Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Do you click your books or grope them?

I got my first eReader last summer as a surprise birthday gift. Though I adore the Kindle with every fiber of my being, I still haven’t gotten the hang of it.

I don’t mean that in an “I can’t turn it on” way (Please! Can you really picturing me uttering that phrase under any circumstances?)

I mean that while I dearly love my eReader, I don’t picture myself ever giving up actual hard-copy books. The Kindle is great for travel and for drunken book purchases at 1 a.m. when I desperately believe I can’t wait another six hours to own that text on advanced botany. The hard copy books are great for holding and loving and groping and caressing and loaning to friends.

But there’s a lot of crossover, isn’t there?

Take Kristina McMorris’s debut novel Letters from Home. She’s a chaptermate in the Rose City RWA group I belong to, and I’ve been looking forward to her book since last fall when she gave an amazing conference presentation about selling a book that’s a hard sell.

I pre-ordered her book for my Kindle the second I was able to do it, and it downloaded to my device just after midnight the day it was released. Pretty cool, right?

But I just realized something. This weekend I’ll be going to my first RWA meeting since her book came out, and I’d desperately love to have her sign my copy. Do you think I should have her autograph the screen on my Kindle, or that section right under the keyboard?

I wrestled with the eBook vs. paperback decision again recently when Kristan Higgins’ new book My One and Only was released. She’s one of my favorite romantic comedy authors, and my book club is reading her new release for our next meeting.

“You should buy the hard copy,” one of the other members said when I mentioned I couldn’t decide between eBook or paperback.

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“Because then I can borrow it.”

Which may be true, but is that really the right thing to do? Don’t I want to encourage people to buy their own copies and support a fellow author?

In the end, I bought the paperback. I know Kristan Higgins will be at RWA Nationals in June, and how cool would it be to stalk her in the bathroom to casually run into her and ask her to sign my copy?

Do you have an eReader? If so, how do you decide when to buy hard copies and when to go for the digital download? Please share!

I’ll be testing out Crayola markers on the Kindle. Do you think Kristina McMorris would rather sign in pink or green?

38 comments :

Cherie Reich said...

I have a Kindle, but I still buy hardback books too. A lot is the price. I can't see paying more for a new ebook than a new hardback one, so depending on which one is cheaper, it's the one I'll buy. I do prefer reading on my Kindle, though.

Kristina said...

So far, the technology in my house hasn't gone to that. Which leaves me firmly groping. But not so firmly as to leave marks, of course. :)

German Chocolate Betty said...

Love my Kindle. Although it's not working properly since it jumped naked (i.e.,without a Kindle condom) into the bathtub with me, so I will need a new one (Kindle, not bathtub).

BUT...it has been so freeing for me to have a whole library which fits into my purse for travel, etc. I still buy occasional dead tree books, because they will survive the tub (haha), and I keep them for reading there.

But to be able to use the other half of the suitcase that used to be packed full of books for clothes, gifts, bottles of wine, etc. is also wonderful.

So, I guess you could say that I, too, swing both ways.

Penelope said...

I'm a book groper. I love the feel of a book in my hands.

But. I don't own an e-reader, so I can't compare. Perhaps I'll purchase one for reading on my honeymoon. That would help to lighten my usual load!

Linda G. said...

I'm a groper AND a clicker. Does that make me "bi"?

I LOVE how easy it is to order and read a book on my Kindle. Love, love, love it! But I cannot give up my addiction to paper. And the pure glow of something dangerously akin to sexual satisfaction I feel when I gaze at a bookshelf full of books I've read.

So, how do I decide which version to buy? Eeny-meeny-miny-moe works as well as anything. ;)

Danica Avet said...

I own a Kindle and it's the best thing since...well, the printing press. I had too many books and not enough room. Cleaning them out only made me want to cling to them more. Recently I was forced to get rid of books and narrowed my collection down to about 650 books. And now that I have a Kindle, I don't have to worry about finding more space (and getting rid of my favorite paperbacks) to make room for more.

By the way, just a little aside. There's some kind of electronic autograph thing for e-books that's supposed to premiere this month. I think. I can't remember what it's called, or anything really you know...worth mentioning other than that. LOL If I remember what it is though, I'll send it to you :)

April said...

I've been using an ereader for just over three years. It must be said that I hate paper, so I might be biased. I only will read a paper book in hardback. I still buy some paper books, but hardly ever read them. Most of the time I buy the ebook anyway. I do buy books to have them autographed to support authors at their events though and to display at home.

Indigo said...

I have a NOOK, a gift from my daughter this past Christmas. The major fault I find with an e-reader is it's too easy to hoard books...

True, it's not as if my house is cracking at the seams with book overload, but it's hard to resist downloading books.

Still, every once in a while I absolutely NEED my bookstore fix. The smell of new books and wandering the shelves looking for old favorites, and new introductions of seduction in words. We won't even discuss the possibility of someday, ending up buried beneath my TBR pile...(Hugs)Indigo

Summer Frey said...

