Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Poll is the New Blog

First: happy Veteran's Day!

Next: business. The last time I ran a poll (three long weeks ago), I wasn't too surprised to learn that about half of you are waiting for e-reader technology to improve before you'll decide to buy one. I must admit, however, that I was a taken a bit aback by the fact that nearly a third of you insist you will never buy one of those damnable devices so long as you live.

In the interest of science, I hereby submit to you the following follow-up poll:


  1. It's far too expensive for my college student ass. I'm glad we're having a discussion on some practical reasons as to why some people don't want to buy a new e-reader instead of just dismissing us as "fuddy-duddies" (*shudders at word*) who just don't like teh chaaaange.

  2. For me, the problem is a combination of the ones you've put in your poll. First and foremost, I have issues with the visual experience. My work requires me to spend long hours in front of a computer screen. My eyes get TIRED. Print is much more restful than looking at yet another computer-like screen, no matter how many cool features there might be to help me adjust the light levels, etc.

    Also, I read fast. Insanely fast. It's very frustrating for me to wait for pages to load. On a print book, I'm reading the next page almost before I finish flipping to it. Anything that slows down my reading speed through artificial means breaks me out of the reading experience. Plus, there's no easy way to flip-through to re-read the good parts or find that one reference I was looking for.

    Most importantly, however, I think my problem with e-books and e-readers lies in the browsing experience. When there is a shelf full of books, I can cast my eye over all those books, and covers, and comprehend exactly what I have stored there. A list on a screen (or even one of those cover browse things like I know they have on iPods) is not the same experience at all. I like to be able to organize my books in a method that makes sense to me, and to be able to browse through them instead of searching with a search engine. Hopefully I'm explaining this well, but anyone who's done serious research in a library should be able to understand when I say there is a huge difference between searching through a catalogue and actually getting down into the shelves to see what's stored next to what. The latter is an invaluable experience that enables us to process information that can't be easily stored/accessed through a cataloguing system, and it is the thing I am most afraid of losing to the e-book revolution.

  3. I just don't need one. The current technology meets my needs perfectly. I'm not gonna get an e-reader for the same reason I'm not gonna get a 75" digital TV. I just don't need one. I just can't imagine a technological advance that'll make an e-reader necessary for me.

    Unless there are no books on paper. Then I'll be first in line.

    But otherwise, it's not a question of disliking them, just finding them utterly beside-the-point.

  4. For me, the price is a huuuuggge obstacle. Also, I don't think the technology is all there yet. I would like it to be faster, sharable (more than once), and I would like some way for me to put my current books on there.

    I know that's a long shot, but I've already spent so much money on books, that I would hate to have to begin my library all over.

    Also, when I travel, I don't find my books too bulky, especially since I don't travel a lot. So for now, I can simply take the book I'm reading with me, and avoid all the other problems.

  5. I picked a combination. I am wary of any electronic gizmos where I store books I have purchased. It only takes a fluke to lose everything (I've had that experience one too many times with the darn computer!).

    I also like to flip back through pages and I don't see how that is easy to do on a device. I haven't really seen a screen, yet, so I can't really comment on whether or not it looks like print on a page. I only know I hate reading things on the computer after awhile and can only imagine that's what it would be like on one of those contraptions.

    And the fact that there are too many types of e-books to choose from. Once you pick one, you're pretty stuck with that version. Maybe if there was one universal e-book, it would be different, but then again, maybe not.

  6. While for me it is some combination of all of the above, mostly, I would feel robbed of my reading experience: feeling the pages, smelling the binding, flipping back to quickly look at the cover to compare to something I just read.

    Also, I spend ALL day in front of a computer screen writing articles and reading emails and surfing the web and getting my news. Reading a real book makes for maybe, just maybe, at least one hour or two of my life that I'm not in front of a glowing screen.

  7. I can't vote 'cause I bought a Kindle, but I agree with the smell of the book and the feel of it in your hands.
    I personally love my kindle, but I'm still buying audiobooks and real books.
    I don't think it's a replacement for books at all, but an add on.

    I like Bingol's comparison to a "75 screen TV. It's definitely not necessary. And if you bought one and put it in your living room for the family to watch, it wouldn't replace the tv in your bedroom, would it?

    The Look of a Book on a Nook (or other eInk reader):
    I also stare at computer screens all day. I must say that as long as you buy an eReader with eInk technology screen, it's exactly like looking at paper and there is NO eye strain. It mimicks very well the look of a book.

    Anyways, eye strain issues asside, I totally agree there are lots of reasons not to buy an eReader. For people who think it won't work for you: you have permission to NOT BUY ONE. It's ok. Publishers will love you and so will my next book. :D

  8. I will only ever buy an e-reader if it's cheap enough that I can buy one and load it with books for a long flight, and have it be not only a little bit more expensive than buying the hard copy books (which are a pain in the butt to travel with).

    Tactile experience is the #1 reason. I like books. The feel, the smell, the ability to see the spines lined up on my shelves, my ability to flip through and find a certain favorite line because I remember that it was on the top left of the page about 2/3 in...

  9. I prefer to hold paper books in my hand, and I know I alsways will. It's AMAZING the number of people who insist that I'm wrong, and try pushing eReaders on me like heroin.

