of my favorite stress relievers!

    If I’m broke, there’s Gutenberg and Baen free library, plus different ebook publishers do frequent give aways. I’m planning on getting to know the digital libraries, too.

    I’m studying for an exam and was delighted to find the study guide in pdf!

    I do work on a computer all day, plus I write on computer so I’m familiar with eye strain. My pda does not strain my eyes like the computer and with the changeable contrast, color and text size I can get a comfortable screen in different light.

  40. ElizabethN
    Sep 20, 2009 @ 22:00:38

    “Over time, I've rebought many books that I had purged and frankly spent more money replenishing my book collection than the cost of an ebook reader. I'll never have to do that with ebooks.”

    OMG, this is so true. I have probably purchased the equivalent of 2-3 ebook readers alone over the last decade as I have given away then replaced books as I moved long distances for school, work then marriage. I’m currently down to about 1000+ fiction books doublestacked on 4-5 bookcases in addition to the even greater quantity I’ve purchased for the ebook reader. Currently I’m probably replacing 1 paper Keeper with the ebook version in between every 25-50 new ebook purchases (Gotta love the instant gratification of finding a new author and being able to buy most or all of their backlist as soon as you finish the first book).

    The sad part is that my conversion of fiction keepers from paper to ebook will be cheap compared to what my husband will potentially spend to replace his 10+ bookshelves of nonfiction reference books or my 2+ bookshelves of reference books – many of mine are already ebook. Fortunately we have a little time to save up money as the main publisher of his references isn’t going to start adding ebook versions until sometime next year. I keep telling myself that converting and buying ebooks is cheaper than paying the moving charges on 100s of heavy boxes of books.

    Sorry for the long winded comments – the typing equivalent of babbling as work today wore me out. Going to go read instead.

  41. Annette Gisby
    Sep 21, 2009 @ 08:36:05

    When we were on holidays in the US last year, we happened to go into one of the Sony stores and a saleswoman was demonstrating the Sony Reader and asked if we would be interested in trying it. My husband laughed. “Try it? She got it the first day it come out!”

    True, I had been waiting on tenterhooks for the Sony Reader to be released in the UK and I think it’s been about a year now. I love it. John jokes that I can’t be more than ten feet away from it :) I’ve had over 200 books on there at one time, and there was still lots of memory left. So far I haven’t needed an extra storage card.

    I still read paper books, but I will look for ebooks first and if it’s not an ebook then it will take me longer to decide whether or not to buy a paper one. Rapidly running out of bookcase room at the moment.

    take care,
    Annette

  42. Leeann Burke
    Sep 21, 2009 @ 08:49:21

    Annette,

    If the price of the Sony reader were lower your post would have convinced me to pick one up. I read my ebooks on my different PDAs over the years. I live in Canada so we don’t get Kindle and I can’t order ebooks from BN, but I have made ARe and Fictionwise my best friend over the years.

    Does this mean I no longer read print books? No, if you saw my to be read piles you would understand. However if I can save money by purchasing the ebook then I do, but if the print and ebook are the same price I usually walk away. I believe there should be a difference.

  43. Estara
    Sep 21, 2009 @ 15:49:29

    @CD:

    I found just changing your country on your personal settings works even if you then go on to pay by paypal (with a UK registered card!)

    That used to work for me at the beginning (I’m German) and then it no longer did. But I still get a lot of books anyway, it seems only some of the major publishers enforce this. And of course the epublishers don’t mind if I buy their books in English.

  44. Eva_baby
    Sep 21, 2009 @ 19:13:12

    @Lynne Connolly:
    Well one good thing about e-books is that I discovered your RIchard and Rose series. It was a free download on Amazon. I got it and read the first one in almost one sitting. Without the free download and my kindle I never would have discovered what to me is now a five-star read. I immediately went out and purchased the second (Devonshire) and fourth (Harley St.) On Amazon in e-format — yet another plus — in that they aren’t available yet in re-release in paperback. Weirdly Amazon doesn’t have the third one (Venice) in e-format so I had to go to Fictionwise and get that one. So I credit my e-reader with helping me discover a new author and a series that I am gushing about!

