Although I Love my iPad, I’m Not Buying E-Books

On September 1, Sony announced 3 new E-Readers priced between $149.99 and $299.99.  Last month, Amazon announced new versions of its WiFi and 3G Kindles; these devices are less expensive, lighter, more responsive and prettier than previous models.

And then of course, there’s the iPad, my beloved iPad. On my iPad, I have the Apple iBooks, Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook apps. I have purchased and enjoyed books on all 3 apps. And I have downloaded and enjoyed dozens of free books that are out of copyright.

While I love, love, love the idea of having hundreds of books on one device, having lots of great things to read on a trip, and combining books, music, photos, videos and games on one device, I have stopped buying books on my iPad.

Why?

Well, it turns out that I’m a social reader. I like buying books, reading them, and then passing them on. I just love the idea of sharing a great story or author. My copy of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson was shared with a half dozen people before it came back to me. Same with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaman, only it never came back (which is just fine by me!) I have also been the happy and lucky recipient of many, many books from my brother Alex and friend Steve, who have introduced me to so many great authors and series. My sister and her daughter have given my son dozens of wonderful children’s books, which I have gladly passed on to other moms when my son outgrew them.

You can’t share e-books the same way that you can share printed books. Yes, I can share e-books with up to 5 devices connected to my Mac at home, but I can’t authorize random computers all the time just to share a book! Moreover, when my Kindle-toting friend Eileen recommends a book to me, not only can she not share the book with my physically, she can’t share it digitally because we have incompatible devices!

Wouldn’t it be great if I could relinquish my rights to an e-book and pass it along to a friend, in a universal format they could download to their device of choice? Until that happens, I’ve put the breaks on buying a whole of e-books. I’ll break my rule the next time we have to travel to Asia, of course, but in the meantime, expect to still see me browsing at a local bookstore or buying lots of printed books on Amazon.

How about you? Have you switched to buying e-books exclusively? Has this new habit changed your sharing habits? Or are you holding out and still buying printed books?

15 thoughts on “Although I Love my iPad, I’m Not Buying E-Books

  1. LOVE reading books on my iPad. So convenient. But I do miss being able to give someone else a book and watching their face light up. I’m doing a mix. Sometimes I buy the real deal, and sometimes I go digital. I do love not cluttering up my house with dozens of paperbacks, though…

  2. My biggest regret with the iPad is that I can’t read by the pool or at the beach where I get most of my reading done. That being said, I find myself buying just as many business books that I stop reading 1/2 way (just ask me how many times I have had to re-listed to Drive’s podcast/book on ipod).

    I do find myself reading alot more blogs, and reading the WSJ/Newspapers more.

    What I am wishing/hoping for is Conde Nast app to move all my Wired, GQ, Traveler, AD subscriptions too. The challenge than is sharing with my wife, as I don’t want to have to pay double the subscriptions.

  3. For the same reason I still subscribe to the daily newspaper, I will continue to buy paper books. Somehow curling up in my reading chair in the sunroom with an electronic device to read a good book leaves me cold. I’m with Bangalow above…reading involves all the senses. Oh yeah…and a book doesn’t have to be charged all the time.

  4. I’m a book-aholic, and I read and re-read the good ones. (However, I like that I have a house full of books.) So it’s only recently that I’ve been contemplating an e-device. Since Mom and I have similar tastes, and reading habits, most of these get re-read multiple times. I’m just not sure I could get her to use an e-reader! Finally, my eye doctor is already concerned about how much computer time I log – is there anything about the difference in eye strain between hard copy books and electronic ones? So, if I jump in – there are so many choices…..

  5. I still love my books. I agree with Bangalow and Deb, reading does involve all the senses. i love the smell of books and the turning of each page eager to find out what happens next. I am also one of the few that still goes to the library, and walks out with piles of them. So, I def haven’t been able to move to e-books. I don’t know if I will. It’s just not the same.

  6. As the aforementioned Kindle-toter, I need to give a shout-out to my favorite device of all time.

    1. The Kindle and iPad are NOT the same, nor are they comparable from an e-reader perspective. the nook and the Sony e-reader are comparable because they all use “digital ink” technology that makes the visual experience very close to that of a book. The background gets brighter and provides more contrast in bright sunlight, where an iPad with its backlit screen adds to eye strain and washes out in sunlight.

    2. Not only does my father LOVE his Kindle — he is practically tethered to it — but my mom got one of her own because he wouldn’t share. They’re both in their mid/late 60s and they love the ability to make a book “large print” with the push of a button. Also, being on the same Amazon account means they can share books between them.