    It's getting pretty annoying.

  10. Combination:

    I'm pretty sure a $10 e-book is more expensive than a $7 paperback, and that $300 paperweight that needs electricity doesn't make it any more attractive.

    Books are faster to flip through, have higher resolution text and photos, can be shared easily, fit in your jacket pocket, cannot be wirelesly retracted by Amazon, and can be sold or given away as gifts...easily.

    Also, the e-reader is a single-task device. When I can surf the Web and create documents on it (and get phone calls and listen to music), then I'll give it another look.

  11. For me it's a combination of the tactile experience and the high price point. Like others have pointed out, I too like actual, real books. The feel of the paper, the smell, the whole reading experience. I also feel I can't really justify a $260 gadget to read books when I can instead just buy $260 worth of books.

    On the other hand, I am very much a child of the electronic age and I love me some gadgets. Both the Kindle and the nook have tempted me, but I keep coming back to the fact that I can buy a whole lot of great books for the price of either a Kindle or a nook. And I already love the physical book reading experience, and that just ends the thought process right there.

  12. Can't vote, I just bought a Kindle last week to replace my Sony Reader. I am the person who reads almost 1 book per day, always has a book in my purse and packs 1 book per day of vacation, so the space saving is huge. My husband loves that there are way fewer towers of paperbacks all around the house. (And I can reread prior purchases without sacraficing physical space!) My old books don't always make the cut at the used book stores, so I was recycling them a lot of the time.
    Plus, the screen isn't like the computer- no backlight and the pages turn just as fast as physically turning a page. The sharing thing is a bummer, but I rarely share anyway. Too few friends read the same kind of books I do.

  13. Eye strain, price (reader and book), tactile experience, and the fact that in most cases, you don't actually own the book you purcharsed. It's bad enough you can lose a book if the electronics fail, but to be at the mercy of the retailer should they decided to yank the title you've paid for is unacceptable.

  14. I voted for a combination. The tactile experience is major, plus when I know a book well I'm used to being able to flip quickly to the right page if I'm looking for a specific passage.

    Other factors:

    I have no qualms about taking a book to the beach or some place that could be hazardous to electronics. If a book gets lost or damaged, I've lost one book, not an expensive piece of hardware plus my whole collection.

    I can easily lend a book. I know there is a "lending" feature coming into the electronic world, but that only works for someone who also has a Kindle.

  15. 1. I have more than 20 bookshelves full of books. I need more?

    2. The e-reader is an expensive tool whose battery will die in roughly two years. If it can't be replaced easily, it's a paperweight.

    3. DRM means none of the books I buy belong to me. Wanna tell me why I should pay hardback prices for that again?

    4. My experience with Microsofts e-book program back in the 1990s ended when the software refused to re-authorize itself, locking me out of my books, including a book I had created using its software and Project Gutenberg editions. One bad experience doesn't encourage me to try again.

  16. I voted for the tactile experience. A great book has substance to it, and I want to feel the weight of that substance in my hands while I read it. When I think of curling up on the couch with a book and a cup of tea, I never envision holding a light-weight gizmo in my hand to do it. Keep in mind that I'm in my late 30's and older than the average Kindle/Nook/whatever lover. Just one opinion.

  17. I can only read a computer screen for so long before my eyes give out on me. So I hit other. But my second choice would be the tactile experience with a close-behind third of the price point.

  18. They keep telling us to keep cell phones away from our ears--why do I want emfs when I am doing something good for me like reading a novel?

  19. I've read on my iPod Touch, using the Stanza e-reader, and it's quite good. It's handy when waiting in line at a grocery store, or waiting for a movie to start at theaters. But I didn't buy it for an e-reader, I bought it for music and apps, like tracking my to-read list, and checking email.

    When Apple comes out with a larger screen, I'll probably upgrade and read more.

    My problem is I'm not going to pay $250 for an e-reader, when I can pay that much for a multi-function device (mp3, e-reader, email, video) with far greater functionality.

  20. A combination of some of the above.

    Mostly, I like BOOKS. I like the feel, the smell, the comfort. I like that my books won't break, that I can flip through them easily, that I can browse bookshelves on a Saturday afternoon. Like a lot of the comments, I sit in front of a computer all day every day and my eyes are tired. I like reading to my little boy and watching him flip the pages. I like BOOKS.

  21. I'm not buying an ebook reader because:
    1) I did the math and even assuming the ebooks are cheaper than paper books (which they're not), the "break-even" point before I made back the money I lost by buying the device was INSANE.
    2) As mentioned above -- I'd rather be able to read ebooks on my already-purchased multifunction devices than have to buy one more damn thing that needs recharging all the time.
    3) Also as mentioned above -- we are not yet allowed to buy ebooks, only lease them, and only lease them under very consumer-punitive conditions.
    4) Also also as mentioned above -- we can't lend ebooks either.

    Look: paper books are successful in part because any idiot can use them. I can even use a book written in a language I can't read, even if the format is different from what I'm used to (say, like a book from Asia meant to be read with the book's spine to the right). Ebooks have nowhere near that usability.

  22. --I like books--don't need this gadget. I would like a netbook though.

