So I bought an ebook.

Bought an ebookIf you’ve been hanging around here for any length of time, chances are good that you know how I feel about ebooks. And with the recent announcement that Borders has declared bankruptcy, I am more concerned than ever about the fate of brick-and-mortar bookstores.

I work for an inbound marketing company, and our entire strategy is based around the fact that traditional modes of advertising (e.g., printed and televised) are no longer as effective as they once were. People hate being interrupted by annoying commercials during their favorite shows — so they fast forward through them. They hate that their mailboxes are full of junk advertising — so they throw it all away. The purpose of inbound marketing is to produce free content that is helpful to your prospective customers, and then make sure that that content can be found in search engine results. The point is to be available when your prospects are searching for you, not to shove advertising down their throats.

So I spend most of my time writing, promoting, and advocating online content; but when it comes to reading, I’m a purist. So does it make me a hypocrite that I’ve purchased an ebook?

What led to my purchase (mistake?)

Thanks to a generous individual I know, I recently received a free iphone 3. When I visited the App store to check out the Listography app, I was asked if I wanted to download the iBooks app at no charge. What actually sold it for me was the fact that I got a free copy of Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, and who turns down a free book that they’ve been wanting to read anyway?

I wasn’t actually intending to do much with the app, but when I went to Barnes and Noble over the weekend, they didn’t have available any of the books for which I was looking. These weren’t obscure titles either: Castle’s Naked Heat, The Exile (a graphic novel retelling of Gabaldon’s Outlander), and Snyder’s Poison Study. All new books, all mainstream. So why was I only able to order them online?

Duck and cover

That damn iBooks app was looking more and more tempting, not only because I found that Poison Study was available, but because the book cost under $10.00 — and I could start reading as soon as it finished downloading. It was just too much temptation.

So I bought my first ebook, and now I feel a little dirty. On the up side, though, my money was not spent in vain — I’m really enjoying Poison Study.

But are the Reading Gods just waiting to strike me down for making a deal with the ebook devil?

What do you think about ebooks and ereaders? Have you ever violated one of your rules about reading? Did you feel dirty, too?

Image: TexHex

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10 Responses

  1. Jenny O. February 23, 2011 / 6:58 pm

    I use the Kindle App on my computer and also my ipod touch 3 to read the classics. I also use my computer to read ARCs on Netgalley. But that’s it. If I want a book that’s in print, I’m buying it. The classics are too difficult to find, especially the more obscure ones, and I like the accessibility onf Project Gutenberg and Amazon. I don’t feel dirty at all. There were too many years that I wasn’t able to find books like Eugene Sue’s The Wandering Jew or H. Rider Haggard, or Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. I’m excited they’re only a click away!

    • bookzilla February 23, 2011 / 8:55 pm

      That’s a good point about obscure books/the classics being hard to find in print. And when they can be found, they’re pricey (I still can’t get a copy of Sanger’s My Fight for Birth Control).

      And I like that there are a fair amount of books available for free. I got a sample of Alcott’s Jo’s Boys, and can get the whole thing for free too, and that’s nice.

      I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole ereader thing. Thanks for giving me some balance. :)

  2. Susan Brehm February 23, 2011 / 8:48 pm

    Lol, you crack me up! I’ve broken tons of my own rules, probably every single one of them. I justify it by saying… “I changed my mind.” Simple as that. I’m a woman, we’re prone to changing our minds – I’m embracing the stereotype. :-D
    Wish I had an iPhone working already… sigh.

    Susan

    • bookzilla February 23, 2011 / 9:03 pm

      I’m not sure about embracing e-reading, though. We’ll see, though. You’ll get your iphone working soon, I’m sure. :)

  3. Cyna February 24, 2011 / 2:38 am

    I know exactly how you feel, and trust me, the guilt is still there. Like Jenny, I use my e-reader primarily for ARC’s, and I buy print versions when I can. My biggest problem is that I’m in a small town with no book sellers but Wal-Mart, and there are lots of books I just wouldn’t have access to without the internet. But I couldn’t imagine a world without bookstores – I love them, I love working in them, and my heart broke when I heard about Borders (it was my first job :( luckily, my store survived the cut!), but the convenience of e-readers and e-book stores is really, really hard to beat.

    It’s a tough position to be in, as a reader :/

    • bookzilla February 26, 2011 / 11:18 pm

      I live in a small town too, Cyna — I’m about 25 minutes away from a bookstore (other than the teeny tiny, not-ideally-stocked one in town), so I do most of my book buying online.

      Half the fun of buying those books, though, is visiting the store; thumbing through books, smelling the pages (huge nerd here!), looking at pictures…it’s the whole experience that I miss when I order online or get an ebook.