I prefer to read on the Kindle, especially compared to hardbacks. However, I love to have completed book collections on my shelves, so if I've started a series in paperback or whatnot, I really hate to break it up with an ebook. I have done it, though, in the name of money...

lynnrush said...

I buy both. The Odd Thomas series, I have on Nook and in paperback. :) Just happens sometimes. :)

I'd say PINK

Ricky Bush said...

I was gifted a birthday Kindle last October. Since the nearest bookstore is 45 miles from my house, the frequent trips I'd like to make are farther and fewer between. The Kindle has filled that gap between trips. I've read more books since October than I normally read in an entire year. Plus, I read about what's about to be released.

I'll never pass up a bookstore for the pleasure that browsing gives me (browsing on a Kindle will never replace that). And I'll seldom leave a bookstore without a purchase.

Matthew MacNish said...

I don't own an e-reader, except for my laptop, but I change my mind about them almost every day. I want one, but I don't want to give up paper books either.

Patty Blount said...

I love my Kindle but it does have its drawbacks. I met Eloisa James at my RWA chapter last month and bought the hard copy just so she could sign it.

I also like the way books smell. Is that weird? (shrugs) Kindles don't let you use all your senses to enjoy your books. Or you know, just grope them. :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

So far, I'm strictly a groper, but have been seriously considering a leap to Kindle. There are a lot of books I want to read that are easier to find for downloading on Amazon than they are at either the bookstore or library.

Ashley said...

I don't have an eReader. I'm holding out for as long as possible until I really think it's neccesary. I definitely see the appeal of having one but it seems so robotic and cold. I like the groping, caressing, feeling of a book. I just can't give in. Not yet anyway.

Beverly Diehl said...

Last year I (and my 25 double sized plastic storage crates of books) moved. Into a second floor apartment.

One month later, my aching back and I bought a Kindle.

I love my Kindle, I love getting quickie cheap books in a flash, the freebie classics, and with a good cover, the tactile experience is very similar.

That said, I only trust books I can grope in the bathtub. Writing in Flow

Sarah W said...

My Sony Touch and I are becoming better friends now, though there's only one book on it that I actually bought -- my library has an eBook service, and I seem to score (hur) a lot of free copies through giveaways and from blog contests.

I have a Kindle ap on my laptop, too.

Julie Glover said...

I'm a definite book groper. I love the feel of the book in my hand, the rustle of pages as I turn them, the ease of finding that great passage without needing to click 12 times through 4 screens. My husband swears that ebooks will prevail and take over the world! But I think a healthy percentage of us will be like the smart Resistance against tech-savvy Skynet. I'm planning to order your book in paperback so I can get my copy signed sometime too!

Chris said...

I have a kindle. I love that I can get that book I must have at that moment. But I have yet brought it to the beach or to watch my kid's hockey practices. I see it fragile as compared to the book that I freguently drop down the cement stairs at the rink.

Karla Nellenbach said...

I'm a groper and a grazer (my e reader has one of those touch screens that you slide your finger across to turn pages). For me, the decision is a combination of price and author. Newer writers or 99 cent ebook sales make up the majority of my ereader memory, whereas authors who I've read before and already have a series started MUST be bought in the deadtree pubbed form (you know to keep my OCD tendencies at bay) :)

Therese said...

I'm still a grope and fondle reader and my kindle app on the computer is for freebies, for now. I know this will change someday. Still, those books I want signed and displayed need to be stand-alone print.

Noelle Pierce said...

I have (and adore) my Kindle, but I still buy paperbacks. I don't buy a lot of hardback books anymore because they're just too damn heavy. And when I'm reading in the bath, they leave marks on my...well, they're heavy.

I don't think I make my decisions with any conscious effort. It's more laziness that determines whether I buy an eBook, versus getting up and driving to the bookstore. If it's a reference book, I usually buy the hard copy so I can highlight and find pages faster (my mythology books and others I use to research my stories).

What the Kindle is AWESOME at is for beta reading. I can read a book, stopping to make notes if I need to, but I'm not tempted to nit-pick or line edit like I would on the computer. This is great for the read-throughs of my own work, too, because it really cuts down on my spontaneous re-writes.

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I consider myself Bi-Booxual (sorry, it's reallly clever, it just doesn't spell well). And I go for multiple book-nerships...have been known to buy the Kindle version so I can have it at 0-book-thirty on release day, then also get the hard copy so I can have it signed (went through agony trying to decide how weird it would be to ask JR.Ward to sign my Kindle, gave up and bought both).

lora96 said...

I love my nook but I have bought two or three paperbacks after reading them in ebook form to be able to lend them to others. It isn't like I want to fork over my nook and let someone borrow the whole device...not to mention they would look at my title list and find out I'm not NEARLY as intellectual as I claim to be.

As in, if there's a free Blaze, I'm all over it. :)

lora96 said...

@Teri Anne: I was torn between bibooxual and ambibookstrous. WHich sounds like a dinosaur.

Polybookorous?

Judy,Judy,Judy. said...