    --I want bookstores to be around for the rest of my life (and my sons' lives too. They like bookstores and don't seem at all interested in e-readers, so I'm not just a grumpy older reader). I like to choose my books by browsing through a bookstore or library, and I enjoy buying books on impulse (harder to do online).

    --I get tired of clicking/reading things on the screen all day and half the night.

    --I appreciate the book as an aesthetic object (book cover etc)

    --my husband and I work in book publishing and book printing and hope to keep a roof over our heads, to say nothing of paying college tuition

    --when the price goes way down someday, I'll probably buy one for those times when I have nothing to read.

  23. I frequently compare the ereaders to the evolution of the cell phone. I interned in publishing this summer, and this response is a combination of what I learned there and my own feelings.

    When mobile phones first came out, it was the car phone, aka Kindle 1.0 - clunky, hard to use, way too expensive. Moving on, we got the cell phone, aka improvements on the Kindle. We're just now moving into the cell phone that does more than just make calls, and that just isn't good enough of an ereader for me. Ereaders have already made vast improvements - why wouldn't you want to wait a year or two and see what else they come out with?

    Also, the constant complaint about the tactile experience is something that must be addressed. Ereader developers are clearly working with a book-like model, and that's good. But we need a combination of the tactile experience with the digital era that will please the majority (this is all about money, isn't it?). So far, shiny and new (and expensive) hasn't translated too well. For some reason, books are "sacred" and digital reading isn't taking off quite as hoped.

    I'll be waiting for at least the flip phone of ereaders, if not the smartphone. Another good thing about the evolution of cell phones is the price - it's come down drastically since the beginning, and ereader prices will fall - maybe not today, but they will. Then my college ass will be able to afford one.

  24. Totally can't afford one.

    Besides, how CAN I show off my superb--and intimidating--reading choices at school with an e-reader? Hmmm?

  25. You can't get an ebook autographed.

  26. I remember reading a small piece when the buggy whip folks went out of business how happy the horses were... for *tactile* reason of course!

    Haste yee back ;-)

  27. It's just another frickin' gadget. I don't need it.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. I love the idea of an e-reader. I would probably continue to buy fiction in traditional book form, but I don't read a lot of nonfiction precisely because I would only read it once and don't have the shelf room, so I would love an e-reader for nonfiction and particularly technical books, textbooks, etc. that are expensive and go obsolete quickly, especially if the e-market lets you purchase the updated editions at a discount. The reason I haven't bought one yet is a combination of the price point, and the fact that I haven't really gotten the opportunity to see and touch and test one out in person yet and I'm not going to make that kind of purchase sight-unseen.

  30. Wow, three recurring errors:

    eReaders create no greater eye strain than using a book. Possibly less so since you can change the font to your preferred size. It uses electronic ink. It is not an LCD.

    As such, second, it's not a computer screen. At least, by what you call a computer screen (CRT or LCD). The ink is not projected light but an actual substance that takes form by a an electrical current run through it. There are no "glowing screens" unless you shine a light on it.

    Third, few ebooks cost the same as a hardback. That price point is going to continue to solidify as it gains market share. The wild $30 price tags for some ebooks out there is a third-market opportunistic sale that doesn't reflect the market as a whole or the direction in which it is going.

  31. I voted "other" because when I finish a book I've enjoyed, I like to give it to someone else to enjoy as well - family and friends, the local library, hospital, long term care facility, school, and to our local little museum, which resells paperbacks as a way to raise funds.

    Besides, I spend all day in front of the computer. My eyes couldn't take it.

  32. I had so many grammatical/verb agreement errors in my original post that I had to delete it and re-post. Oy vey. Not that you care. It's just that... oh, nevermind. Here, the revised post:

    I voted "other."

    I already have an iPhone. I don't need yet another device that does something my phone already does.

    I prefer old school paper books, but having several novels in my pocket at all times is a great thing just for convenience and availabilititude, so I do buy e books once in a while. But an e reader? I say, "No!" The e reader is what the Palm used to be, back before cell phones started doing all the things the Palm did. Eventually, people realized that they didn't need both devices. In the future, people will realize that they don't need both an e reader and a cell phone that does the exact same thing. You Kindle people just need to start drinking the iPhone Kool Aid and realize the Glorious Truth.

  33. I'm tired of all the new whiz tech gadgets that seem to be on an endless assembly lines of releases (I'm 25, by the way). When I want to read a book, I just want the book. I don't want the bells and whistles, and I especially don't want to look at another screen (regardless of e-ink). I want a break from technology for that little bit of my day. I don't want to spend the next sixty years of my life switching between screens and buzzing gadgets.

  34. Oh, and by the way:

    Kendra said...

    "I am the person who reads almost 1 book per day...etc."

    WTH? Kendra reads a book a day? What, like "See Spot Run" type of books? Comic books? Between working, sleeping and internet gambling, I'm lucky if I get in two hours of reading a day. How can I become more like Kendra?

  35. I voted high price point, but I thought it might bear a little bit more detail.

    I was able to test drive an eReader, and I loved it. I loved using the machine and I loved the convenience of it.

    BUT. I did not love the eBook process - buying/authorizing/juggling. The Sony eBook store was clunky and difficult to use.

