Books Versus E-Readers

Yesterday afternoon I wrote a post entitled, “A Knee-Jerk Reaction to Border’s Liquidation.” In light of yesterday’s news of Border’s demise, I have a few questions:

1) Do you have a favorite local bookstore?

2) Do you have an e-reader of any kind? If so, which one?

3) What’s your prediction on the future of books?

12 Replies to “Books Versus E-Readers”

  1. My favorite bookstore happens to be Barnes & Noble (Yes I know they are big and evil) Nothing like sitting in the cafe consuming a good book with some good Starbucks coffee (another big evil company). In respect to the e-reader vs physical book, thought I haven’t purchased an actual e-reader, I find I much prefer reading from a paper book versus a lit screen. It seems much more relaxing and nostalgic, like some one wise is imparting some great wisdom to me.

  2. As a used book dealer, I’m pretty invested in this type of discussion. There are really two ways to look at Borders closing. On the one hand it’s good. It’s mostly the fault of Borders and Barnes and Noble that indie sellers are facing extinction, and it’s also largely their fault (for complicated reasons) the publishers are struggling. On the other hand, it makes books less visible, gets people that much more used to a world without them.

    1. Yes. The one I’m starting next year.
    2. No, and I never will.
    3. Publishing will never die, but it will transition eventually to being primarily electronic. You will still have niche publishers printing small runs of paper books, and you will always have a market for used books, but paper publishing will slowly go away. It’s inevitable. People have no patience, forget the importance of the search, don’t recognize what is gained by texture, smell, touch, imperfection, variety. About the only positive from this for sellers is that used prices will rise for most titles as books become more of a novelty.

  3. I go to Barnes and Noble, used to go to Borders near my house, but won’t too much anymore. I do dabble in random used book stores if I stumble across them. I do have a nook color, but I’m not sure I want to keep it forever. I got it because I soon will fill my third 5 shelf bookshelf by myself, and I wanted it to reduce the space of books I’ll only ever read once. But I really miss having the books, so I might get rid of it. I hope to see books go on for a very long time. I think e-readers are good in some situations, but nothing can replace physical books.

  4. So… a few things to clear up from the comments.

    most e-readers don’t have a lit screen, they use patented technology called e-ink. And it’s pretty awesome, and really easy on the eyes.

    I like books. But I love my e-reader. It’s like any technology, you can let it take over, or you can let it help you. I prefer to let it help me. If I read a book I really like, I buy it. So I can fold the pages, write in it, highlight it, so one day, my daughter can find it and have a piece of me.

    I go to Barnes and Noble, and I have the Nook. (The new one) and it’s awesome. especially in B&N, I can read any book they have for 2 hours for free, on my nook. It’s called “More in Store”… I also typically get a coupon for a free cookie or something when I go in there. It’s on my nook, and they scan my nook for the cookie. It’s sweet. :) I have written about this a few times on my blog. :)

  5. My favorite bookstore is local shop near my apt. It’s located in Downtown Wilmington, DE. I prefer that over the larger bookstore chains.

    I own an iPad. I use this as my e-reader. That Kindle app is my preferred app for reading.

    I do not believe that paper production of books will ever cease.

  6. 1.) Yes – it’s Amazon for buying; Border’s for browsing. I don’t understand why it takes Border’s 7-10 days to get an out-of-stock book delivered to its store when I can get it delivered to my home by Amazon in 2 days.

    2.) Kindle, and I love it! The device “disappears” while reading so it’s more like a “book” experience. It’s not like that with my wife’s iPad.

    3.) I think there will always be a market for printed books, much like there’s a market for vinyl records. We’ll see the end of print newspapers before we see the end of published books.

  7. Great questions Shawn. Our daughter mourned the passing of the two Borders stores in our area; they were a favorite hangout for her; she could spend hours wandering the aisles finding things our libraries don’t carry, sitting of the floor lost in manga or atlases or Nat Geo books. In the time since they’ve closed, however, we are spending more time at our library, which is probably even more valuable than access to a good bookstore.

    We have one kindle in our house, it’s mine. The computers are all equipped with the kindle app and each kid reads books on my kindle when I’m not using it or on the computers.

