Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Paper Plus Poll

If you could buy a digital copy of a print book for only a couple dollars more, would you buy the print book?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Harper Studio  is toying with the idea of offering a coupon code for the download of a digital or audio book with the purchase of a print book.   HarperStudio is the new “experimental” publishing arm of HarperCollins.   Most of their 2009 releases are celebrity books, but the idea of the Paper Plus purchase intrigues me.   

I would not buy a paper book and then use the coupon to get a download of a digital book. I just want the digital book.   FOR THE MOST PART.   There are definitely some books (particularly picture books) where I might like to have both print and digital but for my everyday fiction, digital only please.


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. GrowlyCub
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 19:42:25

    Absolutely, I would pay a couple of bucks more for a print book if that means I’d get the digital copy, too. But only if it’s DRM free.

    While I have run out of shelf space, I still want the paper feel and have bought paper copies of pretty much every book I liked that I originally read via the TN online library.

  2. Leah
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:13:03

    I would go for the promotion. But as to choosing digital or print in the scenario you gave, it depends on the book and what I wanted it for. If it was just for enterainment and I was going on vacation or didn’t want to have to store it, I would go ahead and buy the digital. If it was a book that I planned to keep forever, I would buy the hard copy. As a rule, though, I don’t want to pay more for digital than I do for hard copy, and I pretty much don’t want to pay more than $5-10 for an e-book. I have paid a little more but that was because the e price was half that of the hard copy.

    Honestly, when I buy a Kindle book, I am going for the instant, guilt-free gratification, and I don’t want to have to wonder what’s in the bank. If I have to think about the price, I am not going to buy it.

  3. Jinni Black
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:30:50

    I’m still not on board with the digital books and e-readers. Seems expensive compared to the cost of books. And one of the best parts of reading a book is giving it away and sharing with friends.

  4. Laura K
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:31:51

    No, no, that’s backwards. I would buy the digital and use a coupon to buy the paper version (which I would be happy to order directly from the publisher). I don’t want “keepers” on an eReader, I want them on a bookshelf. But the digital copy would give me a chance to read the thing first and decide whether I wanted it. I wouldn’t buy it for the full digital and full print price, but offering the coupons would eliminate the paper waste and shipping waste and all the other waste, because once I used the coupon I wouldn’t be able to return the book.

  5. theo
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:35:03

    I’d take the ‘buy the book, get the coupon’ but only if the coupon could be used on any book. Not a digital download of what I’m buying in print. And only if it was DRM free/universally formatted (which isn’t going to happen anytime soon…

    And did anyone else see this today?

    Just thought it was a bit ironic in light of the recent discussions.

  6. Kat
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 20:44:46

    Until someone provides an ebook format I can actually use (ie: no DRM), I’m still buying paper. Given the break-even point on getting an e-book reader and enough e-books to justify its acquisition, I’m also more interested in files I can read on the table I already bought for portable computing, or my laptop. So again, no DRM, and a widely-supported format that isn’t shackled to Windows.

  7. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 21:01:57

    Other: Go to Borders, copy the coupon codes from the back of the books, go home and download free digital copies?

    (My real answer is digital only—I don’t want two copies of one book.)

  8. Edith
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 21:03:02

    I don’t have a reader so no, I wouldn’t buy the digital. And I see no point in having 2 copies.

    I personally see no point in buying an e-book. Generally the cost the same or slightly less than a print book. I can’t sell it if I don’t like it and recoup my costs. I can’t lend it to a friend (assuming DRM here). So I find them pretty useless.

    I could change my mind if readers AND ebooks came down in price. Then I could be tempted. But I don’t see it happening soon.

  9. MaryK
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 21:09:41

    Um, I don’t understand the poll question. (Sorry, it’s late and I have a headache.)

  10. Jen O
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 21:13:24

    I like Laura’s idea. I want to use ebooks as an inexpensive way to find new authors and explore new genres. If I love the ebook I will happily buy a print copy, if for no other reason than to share with friends.

    But I’m not going to shell out more money for a digital copy of a book I already purchased in print. That just makes no sense to me.