    3. I was once among those of you who resist the e-book because of the paper book experience. I have always been a reader and loved sharing books with friends just like Joanna. I also love to read series books and re-read them … and re-re-read them, like visiting old friends time and again. Because of this, my bookshelf is packed, with books standing straight, 2-deep, lying on their sides … whatever is necessary to keep them on the shelf somehow. Then one day, I was looking at my bookshelf, contemplating the overstuffed bookshelf that competes with my TV for living room domination and I realized that e-books might be the way to go. Now that the love affair with my Kindle is in full swing, I do miss the ability to lend books to friends, but what I love more is…

    4. Kindle books are cheaper than real books. I can’t speak to the nook or Sony e-readers because I don’t know how they operate, but Kindle books on Amazon are all at least a dollar or two cheaper, and sometimes much more than that. I recently pre-ordered a book due out in October for $9.99 on my Kindle. The paper version will be $24.99. Also, the battery life on the newer Kindles is longer and longer. I tend to keep my wireless connection turned off except when I want to buy a book, which means I get at least two weeks of life between charges if I’m reading now and then. One weekend, I spent an entire day reading two books in a row and got about 8-10 hours of straight reading done and drained the battery about halfway. Also, the Kindle and Palm Pre both use the same charger, which I find really convenient.

    5. Finally, the ability to take my entire library with me, to instantly have in my hands a book whose title was just mentioned on the radio or TV, to never again worry that I might need to bring an extra book along in case I finish this one in the middle of my journey… PRICELESS. I’ll give up lending books to friends for that level of convenience.

  7. I don’t have any objection to digital books – I love the idea, frankly, and find both the iPad and the Kindle attractive as devices. But I don’t have the least temptation to actually buy digital books, yet.

    I suffer from the traditional love of books as objects: I love their covers, their weight, their familiarity… I love having a home filled with bookshelves. Part of that is vanity, I guess — a home is partially a way of communicating to guests who you are and what is important to you. But a lot of it is the desire to surround myself with good friends. I know that any time I’m restless or bored or just in search of the right thing to think about I can prowl around my bookshelves and find a symbolic record of stories and ideas that have been important to me. Their shapes and colors become mnemonic triggers for the pleasure of remembering the first time them.

    I’m not the kind of person who tears through paperbacks, though… most of my books are ones that take a bit of dwelling on, and are good for many rereads over a lifetime. So I don’t feel much of a need to have ten books with me at any given time… usually having two or three good books with me is more than enough security.

    I suspect that sooner or later digital books will develop some advantage that will finally tempt me, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  8. I probably won’t be buying any E-books anytime soon. I’m a big fan of going to used book stores and hunting for “treasures”. I have a library in my house which is full of all the books I’ve read or intend to read. I like to read on the beach, near a pool, anywhere. I like taking a book out of my bag, not worrying about lighting, batteries, dirt. I like to dogear pages and circle important passages. I like when someone gives me a book and writes a note on the inside cover. I like that people don’t steal books, although an iPad is a target for thieves. And my favorite book, “The Good Book” is a special piece that was read out of at our wedding and many other special occasions. That could never be replaced by an electronic version.

    Garry

  9. though taken slightly out of context, i must say this anomaly is very similar to the tagline coined by the Washington Post Newspaper, ‘if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.’

    word of mouth often generates the biggest pay-off, so it’s unfortunate that capitalism in this case puts a value on the knowledge a person is able to share with others. my mother has many times gifted me with a book that i treasured because of its empowering me to be a better person – but without her putting it ‘into my hands’ i would be at a loss. your ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’ comment is the most practical solution to this problem.

    this is another case in which technological advancements put a limitation on the real life experience for something which has long been a past-time. since ancient days, the practice of information sharing has been so important, that scribes were dedicated to the copying and disseminating of oral traditions in order to more accurately record the custom of story-telling (so Joanna, i think in earnest that at some point in time or in history we were all ‘social readers’).

    this also means that an untold amount of people will be missing out on written works of art – particularly those which may have outreaching socio-cultural effects, if only given the chance.

    i totally understand why you have chosen not to purchase e-books at this time, and i applaud your efforts to continue to share enlightening information with those you interact with in both a personal and professional capacity. it’s clear how important that is to you!

  10. This I why I buy the real book always. Then I download the free PDF off the Internet, convert it using 2epub.com, then enjoy a digital copy too. I am policing myself to only doing to books I own physically. I compare it to buying a cd then importing it to iTunes. I see nothing wrong with it as long as you own the book.

  11. I’ve found that some books are better in print, whereas others are better on a kindle. It also depends on when and where you are reading. For sitting in the garden in the summer I’d go for a paperback but on a long haul flight I’d go for a kindle every time.

  12. I have just read my first ebook and although I did enjoy not having to carry a book around as well as ipad I really did miss the thought of”oh good,I have my book to read later” and the thought of the feel of the book in my hand ,the front and back pages,actual paper and holding it. It is actually rather difficult to put into words! It sounds a bit silly really but I loveBOOKS, book shops and especially used book shops. It felt a bit sad not holding a real book. Nostalgia! Thank goodness book shops are still around!

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