    I love the communal nature of it; I can share highlights from the book I’m reading to twitter and facebook and am often surprised by the impromptu book discussions that arise this way.

    I also love always having access to any book I might think I need or want at any time, without carrying pounds of books with me. I still read books with paper pages. I enjoy this process as well, but I find I refer back more to my notes from kindle books.

    I also like the way this platform is changing publishing and the accessibility of authors who are not under representation. There’s a lot of good stuff out there that the big houses, formerly the arbiters of American literary culture, missed out on.

    I could keep going….

  8. I remember when my wife and I started to keep most of our music on our computer and listen to it through itunes, as well as begin buying all our music on itunes. At first my wife did not want to do it because she liked getting the CDs so she could look through the booklet and just the pure novelty of them. But it has become extinct in our house. Even if we get a CD for some reason, it goes directly onto our computer. That happened years ago at this point and we never buy CDs. We have discussed if this will happen with books. It’s hard to know really because we didn’t, at one point, think it would happen with CDs. I’m torn, because I LOVE books. I don’t own an e-reader and haven’t tried it. Not sure I want to. I’m torn though because I love technology and can see myself eventually getting into it. It’s convenient for a couple reasons. One, if you travel you can take a bunch of books in something that is smaller than one book. Second, think about book storage and moving one’s books. If everything is electronically stored you are not hauling tons of books. That said, I’ve always wanted, and still do, a huge library in my house someday. But maybe that will start to be like collecting records, who knows. I also think we’ve only seen the beginning of e-reader technology. I’m envisioning glasses you put on that scrolls the words or paragraphs right in front of your face. It think it would also be cool if the reader scanned your eyes and knew when you looked at the last word to turn the page, etc. Are we getting lazier or more efficient? Everyone always quickly assumes we are just getting lazier but I’m sure people were skeptical about cars. : )

  9. The last couple paper books I bought were for a photo shoot. I virtually never go to local book store. Even when I buy paper books, I almost always go to Amazon. (By the way, I support nationalizing a system of sales tax so that a significant benefit that Amazon has goes way.)

    I read paper books, almost but not quite 1/3 of the books I read. But mostly they are books people send me to review, or books I know I am giving away to someone. I know people have relationships with physical books, but I do not. I gave away or sold almost all of my books when I moved 6 years ago. I still buy paper, but always give them away when I am done with them. I do have a lot of paper children’s books because ebooks still are not really competitive in that market.

    I am not really concerned about books, more books are published now than ever before. I think there are both more good and more bad. Yes authors are having a hard time making a living as an author, but it is easier to be an author now than ever before, so that makes economic sense. I know I spend a ton of money on books, it is just that they are electronic and/or audio.

    (I have a kindle, I also have an iPad, but I hate reading on the ipad and only do it when absolutely necessary.)

  10. Nashville currently only has a Books-a-Million left. Borders closed a few months ago and Davis-Kidd, the indie store, went under several months back. Ann Patchett apparently is opening an indie store this fall. Barnes and Noble is partnering with Vanderbilt’s college bookstore this fall as well. So I’ll have options again! I’ve always liked Borders and browsing used book stores.

    I don’t have an e-reader and don’t plan on buying one. I just really prefer books to ebooks. I do have an e-reader account through Amazon for the rare ebook, otherwise I just download the PDF.

    Books will stick around but ebooks will probably grow in popularity. There will always be a market for good writing.

  11. My favorite bookstore is a local children’s bookstore. They are great about helping me find new books for my boys.

    I do have an iPad and have found that since getting one I have actually spent more money on books. I have always been a lover of libraries but being able to get the book I want delivered to my iPad right this very minute has caused me to impulse purchase some really good books.

    I still love the feel of books and the free part of checking a book out at the library. But I also have run out of space on my bookshelves and being able to have all my books on an e-reader is really nice.

  12. 1. Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham. However, I’m with Tor – I’m an Amazon girl. I’m not officially calling Tor a girl.

    2. My eyes are still young enough that I use iBooks and the Kindle app on my iPhone. I probably read 4 books on it for every traditional book. It’s just too easy breezy – I loves it.

    3. I agree with David Nilsen. It’s a time of transition. Like it or not.

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