  45. Mari
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 00:21:40

    So I'm slow on the uptake…I just realized last week that Macmillan was charging almost double for their ebooks. I guess it's because I don't usually buy them online since they always come out later then the paperback. What is it with this publisher? Such poor customer service.

    Fellow ebook romance readers…I am making a plea for us to stand in solidarity against the price gouging of Macmillan. According to this article I link below, romance readers continue to be a dominant force for publishing. And according to another blog on this site, publishers are concerned about business? Then why insult the readers by attempting to charge double? Are we consumers really buying these ebooks at the higher rate? I hope not. We should be boycotting and send mass emails to publishers like Macmillan…and I’m spreading the word. I'm concerned that it will be a trend that will be supported by other publishers. I got my reader because I read a lot and it's incredibly convenient for me. Now, I'm being punished for not killing trees and wanting to carry 20 books around with me wherever I go. Since I've purchased my reader I actually buy more books and the thanks I get…the insult that they expect me to pay almost double.

    Only WE CONSUMERS can fight this and we have to make our voices heard in mass.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/books/08roma.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=books

  46. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 10:26:43

    @DS:

    I love research. I just bought half a dozen new books, and I’m reading them voraciously, which of course, is always the problem with writing the historical romance. But if the author doesn’t love doing the research, getting their characters into the mindset of the time, perhaps she’d be happier writing something else.

    @Eva_baby:
    Just – thank you. That giveaway has really helped sales of all my historical novels. But having people tell you they enjoyed it? Priceless.

  47. Statch
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 13:04:47

    >45: Jane (bless her) has actually written a lot about ebook price gouging. (Here’s a link about MacMillan in particular: http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2008/12/07/the-ebook-tax-some-publishers-want-hardcover-prices-to-be-ebook-pricing-standard/ )

    I’ve written to the publishers myself about it, and have a personal policy of refusing to buy from the publishers that price their ebooks above the price of the paperback. (I won’t even buy the book used unless I just really, really want it.)

    I’m always left wondering why the publishers do it. Can they really think it’s a viable strategy? Is there something I’m missing here?

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  49. Rick H
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 00:35:12

    I dislike e-books because of the potential for censorship, even after a book has been purchased. Case in point would be the recent Amazon “1984” debacle.

    A version of the book was released in error and purchased by a number of Kindle users. When the error was discovered, the texts were deleted from the Kindles of purchasers -without their permission or knowledge-, unless they happen to be accessing the text at the time.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html

    This is bad enough, but it points to more dramatic issues regarding text on Kindles. It wouldn’t take a science fiction author to come up with thoughts of history texts being revised without a Kindle owner’s knowledge. And if Kindles and their ilk truly become pervasive, there will be few moldering older editions in attics maintaining a link with the past.

    Ebooks are, simply, dangerous in their current state.

    -Rick

  50. Angie
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 00:39:38

    Rick@49 — that issue isn’t with e-books as a whole, though, but with the Kindle model in particular. I agree with you that Amazon’s ability to access and delete (and presumably modify) Kindle books after purchase sucks rocks, and is one of a number of reasons why I don’t have a Kindle and don’t want one. A plain, unsecured PDF file downloaded to your computer, though, is safe from vendor meddling, and since it’s easily backed up it’s easy to guard against crashes and such.

    Angie

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  52. Jane
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 09:02:54

    @Rick H Just to reiterate what @angie said, this is unique to Kindle right now because Kindle is hooked up to the WhisperNet at all times. I think it’s completely wrong for Amazon to enter someone’s Kindle and delete a book because Amazon can’t police its bookstore better but I don’t think that it means that all ebooks are dangerous.

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