Tuesday, May 21, 2013

E-Books: How Your Use Has Changed

I was a relatively late adopter of e-books. I didn't get an iPhone until October 2011 and my previous smartphone didn't support the Kindle or Nook apps. Once I got my iPhone and then an iPad, I downloaded both the Kindle and Nook apps, as well as the Bluefire, Kobo, and Sony eReader apps. I started reading more e-books but my preference was still for print.

Over the past six months to a year, I've started reading a lot more e-books. And to my surprise, I prefer them. Don't get me wrong - I love the feeling of holding a book in my hands; I love walking into a room and seeing shelves lined with books; I like being able to easily flip back and forth between pages; I love having books signed by authors. But e-books are so convenient. It made me wonder whether other people's feelings toward e-books has changed as they've become more prevalent.

Are you using e-books more? Do you like them better than you used to?

I still don't have a dedicated e-reader. I have both an iPad and an iPhone, but I read nearly everything on my phone. I like reading on an iPad better in theory due to the larger size, but the iPhone is much more convenient. That's what I like about e-books the most: the convenience. I can read a book no matter where I am. I could and sometimes do pull a print book out of my purse and read it while I'm in line at the grocery store or in a doctor's office, but it's bulky and sometimes people look at you funny.

What do you use to read e-books? Which brand do you prefer?

I split between using the Kindle app and the Nook app on my phone. In general, I prefer the Kindle app, because it's so easy to buy things on Amazon. However, I share a Nook account with my parents, so for books that all three of us want to read, I buy books on the Nook.

Part of me thinks that I should buy more print books on principle. Not that I think that print books are going to go extinct, but more that I want to support physical bookstores, be it independent or Barnes & Noble. That being said, I buy most of my books - print and digital - from Amazon. Out of habit mostly. I would like to support independent bookstores more. Luckily, Kobo made a deal last year with independent bookstores so the stores could sell e-books using the Kobo system. I should get in the habit of supporting one of my favorite stores.

One of my favorite developments in the e-book world has been the library system. Now most libraries have decent e-book collections. You can download e-books as well as audio-books. I love the Overdrive app for my iPhone which allows me to easily store all my library purchases. I also like that most library books are available for download via Kindle. It's so much easier to have a wifi download instead of having to plug my phone into the computer.

Do you read library books on your e-reader?

I think there's great potential for e-books in the future. I'd love to see more enhanced content, like video alongside recipes in a cookbook. This exists in a few books, but I'd love to see it more widespread. Also, a way to sync audiobooks with e-books. This does exist currently with Amazon's Whispersync for Audible, but I've heard it can be clunky (let me know if you've used it, because I'm interested in trying it).

I do have some concerns for what happens to your e-books if the company goes under. What happens if Barnes & Noble goes out of business? Presumably, someone would buy out the Nook division and the books would stay as they are, but what if they didn't? That's the problem with not owning physical copies. It's almost like the company still owns them and one day they could take them back.

What do you see for the future of e-books? What concerns do you have? What excites you?


  1. I am a fairly recent ebook reader, as well. I used to flat out refuse to read them on principle and because I didn't own an ereader and hate reading off my computer. Then one day - I think it was when NetGalley released a "Read It Now" galley of Grave Mercy - I caved and tried out reading on my then iPod Touch and found it wasn't half bad, despite the small reading screen. Certainly much preferable to a computer screen because of the convenience. To this day, I don't own an ereader, but still enjoy reading egalleys from publishers on my iPhone.

    I have always wondered what would happen to your ebooks if your ebook company goes under. And how crappy that would be because you would no longer be able to use that reader for anything. I don't expect Amazon would ever go under, but I wonder that about Barnes and Noble and the Nook.

  2. We don't really own our ebooks. Amazon, for one, considers them "rented" and can pull the plug on our rentals at any time. They've done this in cases where they closed customer accounts for various reasons. Here's a good rundown of one instance. http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/10/23/amazon-ebooks-are-borrowed-not-bought/

    Basically Kindles are like a library card, except you pay a fee for every book you check out. That said, I love my Kindle! :D
    I read a ton of ebooks. I still love paper books, but the prices favor the ebooks. Given the choice between an ebook and a cheaper paperback, though, I buy the paperback. $11.99 is a ridiculous price for a rental book.

  3. I don't get library books on my e-reader...that is still weird to me. LOL I prefer kindle but also have kobo. Kindle has a lot more freebies that I like than Kobo. And I tend to use my kindle for work. I'm an editor and I can send an rtf file to my kindle and read it on the go- pretty cool feature. :)

    My Blog

  4. There's a part of me that absolutely loves e-books, and I understand the cost-effectiveness for publishers submitting e-galleys for review. In that sense, I absolutely love my Nook. I buy the occasional e-book when I'm going on a long trip, but for the most part, I prefer real books. I find myself feeling like it's work, otherwise.

  5. I download books on my iPod Touch. I can't get the Nook app in Canada (apparently B&N aren't actually interested in MAKING money!!!), so I use Kobo (I prefer this one because you can create bookshelves) and Kindle. I still prefer "real" books, but since I'm reading a lot of self published NA books, I'd rather pay $2.99 for the ebook than $14 (plus shipping to Canada) for a book that might not be well edited.

  6. I have a Nexus 7 Tablet which I read the majority of my ebooks on these days (I use kindle, nook, google play, kobo, overdrive apps on it), but I also have some apps for my laptop and I have an iphone equiped with the Kindle and Nook apps.
    I like the convenience of the tablet and being able to always have hundreds of books on me at any given time (because I am a book hoarder and I need hundred at any given time? I don't know) but I find (and maybe this is more an eARC problem) that sometimes ebook formatting is off and makes layout annoying. I prefer real books and find them more rewarding - something about turning an actual page. But I do like being able to highlight, bookmark, take notes, define books at the touch of a button on my tablet. It's a toss up really.
    I do borrow ebooks from the Boston Public Library which is pretty awesome! I have trouble getting to an actual library during normal business hours so it is nice to be able to borrow them online without leaving my house/office.
    Oh I also love how you can get tons of cheap ebooks!though it has only made my book hoarding worse.
    I am pretty interested in the new features I have seen being discussed to make books more interactive by adding clickable trailers or music features. It might end up going overboard and lead to serious advertising schemes but has some interesting potential.

    CeCe @ Steaming Mug of Books

  7. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I LOVE it. I can read even in darkness and still won't strain my eyes. Also, there is basically no library where I live no yeah. I adore e-books just because they are at least easier to access.

  8. I have two kindles + I use the kindle app on my iPhone. It took me awhile to hop on the ebook train but I do love it. I read a lot of library books on it and a lot of other books I probably wouldn't touch in paperback. It's been a nice alternative since Borders closed.
    trish @ tales from ...

  9. I use Kindle. I have the app on my phone too, but I just downloaded it to check it out. How can you read a book on your phone? It's so.... tiny!

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  12. I got my first kindle in 2009 - I waited and waited for them to finally be for sale in Europe! As I read mostly in English, but live in a French-speaking country, I bought most of my books from amazon even before I got my kindle.

    Now, I have an actual kindle, the app on my iPad (and iPhone) as well as bluefire, GoodReader, Bluefire Reader and an app for Norwegian e-books as well.

    I love the fact that I no longer have to pas humongous amounts for shipping as I used to in the past. I also love the instant gratification! Yes, I'm impatient, and I have quite a few books on pre-order, and they are magically delivered to my kindle so I get them the day the book is released.

    Great post, and it's really interesting to see that you guys can even get library books for kindle. That's progress! Not everybody can leave their house, so having books 'delivered' that way is excellent.

  13. I don't read eBooks from the library because our selection isn't that great (unfortunately). But I do read A LOT of books on my phone, just because it's more convenient. I also have readers on my laptop so I can read before class. I usually lug a hardcopy book with me everywhere as well (because I still prefer reading hard-copies). My eyes are going because I read too much alread on the computer, and I can't read for as long.

  14. I joined the e-reader party a little late too. A few Christmas's ago, my mom got me a Nook. While I was grateful for the gift, I still preferred to read and buy physical books -- mostly fo a reason you already mentioned, my indie bookstore. I love them and B&N is kind of killing indie bookstores (as is Amazon). But if I was uncertain about an author or a book, but still wanted to give it a try, I would buy it for my Nook. Or if I bought a first book in a series and loved it so much that I had to read the next book RIGHT NOW then I would buy it from B&N so I didn't have to wait.

    Then I got a smartphone that could connect with my Nook and I loved the connivence. But I'm really not a big fan of B&N or Nooks, so about six months ago I got a Kindle. Amazon is so convenient and I enjoy my Kindle more.

    The only bad thing about eBook is that you can't get them signed :( And I love getting my books signed.

  15. You read on your phone? I haven't tried that yet (I'm a late smartphone adopter!) but I do love my Kindle. The only thing I don't like is that it's black & white and I don't have the pretty covers that I LOVE!! I seriously miss those because they're what helps me pick out what I want to read next.

  16. I never really got into ebooks. I had an original kobo and liked that it was lightweight and I could have loads of books on me all the time but because I got most from netgalley or from authors the formatting was weird. It always seemed too small too read. Then I got a kindle fire and I don't have the formatting issue but the screen just hurts my eyes and with my frequent headaches I ended up putting off reading ebooks as much as possible. Now I JUST got a kindle paperwhite last week and so far I LOVE reading on it. I've read 3 books in a row and love how light it is, how easy it is to read in any lighting and how convenient it is. I throw it in my purse any time I walk out the door and I'm good. I do have an iphone but I hate reading on it. I have done it in line at the grocery store though as it's easy to pull up a kindle book and read while I wait. So hopefully I continue to love the paperwhite. I do have an issue buying books in ebook form. If I pay for it, I want a real book to see and hold. However, I'll pay up to $2.99 or so for a book if it's one I really want to read and it's most readily available in ebook form.

  17. Hi Alison! Great post.

    At this moment, I too do not have an e-reader. I read off my iphone or labtop. And I mostly read e-books that I get for review or indie books I get off of Amazon. Honestly, I don't see why you should purchase the e-book of a published book cause the price difference is bot by much. If I'm going to pay $7-something for a e-book and the paper back is $8.99, I rather by the book. I thought buying e-books means that you can get the books cheaper but sometimes I just don't understand why pay so much for the book. Plus, because you have the e-book, it means you don't really own it. Your just buying the license to read it. In that case, I rather OWN my books and buy the real thing.

  18. Great post, Alison! I've noticed that since I purchased a Nook Simple Touch, I've been reading more ebooks. Originally, I was reading on my laptop but it would hurt my eyes. I bought the Simple Touch because I just wanted a simple device to read and not surf the internet.

    I do check out ebooks from the library. Mostly books that the libraries have no longer hold the physical book or books that have a long hold list. I find that the waiting period is much shorter. Plus it forces me to prioritize my reading schedule.

    I do agree with you that the e-reader is much more convenient. When I go on a trip now, I just load up my Nook instead of pack a separate carry-on/bag for books.

  19. I am pretty new to e-booiks as well. Did not get my nook until Fall of 2011 and when I got my iPhone fall of 2012 I started reading kidle books on it. Nothing can compare to the look , feel, and experience of real boks, but there sure is something to be said about comnveniece, portability and freedom of space that e-books allow.

  20. I still prefer physical books more than ebooks for reading. I have an iPad and iPhone, and I do read ebooks, but reading physical copies are more comfortable and enjoyable for me.

    Although I do love that I have tons of books right in my iPhone in case I get stuck in lines. On Saturday I was in a couple long signing lines, so I just dug my iphone out and got some reading done. That was great!

  21. I got a kindle at the start of 2012 and absolutely love it. My reading went up 99% and I now carry my kindle with me all the time. The reason I brought one was because it was getting too heavy to carry a book in my handbag every day on my commute, whereas a kindle is so small, lightweight and easy. I loved it so much I convinced everyone I knew to buy one. My boyfriend got one, my mum, both my sisters and three of my friends. They're great! I recommend to everyone. I do love sitting in bookshops and looking through classic books but the kindle is just so convenient!

  22. I'm also a fairly new reader of e-books. I was definitely set against them in the beginning and couldn't see the appeal compared to physical books. But once I'd gotten my smart phone (Samsung Galaxy S2) and saw the wide screen AND the reading apps, I began to cave. I use both the kobo & kindle apps, I used to prefer kobo because of some of the features and how it just felt user friendly to me, but recently the kindle app has gotten WAY more usage,simple because they have better deals and netgalley & edelweiss use that format...so I've been getting used to it more.

    Like you, I love the convenience of having my phone with me at all times, so if I need to read wherever - I can. And an e-reader is perfect for reading at night, without needing extra light (like when the hubby is sleeping hehe) I still do prefer physical books though, and after reading 2-3 ebooks in a row, I long to hold a real book in my hands; the feel of it. Plus real books are much easier on the eyes!

  23. I've been reading e-books for as long as I've been blogging. So 2 1/2 years now! I'm always reading about two printed books and one e-book at the same time. It's pretty convenient to read e-books on my way to and from work every day to get some reading done. But I wouldn't want to miss out on the printed books experience either. So both types are just great! Awesome post Allison:)

  24. I've been reading eBooks for 3 years now and have owned a Nook for about 2. For me, reading in the e-format tends to mean I remember what I read less. The words just don't stick as well in my head as a paper copy. But I'm going on vacation next week and planning to just bring my nook in order to save on space and weight. So I definitely switch back and forth.

  25. I've been reading ebooks for a couple of years now, and I find that I read more ebooks and listen to more audiobooks than I read print. Like you, I love the convenience of having them on my phone and I like being able to sync my phone and ereader so that I always keep my place no matter what medium I'm using. I use the library for ebooks every now and then too, and that's very convenient. I have a Kobo ereader and I love it, so if you're thinking about getting an ereader at some point, that's what I recommend.

  26. I got a Nook Color for my birthday last year. At first it was different to read on it, but after a while I found that I really enjoyed it. Like you said, it's much more convenient to use.

    For me, I like to get most of my books on my Nook now, however I do purchase my favorite books, or continuations to series I already own, in physical copies.

    This was a great post. By the way, I am a new follower :)

  27. I still don't have an e-reader, and I'm holding out as long as I can. I do like the convenience of them, and think they'd be amazing for traveling. But I hate the idea that book stores as we know them will disappear, similar to what happened to music stores, so I'm resisting while it's still possible to do.

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