      Because I live fairly far away from a bookstore, and because cash is usually pretty tight around here, going to Barnes and Noble is a special occasion, and I try to make the most of each visit. Every so often my fiance and I will have a “date day,” which generally includes a visit to B&N. I can’t always get something, but it’s nice to see and look and touch (and smell!).

      I’m also really lucky to be less than 5 minutes away from a public library. The only downside is that if it’s published after about 2008 or isn’t very mainstream, I’m unlikely to find it there. I’m considering joining BookSwim or Paperback Swap, but that’s more money that I’m not quite comfortable spending yet. Maybe in the next few months.

  4. Gypsi February 24, 2011 / 10:39 am

    Poison Study is a great read!

    I love my Kindle and have no regrets. I still buy new and used books and am a regular library patron. Owning a Kindle hasn’t changed that. Those of us that are passionate about reading find it just another wonderful way to get books (for me, access to out of print works which has been fabulous). It’s been my experience that lately the majority of the eReaders are being purchased by non-readers as the next gadget to own.

    I really can’t see how the relatively small number of eReaders can be attributed to the decline of a company, knowing the state of the economy and the fact that online book ordering is so popular. Despite several corporate bookstores here, I do most of my actual new book buying on Amazon because my taste is not what is carried by the stores. If I’m going to buy it, I’m going to have to go online for it any way.

    Add to the fact that reading as a “hobby” (and therefore a money making venture) is way outranked by concerts, sports events, watching movies and TV, playing video games and. . . well, just about anything else. We’re turning into an illiterate lot, I fear. (“Hey have you read suchandsuch? It’s a great book!” “Yeah, I saw the movie!” Groan.)

    While I hate to think of any business going bankrupt, especially a bookseller, at this time there are lots of businesses going down, not just booksellers.

    On the plus side, too, buying a eBook is a conservation of paper and ink. Goodness knows we aren’t a nation that is doing enough about that!

    Of course, this is just my take on it, and I have wanted an eReader since Sony first floated the idea back in the ’90’s.

    So, try to enjoy it in good conscience. They are a fantastic invention! =D

    I can’t wait to read your review of Poison Study; I have her other two on my to-be-read shelf (just found them at the used bookstore last month) but I think I’m going to reread Poison Study first. It was SO good!

    • bookzilla February 26, 2011 / 11:28 pm

      Since I first heard about Poison Study, I knew I needed to read it. And I’m glad I did — not sure when I’ll review it, but it needs to be soon apparently! :)

      You’re hitting on the same things as others, Gypsi: the convenience of ereaders; the ability to find rarer/less mainstream books; general convenience. And I completely agree with each and every point.

      I haven’t read much about why Borders is closing. It may be the fact that they’re just being outsold by Amazon and Barnes and Noble. After all, those two provide a much larger selection, are online, and the stores themselves are (generally) better organized and sell books for less. It’s a tough economy, and while I’ve never really thought $25.00 to be a reasonable price for a book, it’s now becoming even more difficult for me to justify spending that amount.

      I’ve lamented about the lack of literacy and enjoyment of literature before, and it’s a topic that will likely be discussed and debated for a long time. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to prefer watching sports or playing games over reading — but I do think that everyone should know how to read. Each of those things you list deals with stories, which humans thrive on; it’s just that many people don’t like getting their stories from books. Which is lame. :p

      I saw something the other day that talked about Snyder’s other books. I’m excited to see if she makes Poison Study a series — I want to know what happens next, and I bet that her imagination is better than mine!

  5. BookBelle March 2, 2011 / 4:47 am

    I am an early adapter for Kindle. I’ve had one forever. It’s been forever since I’ve actually use it too. I work all day on a computer and the last thing I want to do is come home and read e-text. Holding a book, looking at the covers, about the author, the back cover, and even the smell of a book are satisfying to my senses. It’s my way to relax after staring at the computer all day.

    I don’t think I’ll ever be a huge e-reader. I have it here. It’s fully charged. I think it will make a great vacation, reading on the beach tool and that’s about it.

    • bookzilla March 3, 2011 / 12:39 am

      Thanks for stopping by, BookBelle!

      I am totally in agreement with your entire comment. I work on a computer all day too, and generally when I come home the first thing I want to do is stare at a wall and avoid anything with a screen. My eyes just get so tired.

      My iBook app has come in handy when I have down time and am stuck somewhere (doctor’s office, break at choir rehearsal, etc.). I can sort of justify this because my iphone was free (holla!), and iBook was too — and so far I’ve only paid for one book. The few others I have were free as well.

      I think I need to come to accept you have: that e-readers are great tools of convenience, but just can’t hold a candle to the real thing.

      P.S. I often rate books on how good or bad they smell. I always thought myself and my mother were the only ones who did this. But the more people I meet, the more I realize that lots of them like stickin’ their sniffers into the pages.

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