    I did not love the eBook prices - for the same cost as a hardcover book, I cannot share my books with friends, display it on my bookshelf, or feel confident that it would still be readable in five years (which book format will win? Nobody knows! epub, you're the next contestant on the eBook format war!)

    I think that buying and using eBooks should be fun, not frustrating.

    I also did not love the eReader price. For the SAME MONEY, I can buy a netbook computer, or an iPod Touch. Don't get me wrong, there are definite benefits to using an actual eReader as opposed to a more powerful machine that happens to be able to read eBooks, but the cost vs functionality on them is more than a little off balance, I think.

    Give me more functionality. Ease the frustration of a legitimate reader just trying to buy an eBook. Lower the price so that an eReader isn't a luxury.

    Then, I will buy one, and with a happy heart.

  36. Someone tell me why I should by a dedicated e-reader when I can already read books on my iPhone. I'm saving up for a pocket touchscreen laptop that does it all. It's probably already out there, somewhere.

  37. Why on earth would I want to spend $100 and up on simply a DEVICE to use to read books that I would then spend more to buy than a decent paperback copy of the same book? Not only would I be paying more than my budget allows to own the device, but I would have to purchase fewer books to read, because they would cost me more to read them.

    Also, I tend to share my books with my siblings. No matter how you look at it, having some sort of e-reader device with your books on it makes it much more inconvenient to share books with friends and family.

    I'm sorry, but I just don't foresee myself getting in on this whole e-reader craze any time in the near future. In the current state of my finances, it is a frivolous expense that simply is unjustifyable.

  38. Glad to see so many other people are book-sniffers like I am, LOL!

    I like my printed books just fine, but I would already have a reader if they were less expensive. I can shell out, say, $100 for something like that, but that's about my limit.

  39. I have a Sony Touch, and for the first few weeks I couldn't stop petting it; the back of it feels almost like leather, so for me the tactile experience has been lovely.

    The screen is nothing like a computer screen, as easy on the eyes as print on paper is, and you can enlarge the font size (can't do that in a paperback). I can load manuscripts onto it, make notes on them, and transfer the notes to my computer with a few clicks, which saves my eyes countless hours of staring at the computer screen (I'm an editor).

    I can flip through the pages using a slider or jump to any page number or browse through a book for specific words using the Find feature (can't do that in a paperback).

    I can hold the book and turn pages with one hand without dropping the book and losing my page. I was a chronic paperback dropper.

    Yes, e-readers are expensive. For me, what you get is worth the price.

    Until a few months ago, I never thought I'd be able to give up the feel of a "real" book in my hands. Now that I've used an e-reader, I don't miss paper books a bit.

  40. The price is too high.I need it backlit. I'd like to be able to use a stylus to make notes. I want wireless.By the way the last time I looked I could have all these features just not on the same e reader.

  41. waiting for Apple to redefine the category, as it usually does.

    I expect to read in both formats. And I think there will be lots of content (e.g. short serialized fiction) available for eReaders but not offered in print.

  42. If I lose a book or it's stolen while I'm not paying attention in some public spot then I'm out $2-$25. Plus, who honestly steals books?

    If I lose, drop, or have an e-reader stolen then I'm out $300. And a shiny electronic device is a lot more likely to attract unwanted thieving attention.

    I use an e-reader on my iPhone for public domain books, but that's mostly because I figure I might as well take advantage of the functionality since I'm carrying the thing with me anyways. Otherwise the price point needs to come way down before it's worth risking carrying it to all the places I carry a book without worry.

  43. Add a phone, internet, photos, music, some fun apps, Microsoft word, lower the price on the device AND the books then we may have a deal. Although, I would only use it as an extra to my book collection. I'd still buy paperback books. Can't help it. I'm 18. I grew up in this technology era and yet there is still something about books. I figure that if it does more than let you read books then it would be worth it and I wouldn't feel so guilty still spending money on paperbacks...

  44. I'm not able to view the results of this poll, and I'm curious! I plan to get one eventually, but I want to test them out in person before I decide which one, now that there are several arriving on the market.

  45. I'm on the computer all day so when an author sends me a book I have to read on screen it is a drag because that's two more hour(at least)of sitting in front of a screen as opposed to on my comfy rocking chair or couch. But if more and more books are going to be e-books I'd prefer the e-reader to reading them on my computer screen. Also, with my personal reading I do a lot of flippng back and forth--checking what a person said in another scene, who was with Miss Scarlett in the library right before she died, that sort of thing which would be a big pain on an e-reader. Price of course is the deciding factor. I wouldn't pay that much for something I don't need and don't really want. I'd rather spend it on books!

  46. Jodi wrote: "Also, with my personal reading I do a lot of flippng back and forth--checking what a person said in another scene, who was with Miss Scarlett in the library right before she died, that sort of thing which would be a big pain on an e-reader."

    Flipping back and forth is a breeze on an e-reader, and it's much easier to locate certain words/phrases than in a regular book.

  47. I like to fold corners. You can't do that on an e-reader.

  48. 1. The pages turn too slowly, making an uncomfortable reading experience.

    2. It's a unitasker. I'd rather have an iphone which can be a an e-reader and so much more.

  49. It hurts my eyes to read a computer screen for long periods of time.

    I can take a paperback book to the beach, to the springs, to the pool, where ever I want to take a book and I don't have to worry about the battery dieing or the electronics getting messed up because of the elements.

    And there is nothing that can compare to holding a book in my hands and flipping through the pages.

    Perusing my bookshelves looking for something to read is so much faster and easier, than searching through files on a computer or tiny screen. I can see hundreds of titles at one time, then zero in on one that appeals to me.

  50. I picked "combination." The cost is certainly a factor--I'm living on a disability check, and spending money that I don't have on an e-reader is not practical--especially when all I have to do to read is pick up a real book.

    I also do not like the fact that e-books can be deleted by distributors from e-readers, or that some distributors are taking it upon themselves to digitally edit certain words in published e-books as a sort of watermark to say if the book was illegally downloaded. I don't like the fact that many e-readers narrow the scope of reading (you cannot read a non-Kindle book on a Kindle).

    And I really, REALLY don't like the fact that I'd ultimately have to keep paying for the e-reader in electric bills. For I would have to keep the e-reader charged or I would not be able to read it.

    With a print book, I don't have to worry about spending more money for electricity, or about the reader falling and being damaged, or about half of my library being inaccessible if my neighborhood has one of its all-too-frequent blackouts in the winter. With a print book, I don't have to concern myself with screen glare; I don't have to adjust the font to compensate for the size of the reader. I don't have to fret about the possibility of the e-reader's battery dying mid-chapter.

    All I have to do with a print book is open it and read it. Much simpler and much cheaper.

    Finally, I like the tactile experience of print books. I like the way their covers feel, and the satiny feel of shiny illustrations. I like the smell of ink and wood. I like the rustle of pages. I like the solid weight of hardbacks and the way that a paperback fits neatly into my hand. For me, there's no comparison.

    As Jodi said, "I wouldn't pay that much for something I don't need and don't really want. I'd rather spend it on books!"

  51. It's a combination of the high price point and the fact that you don't actually own the books that you buy. Even at 9.99, I want more rights to my e-books than DRM currently allows.

  52. I voted combo. The flipping is an issue for me. But mostly I love books, the stories, the covers, the smell, the whole experience. I grew up loving them. I always have a novel, like a security blanket, sitting on my nightstand, waiting for me.

    They make me feel safe as houses. They remind me of rainy afternoons and lazy days at the beach. Happy Birthday gifts, signed by my father, a friend, my husband and son. Treasures.

    But eventually I think we're all going to have to adjust to the new technology. Change with the times and all of that. When they improve, the price goes down, and there are less and less paper books, I'll buy one.

  53. I picked "other" in the poll. I'm not opposed to e-readers, but I definitely won't be getting one soon. Here are a few of my reasons:

    1) Price. Right now, I cannot justify the expense. I would have to spend my entire book budget for a year just to buy a device.

    2) Proprietary formats. I don't want to spend money on ebooks I might not be able to read should the format die out.

    3) Display issues. Some of the nonfiction books I read have diagrams, some of which are in color. I would need an e-reader that could display them properly. Thus far, I haven't heard of an e-reader that excels in this.

    4) Physical survivability. I'm not going to spend a bundle on an e-reader unless I'm sure it can survive life in my house. For my paper books, life at my house has meant occasional dousings with water, encounters with bored dogs looking for excitement, and side trips to the heat and sand of Iraq. I really don't need another electronic gizmo I have to treat with kid gloves.

  54. I agree with everything said by Anonymous at 10:17AM (11-11).

    I work on my computer a lot, too, and sometimes when I'm done the LAST thing I want to do is keep looking at a screen. Actual paper books are more restful for me. Again, as said by my referenced commenter, I enjoy being able to flip back and forth through a book, and I don't want to wait for pages to load. I like being able to carry a book with me to pull out with having to load things, charge things, etc. I have enough other technology in my life. So my vote was a combination of the tactile experience and the inability to flip through books easily.

    I'm also glad this survey was posted because it's infuriating when some people assume that just because the internet, computers and cell phones have become prolific (and I'm a fan of all of these technologies), that people will no longer want to read a hard copy of a book, or that the only people who would want to do that are from a dying generation. I'm 30, which is no longer the up-and-coming generation, but hardly an age at which one is no longer able to adapt. I just like my paper books. I think that no matter how cheap e-readers become, there will always be people who love their e-books and always be people who prefer their paper ones. And both are okay!

  55. There are many perfectly good reasons for not buying a dedicated e-book reader, but as others have pointed out, eyestrain from "reading on a screen" is NOT one of those.

    E-readers like Sony, Kindle, and Nook (as opposed to iPod/iPhone, Blackberry, etc., type gadgets) do not have computer-like screens; they use a totally different kind of display technology that is as restful on the eyes as reading paper books. (An added bonus for those of us getting on in years is that you can enlarge the text to reduce eyestrain even more.)

    I don't think it's an either-or situation, and I hope it never is. I love my paper books AND I love my Kindle.

  56. I'm all of the above except for subway ... live in California &, though I take the bus, there's 0 cache to what I am or am not reading.

    was in the Grove (L.A.) @ the nook chain yesterday, & the display was being set up. there wasn't any live demos, just pamphlets. I was curious, a bit. but I still like my books.

    headed upstairs and browsed the YA section & the fiction, a wonderful experience marred only by the two (LOUD) men on cell phones who, apparently, mistook an otherwise quiet bookstore for the office they no longer have ...

