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Why eBook Readers Won’t Reduce Sales

Joe Esposito, a very smart mind in the publishing and epublishing world, argued a week or so ago that the Kindle and its “kin” would reduce overall book sales. I admire Esposito and his thoughts about publishing but in this case, I find his argument to be, well spotty at best.   His argument is thus:

because the architecture and business model for the Kindle support a "buy only when you need it" frame of mind, aka "just in time" inventory management. In the hardcopy world, where many books (no one knows how many) are bought "just in case," the number of books purchased exceeds the number of books read. The Kindle will remove the excess, adding to the legions of misfortunes of publishers and authors.

The gravamen of this argument is that digital purchasers are less susceptible to the impulse buy. I would argue that the nature of the instant gratification of digital books actually makes the impulse buy occur at more frequent rates.

Esposito argues that a brick and mortar shopper will browse for a specific title that brought him to the store but may also buy another book that will grab his attention. The second book is for some future time. A distraction might encourage a third purchase. With digital books, however, there is no reason to purchase a book sooner or “just in case”. Instead, a digital book is always there, ready to be purchased when the book is ready to be read.

While I don’t have any numbers (neither does Joe), I do have both anecdotal evidence and some market studies of digital buying that show impulse buying takes place on the web just as much as it takes place in brick and mortar stores.

First, the studies. According to a study done by Jared Spool, a marketability consultant, 39% of all money spent at e commerce sites are impulse purchases. Spool gave money to 30 shoppers with specific purchases in mind and studied their purchases. 34% of the purchases added other items to their cart that were not planned. This represented 39% of all the money that was given to the shoppers.   Starbucks  has partnerd with Itunes  so that a consumer in the store can immediately purchase the song that is playing.   

Businesses are using new technologies to enhance the impulse buy so consumers can purchase their temptations whenever they want, wherever they are, before the urge passes.

The Times article suggests that digital technologies are being embraced because it encourages impulse buying which is what Esposito fears will be killed with ebooks.   The way in which Apple has been able to capture music sales is its seamless, non cash method, of selling.   

  The whole "buying" aspect of it is so well hidden from the user that you can happily download songs without the "I’m spending money" part of your brain kicking in to stop you. Several people have coined the phrase "iCrack" to describe the phenomenon. iTunes brought impulse buying to the next level.  

SB Sarah  says that buying a book via the Kindle doesn’t feel like spending money. I feel that way about my Fictionwise micropay account.  Commenter Jeff on Amazon says  “I am like you, I read the reviews and say “OMG I have to read that.” Then click that easy one click button. Before you know it I have bought 6 or 7 books. But I read alot and travel alot so can get through several books per week just sitting in airports and on planes! Love my kindle!”

Many other readers felt the same.   From the inbox, I had this response:

Jessica D:

I am significantly MORE likely to buy ahead on my iPod than in a bookstore. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into my local Borders in the past few months and walked out empty handed, especially with Borders’ recent stocking issues. But on my very first trip to Fictionwise, intending to buy one book, I actually bought three AND have four more on my wishlist, so I’ll remember what caught my eye this time, unlike on my trips to Borders, where out of sight is instantly out of mind.

Keishon

I read reviews online and reader blogs and when I see a book that I think I might like, I go look for the ebook and download it for future reading. I own over 300 ebooks at Fictionwise among other places and I have not read them all. My book purchasing behavior has not changed since I became an ebook reader. I still impusively shop. I still buy more than I read (which I need to curb). I pre-order books that are coming out soon. My point is that nothing has changed since I started reading ebooks.

From Mary K

That’s crazy wrong. I’m not an ebook convert; I still prefer paper. I read from my laptop instead of owning an ereader. Yet, most of my 86 book Fictionwise bookshelf hasn’t even been downloaded yet because I bought the books on a whim or on sale and haven’t gotten around to reading them.

What I found from the emails I have received and the posts I have read and the studies that are easily obtainable, is that there are many types of purchasers. There are those who are going to find the Kindle ease of purchase to be dangerous to their pocketbooks as identified above and there will be those who will change their buying habits to conserve dollars.   