    Now, if the print book comes with a coupon for an ebook version with added content, I’d be all over that. Author and editor commentaries, illustrations and book cover variations, bonus scenes that didn’t make the final cut . . . I’d pay extra for things like that.

  11. Kerry Blaisdell
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 23:35:53

    I’m a little confused, also. I initially read the promo as a coupon for a *different* print book. Why would I want two copies of any book, in any format? Unless I was going to gift one, but still.

  12. GrowlyCub
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 00:09:12

    Why would I want two copies of any book, in any format?

    I can’t speak for others, but I love having two copies. The paper copy because I love the tactile experience that reading is and the digital copy for when I’m on the road.

    Naturally, that’s tied to being a voracious re-reader (I just re-read Balogh’s ‘The Secret Pearl’ and ‘A Precious Jewel’ for the 6th or 7th time in a year and could just start all over again, they are so good. :)

    For folks who do not ever re-read, having more than one copy doesn’t make any sense, but it works beautifully for me.

  13. Nixy Valentine
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 03:12:38

    Since acquiring my Sony Reader, I never buy print books unless it’s a must-must have that isn’t available as an eBook. With the number of books I read each month, I think I’m personally responsible for saving a couple acres of trees in 2008.

    So, although I think this is a good promotion, as it will introduce more people to the eReading experience, it wouldn’t really do much for me. I simply don’t have any available bookshelves.

  14. Marianne McA
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 05:07:32

    LOL. I’m with Mary K, and I’m not sure I understand the question. Do you mean would I buy the digital copy bundled with the print copy if I could?

    In general, I wouldn’t want more than one copy of a book. Buy it, read it, pass it on: a second copy would go unused. If it’s a keeper, however, be nice to have it in both formats. I reread a lot, and be nice to have a selection on my ereader of people like Heyer, Bujold and Wodehouse, so there’d always be something in the handbag I could happily read.

    So, if I was replacing a keeper because it had fallen apart, and there was a copy bundled with an ebook for a little more, I’d buy it and enjoy having the book in both formats – but other than that, I wouldn’t pay extra for a second copy that would probably never be read.

  15. Leah Braemel
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 07:10:02

    I tried to vote Yes on the Poll link but kept getting a dialog box telling me to choose a valid poll answer. Go figure.

    I often buy a digital book first and then fall in love with the book so much I go out and buy the print book later so I can read it in the tub or wherever. So yes, I would be tempted to spend a couple bucks more at the same time.

  16. Sandi M
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 08:13:45

    Isn’t giving a digital copy with the physical DVD what Disney is doing with some of their movies?

    I would love to get an digital copy with a print copy, especially if it included extra content, like the stuff you can find on some author’s websites about the book.

    I don’t like reading more than one book at once but I prefer to read paper so that’s what I buy. Also having a digital copy and being able to read the same book where ever I am without having to carry it would be great.

    I don’t have a reader now and before getting one it would have to be easy without making me feel locked in to something that may not carry forward. Beta VCR, anyone?

    I also won’t pay the same or more for just a e-reader version. At least with a book I have something physical to share, trade or even return if it really sucks. And there is no way anyone can convince me that it costs the same to produce a bunch of digital bits and it does to print a book. I really some expenses are the same but paper, printing, shipping & warehouse space has to cost more than digital bits stored on a server. I’m pretty sure you can buy even a great big server for a lot less than a warehouse.

  17. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:18:57

    Not sure I properly understood the question as phrased.

    I would prefer to buy a digital book (reserach books excepted), but I’m not willing to pay MORE for the digital book than the print copy costs (the question seems to be asking if I’m cool with paying a couple dollars more for digital and the answer is NO).

  18. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:21:45

    D’oh, this is what I get for only reading the poll. But the answer is still NO. I do not really want multiple forms of the same book. The whole point of buying ebooks is to save me from clutter (and from having to lug all those books with me when I move).

  19. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:42:05

    For me it would depend on the author. Some authors I want in both formats just because when I’m out of town, it’s a lot easier to haul around several dozen/several hundred books on an ebook reader and I like having faves with me when I’m going to be out of town for a while.