  57. One word: marginalia. As in, I can't write/make notes/scribble my frustrations in an e-book. Furthermore, even if I could make marginal notes in an e-book, an e-book is not actually a book but a license to view that text for a certain period of time. Where am I in x amount of time when my license expires or the publisher or the e-reader company want to charge me money to retain/convert/upgrade/whatever my licenses to another device? And what about interoperability? I make notes in books that I'm going to be re-reading for years if not decades, and if I can't be sure that I'm going to be able to access my notes until the day I die, it really isn't worth it. Whereas with a physical book, I buy the text and the right to do whatever I want to it once and they're both mine forever.

    Further, I find the whole e-book craze to be a rather myopically First World problem. Only 1.6 billion people have access to the Internet, and not even all of them can afford print books, to say nothing of the 4.4 billion people in the world who don't have the Internet at all.

  58. For me, one of the main reasons is that my favorite place to read is in the bathtub before bed. :)

  59. Yes, I want an e-reader, yes, I think they're cool. I'm waiting for the Mac Tablet. I'm a Steve Jobs groupie if there ever was one.

  60. I like my books :( I find e-readers depressing.

  61. For all those who say "there is no eye strain!" - maybe for YOU. I've tried all the e-readers, and baby, there's eye strain. We're all different, we don't all function the same, so hallelujah that the e-reader screens don't bother your eyes. For others, it's still a pain.

  62. I love "having" books. And I want my kids to have the experience of searching our bookshelves for something new and interesting to read in front of the fire on a rainy day. What people have on their shelves (their real shelves--not the ones most people have in their public rooms) can tell you a lot about personalities and preferences. It won't be as easy to glance at someone's nook to take a peak into his or her psyche.

  63. I have a Kindle and have really enjoyed it, especially the dictionary that almost instantaneously pulls up the definition of a word when the cursor is moved to it. The only problem with the Kindle is that it doesn't have a backlight.

    But my Kindle doesn't replace books, it only adds a different reading experience. I don't have to choose between the two. :o)

  64. Haven't bought one yet because I will use it for travel alone, and so therefore I'm waiting till the tech shakes out a little more. I am old enough to remember VHS vs. Betamax, and with all the proprietary junk and no "settled" text format, I don't want to buy a soon-to-be white elephant.

    And I'm a bibliophile as well as a reader. If paper goes away, what about my lovely dust jackets? What about signed first editions? What about my fondness for my many and lovely book shelves and cases?

  65. "other" soon as you shell out the bucks, a newer snazzier one will come out and then THAT one will be the "it" thing. I'm just going to wait out the next - 3-5 years? - watching from the sidelines until the phone/laptop/reader/ is invented. I guess I'll use my iPhone until then, although I've never used the ereader app.

  66. Call me cynical but I don't trust the future of this technology. The vicious costly cycle of the rest of my technological existence has taught me an enduring lesson. Having to replace my phone every two years and my lap top every three is enough built in obsolescence for one life, thanks all the same.

  67. I just mentioned this on Nathan Bransford's blog - I don't want to shell out several hundred dollars for a device to read the books, on top of having to buy the books themselves, when I can just buy a printed book and be done with it.

    There's no chance of my printed book being deleted or the file being corrupted or one of the other million other things that unexpectedly happen to electronic devices.

    And if I run out of shelf space, I'll just buy a bigger house. :D No, really, if I run out of shelf space, I can simply donate the books I no longer read to my local library. Or ship them to a friend who owns a used book store.

    That way, they go to help people find great books at a good price.

  68. I didn't say no last time, just not yet. It's a combination of the high price point (both of the reader and the books, since I can buy regular books for $10 without also dropping $300+ for the privilege) and the inability to loan books to friends.

    Both of these reasons are slowly disappearing.

  69. As was already stated, I just don't need one, and I don't buy what I don't need. It's a fairly simple concept, but the more you have, the more you have to maintain. I'm simply not interested in adding to my weekly, monthly or yearly maintenance time -- I have a daughter, a home and a car for all of that!

  70. eReaders are totally impractical for me. I spend 8 months of the year running a beach business. The beach is a terrible environment for electronics - I go through 2-3 cell phones and mp3 players each summer. Cheap and dispoable are the watch words.

    The other problem is convenience. I don't own a television - I read. It seems that trying to use an eReader to read 5-8 books a week would be a major hassle. I'd wear out the page-turner thingy in a hurry. I would lose access to most of the collection in my local library. How would I import my personal library into such a device?

    I might consider an eReader in another year, when I'll be spending winters running a beach business down in Brazil. At that point the ability to carry a large library around might be an advantage.

  71. I am deeply uninterested in any type of electronic reader, because I love the smell, feel and look of books, they are easy to use and usually easy on my eyes. I love my library of books surrounding me. I get pleasure from roaming around bookstores, new and old, though particularly old, because I never know what I might find, and it's an experience in itself. I also enjoy a relationship of some sort with the bookseller. I'm a bibliophile as well as a reader, and will probably remain so. It doesn't worry me if others go for the e-reader devices, and I'm not afraid of the new technology. I think books will go on for some time yet in their current form, in co-existence with electronic devices. Cheers!