T. Billings more accurately represents Esposito’s theory of the contracting publishing market due to digital books. “Knowing that this might be a problem with me, I’ve set out some rules for my use of the Kindle. I only buy one book at a time and do not allow myself to buy anothr until I’ve finished it. I will download the samples and read them, even possibly deciding to buy it, but I don’t actually do so until I’ve finished the last paid for book. ”

It seems to me, though, that impulse buying is more likely to be curbed by dour economic times than the “just in time” stock method of digital books.   Further, the publishing market analysis that Esposito engages in is only half the story.   

Esposito presumes is that each sold book in a retail store represents an expansive market for publishers. This isn’t true. A sold book doesn’t equal a kept book. Over 40% of hardcovers ordered by a brick and mortar store is returned to the publisher. Each sold digital book is a kept book. It cannot be returned nor can the book be resold. I read one statistic (can’t find link) that said a book undergoes 9 owners in its lifetime. Xandra D made the point to me via email:

[Esposito] neglects to figure in the huge costs involved in producing dead-tree books when he laments the occasional lost impulse sale.

For every book John Doe buys “just in case” there are three that don’t get sold at all (average rate of returns on physical books is somewhere in the 35% range, so ten copies of stock on the shelf means three of them won’t get sold for whatever reason). The bookstore then returns or remainders them (or at least, the covers) for full credit, which means the publisher takes a loss on them (production, warehousing, and shipping for a non-sale that generates no income).

I think that it is hard to say at this point whether Kindle and its kin is an industry killer or an industry diminisher or perhaps an industry grower. Alot of this will depend upon the retailer and how the retailer positions itself to upsell the digital customer to take advantage of the instant gratification that digital books provide. Publishers, retailers, authors should all be thinking of how to maximize the digital platform instead of fearing it. Change can be a positive thing and publishing needs to embrace it.

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

32 Comments

  1. Ann Somerville
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 06:40:21

    The painlessness – and therefore the iTunes-like appeal of ebooks – will give a huge boost to sales only if unit prices are kept down in the same way iTunes manages. At the moment, too many mediocre products from epublishers are priced above what I’d consider reasonable even for an excellent print book, and people aren’t so careless of emoney they won’t notice. They certain won’t fail to notice when the print and e-versions are almost identical in price either.

    Ebooks prices need to stay low, and I believe Amazon will do what they can to force them down. The challenge for publishers and authors is to keep enough of a margin to make ebooks profitable, but with the lower production costs, I’m convinced this should be easily achieved. Lower priced quality goods are going to be highly appealing even in a recession. Whether the Kindle is, considering its luxury price and limited scope, is another question.

    I didn’t buy Episito’s argument at all. I rarely buy books, but I’ve bought roughly five times as many ebooks as print book over the last ten years, not counting professional programming guides. I can’t see how ebooks can be a bad thing in any way – unless you’re an author looking for professional recognition from her peers, of course.

    Change can be a positive thing and publishing needs to embrace it.

    Yep, yep, yep. Your lips, god’s ears, etc.

  2. Teddypig
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 06:47:53

    I don’t get the argument that making something easier to purchase and enjoy makes it less likely to be purchased. When did anyone lose selling instant gratification?

    Plus I stopped buying new books years ago but I now have a whole shelf of new paperback books that I bought to have hard copies of my favorite ePublisher author’s eBooks. Which mind you are not cheap.

    Had to have my Josh Lanyon and J.L. Langley and Samantha Kane and Sarah McCarty eBooks on a shelf. Just had to.

    So his argument seems even less likely.

  3. Sparky
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 07:39:27

    I can’t understand why anyone would think ebook sales would suffer more than print book sales. Aside from anything else, print books mean (most of the time) going to a book shop. You have to PLAN to spend money. Ebooks don’t have that degree of planning

    I think the lack of anything solid at the end of it really gives the impression you’re not spending money. Handing over your card or cash really brings it hope that you are spending, naughty you. Clicky clicky doesn’t feel like spending. Also ebooks tend to come at a much lower price than print books. Even when you’re strapped for cash the thought comes “well, it’s only £3. That’s not going to break the bank.” And we say that even if we’ve bought 8 of them – because ONE MORE can’t hurt, right?

    I’d argue that, in these difficult times, the Brick and mortar shopper simply won’t be going into a book shop. I know I don’t when I didn’t have the time or money to read – because the temptation will mean I WILL leave with a book. But people will browse ebook sites even when they don’t WANT a specific title – and they’ll do it 3 or 4 times a week to check news, new releases etc. You can’t do that with a brick and mortar shop. And the ebook sites have all these lovely “people who read this will also enjoy this” and “Amazon recommends” (which ALWAYS catches me, damn it) links which are MUCH better at sucking you in than some random book in the same genre being shelved next to the book you want

  4. Karen Ranney
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 07:56:10

    Prior to getting a Kindle, I never bought ebooks. However, since my Kindle indoctrination and adoration I’ve bought 23 Kindle books from Amazon (15 fiction – 8 nonfiction). I’m on the computer 10-12 hours a day, and reading a paperback can be a challenge to my eyes. The great thing about the Kindle (and, I imagine, any ebook reader) is that I can vary the size of the type. So, I probably would not have purchased the 15 fiction books, even though I probably would have purchased the nonfiction.

    That’s only one consumer’s experience, but I can’t help but think that ebook readers will grow the industry.

  5. J L Wilson
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 08:58:22

    I read e-books before I was published as an e-book (and print) author. I’ve always preferred the instant gratification aspect of it — as you said in the article, “read a review, think ‘I’d like to read that’, download the book, and it’s there.”

    The thing I LOVE about the Kindle is downloading sample chapters. It’s similar to standing in the store and browsing through a book. I used to skim a book and put it back. Now I download a sample and just don’t buy.

    I introduced the Kindle to several people, all of whom have bought one and who subsequently introduced others, etc. etc. I spoke recently at a Literature Club (think Ladies of the Club — I lowered the median age by about 40 years). The elder ladies were fascinated by it. I handed out an information packet about ebook readers and several ladies said, “I know what’s going on my Christmas list this year!”

    These are elderly people who aren’t in a large urban area. They’d have to drive 40 miles to a bookstore, and that’s out of the question for them. Their kids will undoubtedly show the parent how to use the gadget, but the fact that the Kindle doesn’t require computer knowledge is great for the older set. My Mom loves hers and she’s almost 90.

    I think you’re right: authors (publishers, etc.) need to figure where this fits in their Game Plan. I love being e-pubbed for many personal reasons. My print releases are cool, too (two coming up this month, in fact), but I’m pleased to be in my odd little e-niche (mystery with romance with paranormal). I doubt I’d have found a spot in the Print World, but I’ve found a comfortable spot for myself in the E-world.

  6. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 10:20:45

    The other thing is space. I was seriously running out of room in my house, for piles of books littering the place. So when I bought new books I had to think about where to put them.
    Now I buy mainly ebooks, they go in the file on my computer. I have them filed by author, and because I have Vista, sometimes I’ll tag them, too, for genre. I don’t have to cram another book on the only bookshelf that has a bit of space, wonder which ones to throw out, or start another pile on the floor. I’m seeing my carpet again for the first time in years.

  7. azteclady
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 11:04:24

    Wanna know the main reason a Kindle is not even a potential ereader for me (if by some miracle I had the funds to buy one–those suckers are expensive)?

    That I can see myself, quite easily, racking up hundreds of dollars worth of books that I may take a year to read–thanks but not thanks.

  8. Kathleen O'Reilly
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 11:22:32

    What I’ve found is that I’m more likely to buy a NYTimes hardcover for the Kindle. I’ve bought about 5-6 non-fiction titles that I never would have paid hardcover prices for. Also, I download the samples for some straight more literary fiction and if I like that, I buy the book. I adored Water For Elephants and that was a book that I NEVER would have bought without my Kindle sample. I don’t know that I’m buying more books (probably), but I am trying some new things, and I KNOW I’m not spending any less money, most likely more. My book-buying wealth is being redistributed. :)

  9. Melisse
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 11:25:16

    I browse ebook stores and publishers several times a week as part of my ordinary net surfing. Going to the bookstore means getting dressed(I put on sweats the minute I walk in the door after work!) and driving to the mall to browse, which takes far more of my time.

