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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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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

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