  72. I voted "some combination of the above" because I have books, like books, like to hold and flip through books, and don't feel like spending $200+ dollars for a thing that will still require me to buy book downloads. And I'm a late adopter who tends to live by "good enough" - books are still good enough for me.

  73. I love BOOKS. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the sight of them piled up on every surface in my home.

    As a writer, I also study craft. I like to be able to use post-its or turn down pages I want to re-read or even highlight passages.

    BOMC sells real books for $9.95 with free shipping so I can have the real thing in my hands for the same price as a much inferior (in my opinion) ebook.

    Fun poll, though!

  74. I can't vote because I've already bought a Kindle and I love it. But I wanted to comment on the "tactile" experience so many are mentioning. I bought a leather cover for my Kindle. It looks like a book and feels like a book. When I'm reading it, I forget it's not a physical book. Really.

  75. I voted "Other," so here's the explanation:
    I wouldn't want all my "library" in one place that can be so easily harmed. One accident and the whole thing is gone! ouch!
    Also, I write in the margins, underline, color-code, etc. in my books. It just wouldn't be the same on an e-reader. Even if all the color-coding and margin writing could be typed, it wouldn't be in my handwriting and carry the correct emotional message when I re-read it years later.

  76. I voted 'Tactile experience'.

    I spend all day staring at screens, as does my fiance. We're pretty much glued to them. The last thing either of us really want to do is turn my books into another screen. You can't touch and curl up so well with an e-reader, you can't smell it or hear the refreshing sound of crisp paper bending when a page is turned. Somehow books are much more comfortable when they're still books.

  77. DRM. Right there, I'm out.

    A close second is "all the other stuff you listed."

  78. @anonymous about the eyestrain: e-readers that use the e-ink technology, vs. LCD or other backlit screens, are the ones that don't contribute to eyestrain any more than a book does. The very act of reading strains the eyes -- so in that sense, yes, these e-readers "cause" eyestrain. Just as reading a book causes it.

  79. I just don't want one more gadget. I'm waiting for the all in one. Probably the rumored tablet by apple because you know they'll get into the fray and they'll probably do it well.

  80. I just can't get past the idea of cuddling up in bed with a screen. It just doesn't work. Besides, books smell good. I don't like the look of the new e-readers, the price, especially for normal reading. I actually think for textbooks e-readers would be great, but when I'm reading in bed just for fun, I want a plain old paper book.

  81. It's too expensive, given that it will probably die in a few years, and what if I lose it? If I lose a single book, no big deal, it's not that expensive. If I lose an e-reader, I've lost my entire library at one stroke. It's a serious concern considering I carry books with me all over the place, and would do the same for a reader if I owned one.

    Also, DRM. I'm not buying anything with DRM on it ever again, so until no DRM is the standard for e-readers, I don't want one. I'm sick of being treated like a criminal when I legally buy books and music.

  82. had to go with other: as a techno-slacker, i have yet to get an ipod-slash-generic mp3 player (and i weep over the corpses of my discmans). i'm sadly behind on these young folks and all their new fangled technology (okay, i'm 25 and my 50-something year old godmother has had a kindle for about a year already soooo... i guess maybe that's not a good excuse either) anyway, if i can't get pass my love of CD booklets, there's little hope for me giving up books either.

  83. Hi Eric,

    Alright, here goes.

    1/ Breakability. If the bag where you shoved your regular book receives a knock, you don't care.
    2/ Stealability (neologisms ahoy). If someone snatched my mass-market paperback, no huge deal.
    3/ Lock down. A regular book can't un-print itself at the merchant's whim.
    4/ Virtual 0 and 1s make very unappetizing Christmas gifts.
    5/ Dematerialization of contents comes with a loss of perceived value. Since you're getting nothing physical in exchange, shelling out non trivial amounts of cash doesn't seem like a good proposition. Exactly how low are you willing to sell an ebook?
    6/ If you make the ereader the key product of the deal, I can use my ereader just as well with free stuff from Gutemberg or, heavens forbid, For ebooks to work out, ereaders need to be cheap, interchangeable, or in a word: transparent. The real product here is supposed to be the book, remember.

    Personally, I think the push for ebooks is the publishing industry shooting itself in the foot. In the short run, yeah, you'll be slashing production costs. In the long run you'll be slashing revenue, and there will be no putting that cat back in the bag.

    Do note that the technical possibility to exchange texts numerically has existed much longer than the possibility to exchange music numerically -- and yet MP3s downloading has taken over in a way book downloading hasn't. Maybe that's something worth thinking of.

  84. I picked combination. I like the tactile experience of reading a book, but I think that would be compensated for by the convenience of being able to transport a lot of books at once. For guidebooks this would be especially useful.

    The price of the device is putting me off, but it's not that alone. It's more the fact that I'm worried I'll be stuck with a paperweight in a few years. I waited to buy a high-def DVD player until the format war had been won for the same reason. So I'll probably wait until there's a single file format, like the mP3, that's the clear winner.

    Here's what I want:
    A universal file format
    A device that's not tied to one retailer
    Access to local titles (not currently available with the Kindle International)
    A website or somewhere that I can back up my e-books so if something happens to my device, I haven't lost my library
    The ability to download a title via wifi from a bookstore. That way, I can still browse a physical bookstore, then get the book in the format I want while the bookstore still gets money from me.

