Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Certain Lines I've Drawn

While I love my Kindle (and I do), I still enjoy reading actual dead trees. A colleague recommended Erik Larson's Devil in the White City yesterday, so I headed over to Amazon.

The trade paperback is priced at $10.85. The Kindle edition? $9.99.

Right now, for me, it's worth 86 cents to hold a copy of the book. I'm not ready to go purely digital. Anyway--if I buy the book, I can pass it on.

Now wait, you say. You can share Kindle books.


But here's the digital caveat:

I purchased and downloaded a copy of 30 Days: Jail from iTunes several years ago. I show clips of the episode in class each year while we study justice. When our computer exploded (metaphorically) last summer, I had to reset all the devices on which my iTunes content could be played (I'd maxed out my license, and one of the devices was now dead).

Guess what? 30 Days is no longer available via iTunes. Even though I "own" the digital content, I can't play it.

Digital, it seems, is not forever. In this case, digital is now worth nothing.

This, dear reader, is why I'll pay the 86 cents. Get it to me faster (like the episodes of The Walking Dead I download each week--I don't have cable and the DVDs won't be available for another six months) or cheaper ($2.99 ebooks, anyone), and I'll go digital. Anything else, and I'll stick with a physical copy.

Where's your digital line?


Mary Rajotte said...

I like being able to DL music but some bands, I still buy the physical copy. I just can't stop collecting CDs.

I, too like eReaders and being able to try out books, either by authors I don't know or to save $ (plus shelf-space is a big consideration as my collection grows), but especially for friends' books, I prefer to have the dead tree version. It's an addiction I can't give up!

Anonymous said...

I tend to be a compulsive shopper, so digital is very satisfying to me. I hear a little tune in my head from yesteryear? I go to itunes and dial it up.

In the past year, I've only bought a couple of books that weren't digital. One was a reference book and the rest were from a small bookstore sitting in the shadow across the boulevard from B&N.
Honestly, if it's something I really want, digital or no, I'll pay whatever the asking price is.

Unknown said...

I rip the DRM from all my ebooks and store them on a couple of computers. I don't consider the price I pay to be a rental fee, but the purchase price. So that's not an issue for me.

The only paper books I'll buy are reference books.

Devil in the White City is an amazing book.

Cate Gardner said...

I still haven't entered the digital music revolution and have a house full of CDs.

As for ebooks. I tend to only purchase them if they're not available as a paperback or if the paperback/hardback is expensive. ie I want to read all the Delirium novellas but can't afford to so I buy the ones I'm desperate to read (and keep) as hardbacks and the rest I download.

K.C. Shaw said...

I don't mind paying a little extra for a book I know I'll reread, just to have it on my shelf instead of on a device that could crash and burn at any time. My Sony ereader is already obsolete; I daresay in a few more years (assuming it lasts that long) it will stop being supported even by Sony. That's why the ebooks I read and love, I usually buy in paper edition if I can. That way I won't lose them.

Barry Napier said...

Books - The ones I am really wanting, I buy the paper. The new Dark Tower book will be paper, as will the new Mary Roach book and Barker's 3rd Book of the Art if he ever decides to finish the damned thing. I'm still not 100% sold on digital books, mainly for the above reason you gave about your iTunes debacle.

Music: Honestly, I have now stopped torrenting as my last computer got the clap from such a site. So it now comes to iTunes or CDs. And I prefer CDs most of the time, especially if it's a band I'm really into. Especially if iTunes keeps jacking the prices of everything up. Boo!

Anthony Rapino said...

I'm right there with you. If a physical copy (of *anything*) is only a buck or two (or even three or four) more than the digital counterpart, I go physical copy. I don't like digital for the reason you mentioned: It's not *really* yours.

Robert said...

An even cheaper route is www.abebooks.com. Someone pointed it out to me awhile back, and while I haven't actually used the site, you can get some pretty great deals for cheap -- just like finding some gems as a library book sale ... only then you have to wait for it to be shipped to you.

Unknown said...

Ugh. Yeah. I have grown to love--or at least like very much--my Kindle, but it's like a crazy girlfriend who is in a good mood. You just know that when she turns, all hell will break loose.

That's why every time I get something on my Kindle, I back it up on a thumb drive, too. Just in case.

Aaron Polson said...

Robert - Abe books is a great resource. I'll miss physical books because of all those old romance novel covers...

Bobbie Metevier said...

I'm reading a paperbook and a Kindle at the same time--one at night, one in the morning.

It does amaze me that some Kindle books are so expensive. I mean the overhead is zero, there is no paper to purchase, etc. Why doesn't the electronic price reflect this more often?

Mary Rajotte said...

I love Abebooks too. Another one I buy from often is Thriftbooks.com

They search used bookstores and give the condition of the book

Free shipping in US, only $2.99 to Canada & UK, $4.99 rest of the world.

Unknown said...

I haven't tried Abebooks.com yet, mainly because I relish the free shipping available through BookDepository.com and BetterWorldBooks.com. One of the things about living in Canada is those pernicious shipping rates.