The more and more I use my Reader the more I love it. I noticed however most of whats on it is converted by me from freely available texts,free books I have gotten from fictionwise, etc and the 50$ in free books I got from the connect store for registering my Reader.
I was thinking about that some today and I wanted to share my thoughts before I forgot them... (a mind is a terrible thing...)
I prefer E-books for portablility, however I have a library of thousands of real paper books, my entire library of e-books is in the low hundreds(I have had some form of e-reader for years and in fact my Rocket Ebook is still working and full of books). This discrepency can be attributed to one thing:
Somebody needs to realize that e-books in order to really take off have to be CHEAPER then paper books. E-books are no less entertaining, they are not abridged, nor missing anything you might get in a paper book EXECPT THE PAPER!
Now, I understand the cost of the binding isnt really what drives the cost of a paper book, and that HardCovers are more expensive mainly because of the money paid out for aquiring the book, typsetting (even digital typsetting has some cost involved I am sure), and advertising and not so much the binding.
But lets look at an example:
Michael Crichton - "Next"
Hardcover edition from Borders: $15.37 (Next by Michael Crichton
E-book from Connect Store: $15.96 (I cant figure out how to make a link to the connect store, but its there...)
I didnt go looking for a book that was cheaper in print (I know I know, the list price on the hardcover is 27.95 and the list price on the e-book is 19.95 but this is real world purchasing here) I actually wanted to buy Next and looked to see if it was available in the Connect store.
I (and this is all just about my opinion) just can NOT bring myself to purchase a book in a DRM protected e-book format (that will probably be dropped in a couple years for something better or more secure) when it costs MORE than the HardCover edition.
In 10 years when I go to my library and look I can grab that hardcover and pull it out and read it again. When my reader fails or support is dropped and the format changes that e-book is GONE FOREVER.
I purchase ALL my digital music through Itunes. why? because it is cheap, cheap enough that I dont care if 5 years down the road all the music is useless because protected AAC files have been supplemented by something else. PLUS I can burn the music to a CD now to protect against a future AAC demise.
If e-book publishing took the same route (I dont think we would ever see 99 cent e-book new releases but I can dream) where you could either not care about loosing it because the cost is low, or allow an export to an unprotected format (like burning a CD of music) for future import to the next format or even a different reader should I decide I like the new full colour rollup epaper reader from brand x (where brand x isnt Sony) then e-books will reach sales no one has ever dreamed of.
Certainly licensing, copyright, sales everything has to be taken into account, I dont deny anyone making money especially the author. I would have no problem purchasing a book in both Paper and E book format as long as I didnt feel I was being taken. Right now I have to decide which I would prefer to have for each book, Why? Because I feel I am being hosed somewhere paying double the cost of a book so I can read it on paper and in e-book.
One solution (from a reader standpoint though not so much a publisher one) would be to include a download coupon with each paper book allowing the download of the book in e format from the publisher or various e-book stores either at a greatly reduced rate or even (dare to dream) free.
Disposable income is a very finite thing (in my case VERY VERY finite) and if the book in question isnt a carreer related book it falls into this catagory. This decision making process does not allow me to buy a book at full price twice so I usually default to the Paper book as it (at least by me) expected to have the longest shelf life.
I know there is a solution out there somewhere, someone just has to find it. I hope they find it soon.
Sorry for the length of this, but some things just need to be said.