Friday, October 9, 2009

The eReaders are coming...

So, word is out that very soon Barnes and Noble will have their own eBook Reader available for purchase. No news that I've heard as to price but there are plenty of rumors of various cool things it might do (although none of them include finishing WRITING my current WIP, so for now I'm holding back my unbridled enthusiasm).

Anyway, this news was of particular interest to me on the heels of Ninc last weekend where there was a LOT of talk about eBooks and what their growth means for authors. Right now, excuse me if I mentioned this already, people tossed out numbers of 1 to 5% of the total book market being E. But with expectations of that going up to 50% in the next five years.

And what does that potential growth depend in large part on?

An affordable eReader.

So, I'm curious. How cheap would be cheap enough to send you off to buy your own reader? And if price isn't your major holdup, what is?

For me actually it's the whole format thing. I don't want to buy a reader to find out six months later my books are obsolete or don't work on some new reader I want. I also don't like the no forward thing. I share books with my mom a lot. If I bought ebooks in any volume I would want to be able to continue to do this without feeling like a book pirate. Oh, and then there is the price of ebooks. I can't get over feeling an ebook should cost less than a normal book. And if I add that all together--possibility of books becoming obsolete, not being able to share them and them costing the same as a print book--I just can't see why I would want to buy a reader just yet.

How about you?


Jessica Kennedy said...

I have a Kindle 1. I paid $399 for it. Obviously price wasn't an issue for me, and I was comfortable with the price of the Kindle Edition book price, so long as new releases didn't go over $9.99 or cost more than the physical book, which I do find quite a bit and stop and say WTF? Seriously!? Don't buy it and continue on to the next book in my want to read list.

I also don't have an issue with the DRM or format. I'm very comfortable with my decision to go Amazon versus Sony or any other brand. I'm very comfortable with and do not foresee an issue with format going forward.

I think it's great that the price for the Kindle has decreased by $140 since I bought mine. But guess what? I've saved more than that in my ebook versus physical book purchases. :)

I would love it if ebook prices were $5 or less because where's the "value" in an electronic copy of the book?

I can talk Kindle talk forever so I'll just follow and see what other responses are collected.

Scott Romanski said...

I just purchased a Sony Reader Touch Edition. It wa $300, but i think it's worth it due to the expandable memory slots. I chose this one because it supported multiple formats, and the book are viewable/readable on my laptop if i choose. Currently, i only use it for books that are only available in e format. If it is in print, i'll get it that way. I do agree that if the publishers/manufacturers want the format to really thrive, the price must come down on the novels.

Venus Vaughn said...

My objections are similar to yours. Cost is keeping me out of the game right now, but even if I could afford an e-reader I doubt I'd get one because of the other things you mentioned.

No re-sale. No sharing. What if I drop it in the tub or on a hard floor? How many books have I lost? And how many back ups am I allowed to have of my files before Big Brother decides I'm pirating? What about obsolete formats / files?

Right now I can read a book from any library or bookstore. With an e-reader I have to go to a particular seller.

Holding paper in my hands makes me feel like I own what I have purchased. It's bulkier, and kills more trees, but it's mine.

I have never enjoyed cuddling up to my computer, and when I love a book and want to loan it to a friend to get her hooked on a series too, I'm sure as heck not going to loan her all 300 books on my e-reader and go without reading for the six weeks it takes her to pick it up.

And guess what? She's not gonna pick it up on her own either. So the poor author has lost the potential sale of her whole series because I can't (won't) loan out Book #1 on my e-reader.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the system still has a LOT pf flaws and it'll be a while before I'm convinced this is the way to go.

Lori Devoti said...

I have to wonder if eReaders are going to follow the example of other electronic devices or not. I mean they will eventually, but I kind of suspect there is a bigger gap between early adopters and others in the eReader market than say between early adopters with something like a VCR. The options before a VCR just weren't good ones...anyone old enough to remember old home movies? And you couldn't record anything on your own at all...or rent movies to watch at all.
On the plus side, you can get a ton of free, good books for eReaders. It is cheap for a publisher to offer an early book in a series to lure in sales for later books and readers benefit from that....
It will be interesting to see what happens.

PhoenixWitch said...

I have had a Sony reader for a year now and I absolutly love it. I do, however, think that being able to embrace the new technology depends on what type of person and what type of reader you are.

- I am a tech head at heart and love new technology. Seeing new and exciting electronics gets my blood pumping. I also will research multiple forms before settling on the one for me

- I keep a list of release dates on my computer so, the ability to get up the morning of a big release and download the book before the water for me tea has finished boiling, is a big deal for me.

- I am the type of book owner who owns piles of books that look like they have never been read. Therefore, I don't have much concern about the abuse that an ereader would take.

- I read paperbacks in about a day and lament the loss of so much paper for just a few hours enjoyment. I teach Science and love to imagine a world where my students no longer have textbooks but carry one reader thereby negating so much wasted paper (and strain on their poor backs).

- I don't travel very often but when I go home to my parents I love to have at least 5 books with me. Having the reader means I don't have to leave a great pair of boots behind in order to make room for my books.

The readers will not be for everyone. But if you fall into a number of the categories that I do, perhaps they are for you. "Real" books will never go away, but I am happy to embrace another way for readers to enjoy an author's work.

Lori Devoti said...

PhoenixWitch you make an excellent point. EReaders will be great for college students...except again for the no resale thing. That was a big deal when I was in college and I assume is still. Those books are expensive and if you can't resell them...
Hmmm, I really like the idea of not wasting paper too, but it just feels like the customer is carrying too much of the financial burden. And the author isn't making any more of the money either. Some goes to what third party distributors charge which can be a scary high percent--as much as 65 to 75%!
Something needs to give IMO.