    Like others here I love the wish list feature of online stores. If I hear about a book that sounds good I can quickly search it and post it to my wish list. For ease and convenience, ebooks win for me. If I have the money in my budget the book is just a click away! If not, the wish list is there to remind me.

  10. LinM
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 11:40:03

    I loved bowerbird's response to the original article:

    >> how crazy if the publishing industry depends on selling us books that we'll never read.<<

    24/7 availability means that I buy more ebooks. 10 years ago, when I finished work at midnight, I would scan my shelves for a book to re-read. Now I hop online to pickup a new book. I am spending the same amount of time reading but very little of that time is re-reading. As a result, I purchase more books (yay and ouch).

    The other factor is marketing. I don't live in the US and can't say anything about Amazon but Fictionwise offers time-limited 100% micropay rebates, new book discounts and rapid rebate programs, etc. There is an incentive to purchase books on the release date instead of “buy only when you need it”.

    And, there are other non-financial incentives to buy ebooks in advance rather than only when needed. It is easier to buy the ebooks on the front page – rather like the displays at the front of a brick-and-mortar store. It is more fun to buy ebooks when the online community is blogging about them. And I still need some ebooks in reserve is case of ice-storms, major power outages or server downtimes.

  11. RfP
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 11:54:38

    I love how diverse the market is: we all want to read and will do it by hook or by crook. These comments remind me of it because they’re the opposite of my life:

    Sparky: print books mean (most of the time) going to a book shop. You have to PLAN to spend money. Ebooks don't have that degree of planning…. But people will browse ebook sites even when they don't WANT a specific title – and they'll do it 3 or 4 times a week to check news, new releases etc. You can't do that with a brick and mortar shop.

    J L Wilson: These are elderly people who aren't in a large urban area. They'd have to drive 40 miles to a bookstore, and that's out of the question for them.

    I browse brick-and-mortar stores all the time, unplanned; it’s part of my commute and my social life. I take public transportation (prime reading time, paper or e-), and there’s a Borders and an indie (with coffee shops) close to my work stop and an indie (with bar) near my home stop. I also meet friends for a browse or a drink at the indie/bar; bookish or not, it’s a good spot to start or end an outing.

    There are loads of people with very different lives from mine, but there *are* some of us for whom the brick-and-mortar, and the flip-through-the book browse, are part of a lifestyle. As e-books and online stores get closer to that experience, I tilt more toward buying online. But I’ll still want to reserve some purchases for the social/lifestyle pleasure of wandering the store. For me, book shopping is like shoe shopping: sure I could order from Zappos, but it’s more fun to hit the shoe store with a girlfriend or two.

  12. ‘Why e-book readers won’t reduce sales’ | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home
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  13. ShellBell
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 13:06:16

    Since I started buying eBooks I have definitely increased my books budget. The great thing about eBooks is that I can have a TBR pile without feeling guilty about having a stack of paperbacks/hardcovers staring at me from my bookshelf. I continually see recommendations for new-to me authors on the various message boards and websites that I visit, hence my TBR pile now sits at over 150 books.

  14. kirsten saell
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 13:40:01

    What Ann said. What Teddypig said. What Sparky said. What pretty much everyone said–except Mr. Esposito, that is.

  15. EC
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 14:27:46

    This is an interesting thread; mainly because an e-reader is on my Christmas list.

    Yes, I’ve been fighting the purchase, because I do love my paper books, but . . . watching the trees fall in my home province, while discovering that most all of the titles I want are now available online, I’m sold on this technology. No Kindles in Canada yet though, so I’m leaning toward the Sony.

    I don’t know how it will affect my book buying habits–I do buy books on impulse–but I can’t imagine buying fewer books when they are so instantly available.

  16. MoJo
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 14:45:49

    I buy more books now than I ever did and even though I thought I’d never lose my love of paper, I’m now looking at my paper TBR with some trepidation.

    My hands have gotten spoiled with the convenience of one-handed reading, one-button push for page turns. My eyes have gotten spoiled with the convenience of reading in the dark (which is now my favorite way to read).

  17. Emmy
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 15:05:59

    Ebooks make it more likely that I will buy. I can shop at home when I’m up in the middle of the night, like I generally am. I’m usually asleep during the day, I don’t often make it in to a brick and mortar place to get print books. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve downloaded that I have yet to read. It was very near 100 at last count.

    I also have multiple copies of some books. If I really liked an ebook, I get it in print form as well.

  18. Tinabelle
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 15:49:01

    I can’t imagine why people would feel that ebook readers would reduce book sales. Doesn’t compute in my book. I have always been an avid reader and purchased a new bunch of books each month after reading online/print reviews, blogs, and message boards. Since I bought my Kindle in May, I would say that my buying has definitely increased. That one-click buy button is seductive and so easy to push! Being able to get a book instantly when the mood strikes is a great marketing strategy. And when I read a book that maybe is a new author to me or part of a series, I can immediately get more from that author or the rest of the books in a series. The sample chapters are great, too, especially for new authors. Plus, I no longer worry about storage space which was a real problem for me.

    I do not miss holding a physical book at all and find it comfortable and efficient to read on my Kindle. I recently read a hard copy of a book and kept thinking, “How awkward is this?” I am trying very hard to work my way through a large TBR pile that I accumulated pre-Kindle but it is tough. I admit to purchasing more than one Kindle edition of a book in my TBR pile, and I have methodically started to add Kindle versions of some of my all-time favorite keepers if and when they become available. So I am definitely buying more, not less, than I did in the past. My only frustration is that not every single book I want to buy is available in a Kindle format. I live for the day that is not the case!

  19. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 19:08:42

    I can personally say I’ve purchased fourteen new books and read most of them since my first Sept. 7 purchase. I’ve also moved all the Mobipocket books from my computer to the Kindle. That probably makes another twelve. And now my sister wants my old e-book reader, a Rebel 1100.

    I’m much more likely to buy a paperback book at the grocery, WalMart or from Amazon on line. Now if I see or read about something I’ll like, I head to amazon to download it NOW. Now that’s an impulse buy that doesn’t require my getting into my car, wasting gas and time driving to a bookstore.

  20. Jeff
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 19:27:59

    On the plus side, Internet marketers of e-books already have learned that many customers use much of the funds in their paypal accounts as “mad money” for buying other merchandise online.

    I certainly don’t think that e-book reading devices will decrease book sales, but I’m not entirely convinced that book sales will increase dramatically either. I think it might just be a shifting.

    Meanwhile, smart publishers will figure out how to add value to print books, particularly non-fiction, to encourage people to still buy print copies. There’s a lot of page layout and graphic design that enhances the reading of many of non-fiction titles that just cannot be replicated on Kindle.

    Book design is not important to everybody but will spur many to keep buying print books. (Alas, that’s a market segment that is less likely to comment on blogs, so they’re underrepresented in the online conversation on this topic).

  21. Kaetrin
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 19:35:25

    I don’t have an eReader yet (can’t wait until I don’t have to read ebooks on the PC…), mainly because buying one in Australia for a decent price is problematic. Are you listening Amazon and Sony???!!
    Anyway, I find I buy lots of ebooks, especially ones where I have read the review on this site. This is in spite of the fact that my TBR pile keeps growing – I’m scared to count but it must be over 75 by now….

    Also, if I want to try and author but find the author hard to buy in Australia, an ebook is a perfect way to go for me.

    I don’t see myself giving up paper entirely, but it sure saves on postage for overseas purchases.

  22. gwen hayes
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 20:18:58

    From Fictionwise alone, I have purchased 124 books since Christmas (when I got my ebookwise).

    I still read some paper, but not nearly as many. And when I get them, it’s usually an reviewer’s ARC or a freebie from a conference. Or from the used bookstore.

    I just still wish that I could buy an ebook that I could read on more than one device.

  23. Sabrina Jeffries
    Nov 02, 2008 @ 23:49:03

    I’m with you, Jane–Esposito’s argument is absurd. Impulse buying often occurs MORE online because purchasing is so EASY. I’ve been known to pick up a book in a bookstore, carry it around with me, and talk myself out of buying it before I reach the register. I seldom do that online. I don’t get the chance to change my mind. That stuff just sails right out of my shopping cart as if by magic! Too bad the bills don’t get paid as if by magic.

    But then I’ve never understood the doomsday people who say that e-readers signal the end to books.

  24. Karen Templeton
    Nov 03, 2008 @ 00:11:08

    Seems to me it would be a bit of a wash, actually.

    Print book sales have historically relied on impulse buys at point of purchase — online sales still don’t account for a huge percentage of print numbers, since that model doesn’t allow for the same sort of browsing experience as wandering through a brick-and-mortar store, or “just happening” to toss a book or three into your cart with the Tide and the frozen vegies. IMO, most online print sales are deliberate — you have a list of books, you go online, enter titles, buy books. Not so much room for impulse there.

    Ebooks are another matter entirely, inextricably wedded to the online experience. Those readers are far more apt to browse online, tossing ebooks into their “carts” with the same gleeful abandon as the print book diehard tosses Harlequins and Avons into hers. The Kindle and its ilk only make those gottahaveitnow purchases even easier.

    Truthfully, even with the Kindle, I think we’re in for a fairly long transitional period as we switch from primarily paper to primarily digital, for all the reasons discussed here and elsewhere. However, I’m not sure why an additional means of reading books would decrease overall sales. If anything, if a book is available in both Kindle edition and print, it should increase sales, especially from those readers who’re into it for the convenience factor, anyway. How it could be seen as a threat is beyond me.

    The larger, more successful epublishers have realized they need both print and e-formats to maximize sales, by giving readers more options; so the only way I would see sales slipping would be for publishers to abandon print altogether in favor of going all digital. That, at present, would be the bad idea to end all bad ideas. But perhaps the Kindle is the device to finally take the e-revolution from niche to mainstream?

    The next few years should be very telling.

  25. Sabrina Jeffries
    Nov 03, 2008 @ 09:23:57

    I don’t know, Karen, I’ve been known to impulse buy with print online, mainly because of the shipping policies. If I want only two print books, but I can get free shipping by buying three or something like that, I’ll certainly buy another book. I mean I’d rather have SOMETHING for my money. Also, the process of buying requires an act of will, but once I’ve made the decision to buy, I tend to buy in batches. I tell myself, “As long as I’m in there…”

    But maybe that’s just the way I think.

  26. Are E-books and industry killer?
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  27. Kay Sisk
    Nov 03, 2008 @ 10:28:24

    Even as an ebook author, I don’t see print sales falling off the slippery slope. An ebook sitting on a Kindle can’t be shared, so there goes my friend and I buying the newest hardcover from a favored author, passing it around, and then donating it to the library. Also, I’ll be stockpiling children’s books for my grandchildren and the sheer pleasure of sitting down with them to slowly turn the pages and share the wonder.

  28. Karen Templeton
    Nov 03, 2008 @ 12:24:02

    LOL, Sabrina — that’s true. Been known to go to bn.com looking for a book or two, only to add a book or two to get the free shipping. The difference is, in my case, I know at the outset I’m gonna buy $25 worth of books to get that free shipping. So while the purchases themselves might not be completely preplanned, the decision to spend that 25 bucks is. ;-)

    As opposed to wandering down the book aisle at Sam’s or Walmart and having books just happen to fall into my cart…

  29. cecilia
    Nov 03, 2008 @ 18:46:31

    IMO, most online print sales are deliberate -’ you have a list of books, you go online, enter titles, buy books. Not so much room for impulse there.

    Much of my online purchases (whether e-book or tree-book) start with Amazon recommendations – as in, I’m bored, so I’ll see if there’s anything new in that list, and then buy (though not usually from Amazon). I think lots of online stores offer just as much opportunity for browsing as a bricks-and-mortar store. And since I hate going to the mall, I rarely browse there, especially since it’s so unlikely they’ll have everything I might want in stock.

  30. SonomaLass
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 00:01:14

    I agree that browsing on line, whether for paper books or ebooks, is all TOO easy. There are”if you like this” or “people who bought this also bought” features on most of the sites where I shop, and it is difficult not to click. Free shipping for larger purchases is a big lure too — I’d rather spend $8 to get another book than $5 to ship the ones already in my cart.

    I would probably go crazy with the instant gratification factor of the Kindle. Knowing I have to wait a few days for a book I see on line gives me pause, and I can consider whether I could get it from the library instead.

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