Ruminations on E-Books

The wife and I got Nooks a month or so ago.

To be honest, once upon a time I’d been relatively anti e-book. It’s not that I thought they were inherently bad, mind you. It just seemed so very alien, even for a technophile like me. A significant amount of my youth had been spent in a library digging around for scifi and fantasy novels. My thirst for new stories was insatiable. The idea of going through that in a digital manner seemed… weird.

Plus there are the easy complaints that it’s a pain to share books with friends. While some books allow for ‘lending’, you can only ‘lend’ to people with the same device as you. I can’t just chuck a paperback at a friend, in which case the only format-related barrier is “can you read English”. And in fact, even living in the same house it’s weird. The books we’re not allowed to ‘lend’ means I have to hand over my Nook, and the other books I’ve been reading. Obviously this is far more difficult than having the wife steal the book I’ve been reading and rip through it in a couple of days while I’m wondering where the hell I left it.

I don’t want to sound down on the concept though. I like the idea of e-books. I was able to load a large number of digital copies of books I already had onto the thing, meaning I’ve got a few shelves worth of reading material in a convenient package. There’s so much potential there.

But then you go shopping for them. Some books are cheap which is great. The majority seem to be unnecessarily expensive. Right now there’s an older book I’d want to pick up. The paperback copy in a store would run about $8. Here it gets marked up to $14 for some reason. People argue the books should be cheaper due to the lack of printing costs. I’d settle for them just being on par.

Though the printing costs argument isn’t without merit. Another book here is $32. I could see why the physical copy might be so: full of illustrations and high grade printing and good quality paper as opposed to a cheap paperback, sure. But when all of that is stripped out and digitally pushed to this gorgeous color screen, the same price? Surely that’s just overkill.

At any rate, the trend is good in spite of the complaints.