    Other authors, it would just depend on the format I first saw when I saw the book. If one catches my eye in borders, I’ll the print. UNless I love and adore, I’ll only buy the print. Same with the Sony ebook store/Mybookstoreandmore/etc… if a title catches my eye, unless I really, really love it, I’ll stick with the digital copy.

  20. Gail Carriger
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:27:29

    Seems like a better idea to offer a free coupon code for a digital teaser for the second book, or for a short story by the same author.
    I voted “other” because I would only buy the print book, but I’d love to be able to download and check out teasers of other books by the same author, to decide if I wanted to buy them as well. Especially if preview information isn’t already offered on Amazon.

  21. Joy Roach
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:54:16

    My “other” choice.

    I have no preference. I am not interested in owning both print and ebook copies of one title. I want whichever one I can get immediately. So, if the digital copy costs a few dollars more but I can get it right now and say the bookstore doesn’t have the title, it’s the digital dealer that gets the sale.

    If both print and digital copies are available and it’s one of my favorite authors, I’ll buy the print. If the author is unknown to me, I’ll buy the digital copy , that way I wont waste shelf space. :)

  22. Keri M
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 19:19:43

    I haven’t made it into the digital ebook phase of my life as of yet. I still love carrying around my paperbacks wherever I go. Dinosaur that I am. :-)

  23. Angie
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 23:02:28

    I actually prefer print books. I’ve bought newly-available print editions of books I previously had in electronic form, but I can’t see a reason to go the other way. If the e-book (was priced reasonably and) came with a coupon for the hardcopy for $2 more, I’d probably go for that.


  24. amberwitch
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 06:33:23

    I don’t want ebooks at all.
    I am always so disappointed when I read reviews here, and then realise the books I want are only available digitally.

    To me a book is a physical entity made of paper. I gladly pay to own it, often I’ll even pay more to get a ‘better’ version (hardcover vs. paperback).
    I would never pay for an ebook.

  25. karmelrio
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 09:13:21

    My “Other” is buy the print book and not the e-book, regardless of the e-book’s price.

    Like amberwitch, I’m greatly disappointed when I read an interesting review only to find that the book is only available digitally – but not disappointed enough to buy an e-reader.

  26. Jane O
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 10:35:37

    The extras you talk about seem to be mainly promotional material and ads. Even if I had a reader, which I don’t, why would I pay extra for advertising?

  27. lw
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 12:57:14

    I only buy an ebook if I can’t get it in print. Print is my preferred format for now. And I certainly wouldn’t want BOTH a digital and print copy of the same book. If the deal was “buy a print book, get another title in digital” I would consider that …

    I agree with several of the other responders. I don’t have a reader, because of the cost and because I’m waiting for items from all publishers to be available in a standardized format and without DRM restrictions. When publishers get their act together and make it more convenient to read digital than print, I’ll be there. Until then, forgetaboutit …

  28. canadacole
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 14:33:38

    As someone who dearly loves a print book and does not read e-books (yet?), this seems like a smart marketing deal to me, as I might actually become converted to e-books if I had a few to read. (Or Oprah were to give me a Kindle). I might be tempted to try e with my print if the price were right (but if I already read e, I don’t see why I’d also want to pay for the print).

  29. Jen O
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 21:22:36

    @Jane O:
    I’m the kind of person that spends the extra money for the “Special Edition DVD with extended scenes and cast interviews” whenever possible. I could probably find the same extras on youtube or Entertainment Tonight, but I don’t want to look for them. I just want to have them.

    I don’t read ebooks because I love digital readers. I’d much rather read paper and ink books. Publishers have not begun to tap into the potential ebooks could offer because they can’t imagine why anyone would want anything more than a DRM protected text file.

    I want something more. Maybe illustrations of major scenes, or wiki-style links in the text of the story to character backgrounds or author research that would normally be pace-killing info dumps, or a peek behind the curtain to see how the writer crafted the story. This is just off the top of my head. Imagine what creative individuals with financial backing could come up with?

    The first publisher that stops treating ebooks like print books and starts treating them like a completely separate type of media will have a huge advantage in the market.

%d bloggers like this: