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Have eBooks Changed Your Buying Habits?

Have eBooks Changed Your Buying Habits?

ebook hoarder

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Jaclyn emailed the DA reviewer group the other day with the following question:

I got into an argument on Twitter with another publisher about buying ebooks and now I want to know what other readers do…

With print books most of us have towering TBRs. Books we’ve bought and never read. Is the same true with ebooks? Do you buy more ebooks than you read?

I don’t. I just add stuff to a wishlist–an unpurchased TBR–and I buy when I’m ready to read. I have maybe three unread ebooks I’ve purchased (out of hundreds) versus I have hundreds of unread print books I’ve purchased over the years.

What about you? Are you like me? Buy ebooks when you’re ready to read them? Or do you buy ‘em when you hear about them and forget that you bought them?

This doesn’t include ARCs or freebies. Stuff you purchase only.

I thought the responses were interesting that we could share them with the DA Readership and then ask you readers how you feel about it.  In chronological order of response:

Jane: I purchase many books “on sale” that I haven’t read yet.

Jia: Yeah, same. I have lots of ebooks I haven’t read yet.

Shuzluva: I purchase when I’m ready to read. Otherwise I have a running wish list.

Lazaraspaste: I be broke. But even before I was more prone to wishlist then purchase.

Dr. Sarah: I tend to buy, skim, and then reread if I like it. But I count it as “unread” if I just skim it, so I *feel* like I have a bunch of unread ebooks. But honestly, I get most of mine now as ARCs/review freebies, so many more unread because of it.

Janet aka Robin: I buy more than I read at the moment. Sometimes it’s because I’m afraid I’ll forget, but mostly it’s because I like having a constant selection of books I haven’t read, so I can scan through them to see what I’m in the mood for at any given time.

Jia: This is mostly my thought process too. I like scanning through my collection to find something that suits my mood. If something doesn’t… I go buy something else. That’s how the ebooks pile up. So to speak.

Robin: OMG, that’s exactly it! I will scan through my books, and so often I think, meh, I want something else, and voila, I have a new book I’m reading and all the unread ebooks. Although I’ve also gotten some great hits off the books I’ve DLd and then not read for possibly months. It all depends. But since I tend to be a hoarder when it comes to books, I think this will always be my pattern.

Sunita: I have plenty of unread ebooks. More or less than print, I don’t know. I’ve frequently bought print books in bunches when I’ve been browsing in bookstores; some I read right away, some go into the home library and get read later or not yet (I won’t say not at all because I’m not dead yet and that’s the real cutoff).

I buy them from recommendations, on sale, whatever. I wishlist books but not as often as I should.

And like Jia and Robin, I’ve gone back to read something I bought months or even a year or two ago and loved it and wondered why it took me so long. Or started over on a book I wasn’t in the mood for the first time and had a great read.

So for me at least, the platform hasn’t changed my buying/reading/shelving habits that much. Sales on ebooks function like UBS purchases did in the past; I have a lower threshold for the purchase, and I buy more.

Ebooks just mean I have less plastic bins under beds and in the garage. :-)

Lazaraspaste: I will also add that for awhile I was running a Rescue for Lost and Given Away Romance Novels, which I would accrue in bulk at library book sales and USB’s. I had to stop myself from doing this because I was acquiring teetering piles of paperbacks.

For whatever reason, I just don’t seem to be doing the same thing with ebooks. I generally read the ones I buy right away. Even sales of ebooks are more expensive than USB’s or library books sales.

I am finding that I am definitely one for whom the materiality of the book does matter, even though I love the instant gratification of the ebook. Ebooks and even mp3′s feel a little bit too ephemeral to me. I like things I can touch and own. So that’s definitely changed the way I buy when I buy ebooks.

John: While I haven’t broken out the debit card yet to start purchasing in e – YA is mainly print, so e hasn’t been something I’ve gotten used to yet – I have downloaded quite a number of freebies because of the UBS mentality Sunita was talking about. I’m much the same way. I’ll buy a few books in the store – either one or two full priced ones or a few clearance ones – and in the UBS and at yardsales/flea markets the numbers go through the roof.

I’m just a book hoarder. I like having a choice every morning when I get to pick a new book. It makes finding one you’re in the mood for so much easier. Though, I know of people who have ereaders and buy as they need them – and the ereaders have increased their book purchasing because the bookstore is right there. I’d say that more casual readers have the as-I-need-it mentality, and that would make e-book buying increase in general.

Jayne: Count me in among the hoarders too. If it’s on sale, I’ll get it now. Or if I think I’ll forget about it and the store doesn’t have a wishlist.

Jia: Another reason why I get the books on sale right away is because sometimes those “sale” books are really just inputting mistakes by Amazon. That’s who I got a bunch of Agency ebooks last year for free because whoever was entering those books into the system was somehow inputting them as free. But those are gone within a day or so once Amazon realizes the mistake.

Jennie F: I don’t tend to buy ebooks as impulsively as I do print books. The ebooks I have tbr are mostly freebies – like some others here, if I buy an ebook it’s usually with the intention of starting it right away. I think it might have to do with what someone else said about tangible v. non-tangible possessions (though heaven knows it should be the other way around – I had to move a bunch of books around this weekend to make room on my shelf for my betta fish, whom I brought home from work in preparation for being out for a week plus).

So where do you fall?

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Dear Author

Reading with Android – Mantano Reader

There are a lot of reading apps out there for Android and everybody has their favorite one be it Moon +, Cool Reader, one of the many store apps (Kindle, Nook, etc.) or the well known Aldiko.  A new app, called Mantano, has jumped into the fray with both feet and quickly become popular among many users.  A friend of mine described it as ‘better than Aldiko with much better PDF support’, not a bad recommendation.

While Mantano if fairly new to Android devices the folks behind it have been developing reading software for ePaper devices for a number of years and you can tell that by the refined feel of the Android app.  Mantano requires Android 2.1 or greater and supports both regular Adobe Adept DRM as well as the password based variation used by Barnes & Noble.  The full version is available from the Android Market, Amazon Appstore, AppsLib and SlideMe for $4.99.  The Android Market, AppsLib and SlideMe also have a full featured 7 day trial version so you can give it a workout before spending any money.


Upon launching the app you’re presented with your library.  Library view can be customized for viewing with options for a simple list, a detail list or cover thumbnails only in three different sizes (list and detail also show small cover icons), cover thumbnails in all views have a graphic in the corner telling you if it’s an ePub or PDF.  Books can be tagged from detail view or also by tapping and holding on a book to bring up its detailed information.  The library can be sorted by Title, Author, Rating, Date Added and Date of Last Access. At the bottom of the screen are menu options for ‘Syncronize’, ‘Explorer’, ‘Filter’, ‘Views’, ‘Search’ and ‘Settings’.

‘Syncronize’ will search your device for compatible ebook formats (ePub & PDF).  You’re presented with a list and you can select all or put a checkmark next to each book you want to add to your library screen. ‘Explorer’ offers you a file browser as another way to import books.  ‘Filter’ lets you filter the books seen by all books, authors, tags, publishers and formats. ‘Views’ lets you switch between the library viewing options described above. ‘Search’ can be used to look for a book in your library when you have a long list to look through. ‘Settings’ is where you enter your Adobe ID and also has options for the Library, Reader and Lexicon (under the Lexicon option you can download various dictionaries).  You can also turn on expert mode which hides button titles and get access to tips, help, a way to submit requests and download a user manual.

Across the top of the library screen are tabs for ‘Library’, ‘Lexicon’, ‘Notes’ and ‘Bookfinder’.

‘Lexicon’ can be used a couple of different ways and it seems to me it would be most useful for a student or perhaps someone learning a new language.  The way it works is if you highlight a word and look it up either via one of the three default web based options (Google, Wikipedia and Wiktionary) or via one of the ten downloadable embedded dictionaries you can also add that word, along with it definition if using an embedded dictionary, to your personal lexicon for later reference. The dictionaries that can be downloaded are English, English-German, English-Spanish, French, English-French, French-English, Spanish-French, French-Spanish, English-Polish and Polish-English.

‘Notes’ give you quick access to all your notes.  Notes can be sorted by creation date or title, filtered by type and location and also searched.  Another useful feature is that you can also use the notes area as a notebook to create either written or drawn notes that are unassociated to a specific book.

‘Bookfinder’ connects you to a way to look for books (both free and pay).  It’s associated with the Bookari website  where you can create an account to customize things such as preferred language (although when going to preferences I kept getting an error).  When you search your results supposedly come from a pool of more than 50 ebook catalogs including Barnes & Noble, but I found results to be incomplete at best.  Every author I searched for was missing books and sometimes specific titles returned no results, yet checking B&N shows that they are available there.  Also I found that after browsing for a while tapping a book started giving a blank page instead of the books details. When you do find a book you get a link that takes you to its source site for purchase or for free books from places like Feedbooks you’re given a download link.  All in all I found Bookfinder to be of little use, just like I’ve found similar things in other non-store released reading apps like Aldiko.  It’s just not a feature I’m likely to use.


Now on to reading.  ePub reading is pleasant and much like other reading apps.  Page turns are done by tapping or swiping and can also be set to volume button control.  You can create both written and drawn annotations, highlight in various selectable colors and change font size via a + or – style control or by swiping up or down on the page.

There are built in themes for default (black on white), night and sepia, but you can also create custom themes.  Custom themes include font (via a free downloadable font pack or you can add your own), line height, text alignment and margins (although sometimes margins fail to work, I’m assuming due to something in the CSS or Page Template of some ePubs overriding things).  Text and background colors can be set to anything you want via a color picker and there are also options to force bold and italic text.

The menu also has search and dictionary option and one thing a lot of readers don’t offer Text To Speech.  TTS appears to work pretty well, but as I’m not generally a fan of it I’m not likely to catch any big problems other might have (one nice thing is it works with the screen off so you can save on battery use).  Brightness can be changed by simply sliding your finger along the left border of the screen. You can also at any time access the books info including, if available, it’s description/blurb, bookmark pages and access the table of contents.  There is no two page mode in landscape like the Nook app has, but the developers have mentioned adding that feature in the future.

I found PDF reading to be great, and I can’t say that about most readers that handle them. Like with ePub you can annotate (both written and drawn), highlight, bookmark, use TTS, do dictionary lookups and search.  There are also options to fit screen, fit horizontally and fit vertically and can also custom fit the PDF with the crop tool. You can also zoom and pan the PDF or switch it to reflowable mode and read it more like an ePub. In a PDF with columns a double-tap on that column will cause it to fit to the screen. I generally find PDF reading painful in anything that’s not a dedicated PDF app like EZ PDF or RepliGo, but for me this app can replace the need for a separate PDF reader.


Overall Mantano is one of the best reading apps I’ve ever used and has replaced Aldiko for me.  It’s my go to reader when I’m not using something like Kindle for Android.  While it’s not perfect I find the willingness of the developers to not only listen to, but implement requested features a sign that it will get nothing but better in fact they fixed one problem I found before I even got this review finished and posted.  At $5 some will consider it expensive in the world of free apps, but I’ve found it to be well worth the money.


Below is a Youtube video of Mantano running on and Archos 7 (from the developers)…