Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Morning Musings: Would I Buy Ebooks?

Welcome to our first edition of Monday Morning Musings!

For our first edition, I'm going to dip my toes into the huge debate regarding the physical book versus the ebook.  And it will only be a "dip" of my toes because I don't actually own an ebook reader.  Therefore my viewpoint is only from one deciding if I would ever buy ebooks.

Firstly, I'm not a techno-phobe.  Far from it.  I LOVE technology.  I love gadgets and devices and systems that make things more efficient, accessible and instant.  It's why it was my career choice.  I thought the development of digital music was the best thing since sliced bread.  Really, truly.  The fact that I could load a tiny device up with thousands upon thousands of songs - songs I could purchase in the middle of the night if I wished? An utterly useful and thrilling revolution.

Since you can apply the same logic to the development of ebook readers, why haven't I jumped on this bandwagon with the same enthusiasm?

Books. The answer is books.  I love them.  I love to hold them, I love to see them sitting on my shelves.  CDs and their flimsy, cold, unloving plastic covers, I didn't miss them for a moment.  But books ... ahhh books ... I've always dreamed of having a room in my house, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling packed with books.

If you're a book lover, I'm sure you empathise.  I'm not here to sell the idea of a warm, inviting book to hold in your hands.

So I'm a technology and convenience lover (I am Gen-Y afterall) AND a book lover, and I find myself conflicted. My decision not to have an ebook reader at present is made easier by the fact I'm currently a stay at home mum so I don't often need to carry books out and about.  If I were commuting again, I'd probably give the ebook a lot more serious consideration.

If you've bought Blu-Ray movies lately, you may have seen these 3-in-1 versions.  They include the movie in three formats: Blu-Ray, DVD and electronic version.  The theory is when you buy that movie, you get a version to watch on your tv (the Blu-Ray), one to use in the car (the DVD) and one that you can download to your portable device (laptops,smart phones, PSPs etc).  Pretty nifty idea, and it certainly has enticed me on numerous occasions to purchase the more expensive Blu-Ray version over the cheaper DVD version.

If you apply the same theory to books, what would be the result? Let's throw some arbitrary numbers at a scenario (I'm not an expert on book prices, so forgive me but hopefully it's enough to get the idea).
Option 1: Paperback priced for $15
Option 2: Ebook priced for $10
Option 3: Paperback that includes an ebook version download, for $15-$18

If option 3 were available to me, I'm sure I'd often choose that in order to have the advantages that both physical and electronic books have to offer.  Does this option already exist anywhere out there? Here in Australia the ebook revolution is not quite as prolific as in the US, in fact the Kindle has only just started selling here this week. So I don't know many people who buy ebooks at all. (A friend of ours has purchased one and is going to do a guest post on her experience with it, so keep an eye out for that.)

Would you be enticed to spend a little more money on a two-for-one book/ebook bundle?

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