  85. I haven't really gotten the opportunity to see and touch and test one out in person yet and I'm not going to make that kind of purchase sight-unseen. Can you also write something about the Computer support

  86. I love books.
    I love PAPER books.
    And, like so many other people, I spend my work day staring at a computer screen. The last thing I want to do is take a computer book to bed with me!

    E-readers don't smell as wonderful as ink, paper, and leather, either. And besides...what do you do when it fails? And you KNOW it'll fail. A paper book won't.

    Price, need, everything else as well. I simply don't need it, I don't see the need to spend the money on a "gizmo" when a paper book is a perfectly good, and failproof, alternative.

    And yeah, I'm a dinosaur. :-)


  87. I really want one! I have been hinting to the hubby that this would be a great Christmas present for me (and a netbook). We'll see what Santa brings.

  88. I voted "other": my reason is that for $9.99 I don't actually feel like I "own" the book (or "book", if that isn't too much quotation abuse). So I guess, high price point, but I mean the price of the books, not the reader.

    If a reader had access to tons of books and each book would cost me one or two dollars, then I would consider buying one. Or if I could use the reader to borrow a book from the library and read the book that way, I would also consider buying a reader.

  89. All of the above minus the who sees me reading what. Plus DRM, the price of individual e-books, the availablity of e-books. Also the multi-software device as an e-book reader is too small for me to read comfortably or too large to use casually (i.e. laptop) That is just the short-term, keep me away from e-books, resons.

    The long-term category of why I refuse to get an e-reader has to do with the fact that I work with data management and e-archiving. The long-term data storage and retrieval options for software in general and e-book software in particular are sub-standard and generally useless. This is due to the nature of proprietary software and planned obsolescence in modern business practices. I have a personal library that I re-read on a regular basis. Some of these books are 20 years old and will be with me until I die. At work, I have archived data from 10 years ago (and more) that I can't retrieve thanks to new and improved electronic media and forced upgrades.

    When e-books and e-readers attain the durability and long-term accessability that books on paper have, then I'll invest in the technology. After all, I only have so much wall space.

  90. The high price point, the tactile experience, the inability to flip through books.

    Hey look! I was brief about something.

  91. My netbook fills multiple needs and competes nicely wiht a dedicated ebook reader.

  92. I won't by an e-reader for one reason: a paperback will never be obsolete so I can't read it.

    I don't want the same thing that happens to music to happen to books. I've bought the same song on cassette, CD, and now MP3. I'm not going to buy a book on Kindle, then Uber Kindle, then Ultra Super Uber Kindle.

    This will happen, so I'll stick with paper. My copy of Catcher in the Rye is still perfectly readable 20 years after I bought it, and I like it that way.

  93. As other people have said, it's the high price of the individual books, not the reader itself. I get 99% of my books from the library, and when I buy one, it's because I want it sitting on my shelf, to loan to people, to admire, to randomly come across when I'm browsing for something to re-read. I'll pay good money for the occasional really special book for those purposes, but mostly if it's not $2 at a second-hand bookshop, or free at the library, I'm not reading it.

    I think it's because I read a lot (three novels a week is about average), and if I did all that on an e-reader, it would mean adding around $30 a week to my budget. I can't afford that.

  94. Every item listed is a brick in the wall, but it is not the wall.

    I am old. But with that comes the comfort of the ground that I chose to live on.

    Get off my lawn or I'll see your parents in JAIL!

  95. They are just plain wrong.
    Stay away from my books!!!!

  96. I read fast (on the order of 1,000 wpm) and I've not seen an e-reader with enough words on the screen at one time. Nor do I want to scroll as I read.

  97. The price is beyond my reach, but of greater concern would be the price of the books. I am a library user, not a book buyer, because I often can't tell whether I'm going to like a book until I'm partway into it. I don't want to spend $9.99 or more on something I give up on in chapter 4.

  98. I love reading paper books and that has always been more interesting than reading e-books. Thanks for the post. I loved reading it.
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  99. - DRM. If I buy a book, I want to be able to lend it, re-sell it, and contorl who has access to it. I don't want to make copies of it and sell those for profits, but I do expect to be able to treat my property as my property.
    - International, universal access. I want to download a book the same time my friends in the US and UK do. I want to pay the same prices as them. And I want to be able to change / destroy my e-reader and re-download them later in a universally accessible file format.

  100. What's cramping my style? My love for used book stores. Nothing like the smell of musty paper and missing corners on the cover. Books are also under $5, generally, so well within my college-student budget. I also find a shelving unit overflowing with books pretty dang awesome.

  101. I can't stand them. They're slippery, hard to hold, don't feel like a book, don't look like a book, and aren't a book. I need a real book. We have 700+ books in this house...none of them require a battery to work. A book light? Sometimes, yes. But no batteries. I can't use them whenever and wherever I wish. And as stated: e-readers are POINTLESS. I have a laptop. A cell phone. I don't need an e-reader. In short, no, NEVER buying one.

    1. Ugh, typo! "I *CAN* use them whenever and wherever I wish"...not "can't". Grr.