I don't have an e-reader yet. I'm afraid if I buy one at this point it will become the beta of e-readers (rather than the VHS).
I heard someone somewhere (or maybe it was the bat in my head talking) say that they make a page for e-readers to collect author signings.
It doesn't seem as satisfying to me but it's something.
Lucky me, I just got a signed copy of The Secret of Joy from Melissa Senate. She liked the blog I wrote about her book, The Love Goddess Cooking School (http://noveltruths.blogspot.com/2011/04/something-genuine-this-way-comes.html)
Maybe I'll blog about Making Waves so Tawna will send me a signed copy. Then I'd have her address and I could really stalk her. Kidding. Maybe.

Delia said...

I have a Nook, but I still buy both. I'm too in love with book store heavy petting sessions to stop buying paper. I will say that, where signings are concerned, the Nook has an advantage over the Kindle in that it has removeable/interchangeable back plates. Conceivably, you could have a new back plate for each author. Handy dandy. However, if you have a Kindle, I'd go with a snazzy metallic Sharpie. Because, hey, snazzy.

Stephanie said...

I just read recently that Nook is coming up with a sign-able version! :)

Jessica R. Patch said...

I love my eReader and I may have read somewhere that authors can allow lending on kindle. I usually download when they promote with free copies. If it's not free or I miss the limited time (which happens often)I buy it in print. I think you should go with the pink!

M.J. Fifield said...

I'm on the verge of entering the eReader world and already I can't figure out if I should get digital copies or hard copies. I'm a little worried I'll just end up getting both.

I also think you should go with the pink.

Susan S said...

I read and grope?

I bought a Kindle two years ago, expecting to like it okay but mainly because there were books I wanted to read RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW and didn't want to go to the store to purchase (yes, I am lazy). I quickly discovered that Kindle is awesome for what I call "candy books" - novels and other books I read for enjoyment alone.

Books I read for research (and historical fiction involves a lot of that) or other "work-related" purposes still have to be hard-copy. I can't focus properly any other way, and I don't like the Kindle notes nearly as well as I like reading with a pen in hand and annotating manually. I don't think I'll ever give that up.

I still read a few novels in hard copy, mostly things I pick up when I'm actually in a bookstore (happens often, to my financial dismay) - because I'm worried if I "intend" to order the Kindle version I'll forget, and hey - the book's RIGHT THERE in front of me!

TL;DR: Love my Kindle. Love hard copy too. Don't think that will ever change.

Claire Dawn said...

An SCBWI Tokyo mate's book came out and I bought the e-book and 3 hard copies simultaneously. :) But we've alreeady establshed that I'm crazy.

Generally, because I'm in Japan with it's 100 English language books an hour away by train, I buy Kindle, because it's easy and doesnt' involve playing tag with the postman.

Angelina said...

I haven't got a kindle and won't get one. I can see there are many benefits and I'm glad people have a choice (my mom loves hers because it's more comfortable for her to hold and read than hard copy books) but I love paper. I love the smell and the feel of paper. I love having to bookmark a page and I love that there's no technology involved in reading a paper book.

However, part of me does see that not having all books printed on paper saves resources like trees. But anyway, I can't answer your question exactly. I always go paper.

Diane Henders said...

I'm teetering on the edge of buying an e-reader. I'll never stop buying paper books; I love them too much. But instant gratification is lovely, and I have serious logistical problems when travelling with paper books.

I finish a typical novel in about three hours. The last time I went on a one-week trip, I found myself with a few hours free each evening. I read eight books. Can you say "overweight luggage"?

An e-reader would solve that, but then I'd end up buying all my books twice... Gah!

trainee writer said...

I bought a kindle at the begining of the year for many reasons but the main ones being that i don`t have any space for more books, my kids drive me crazy by playing with my books,and that I live in the country so would have to drive into city to buy books or wait for the postman to bring them.
I really really love my kindle and would never part with it but i do love the feel and smell of a new book.If i am ever lucky enough to be published i want to see and feel my story as a real paper book in my hands. To see the evidence of my hard work.

Allie Sanders said...

I am still a hard-core book girl. I have a Kindle and enjoy the ease of getting books and being able to transport many of them while taking up little space but I'm still a book girl.

I don't really have a good process for deciding which I want a real copy and which I like in ebooks. books by my favorite authors where I already own the first dozen in the series I always buy the paper copy. For books I just want to try I generally buy the e-book...unless I have a chance to meet the author (because I like signed books) or the paper copy is the same price or cheaper than the ebook because I have a phobia of my Kindle crashing and dying on me and I loose all those books.

Missy said...

Tawna, I'm so glad to hear you discuss this! I was recently thinking the same thing. I usually buy the book and then donate it to the library. However, I have recently bought two books on my iPad where they will sit unopened now that I have read them. I feel a little bad about that. Shouldn't other, less fortunate people get to read these great books?

Eleanor Brown said...

I have signed e-readers and e-reader covers - it's actually kind of cool, because all of the author's signatures end up together in one place. Like a bathroom stall.

I also sign my bookmarks for e-reader folks.

As for me, I buy two copies - one for my e-reader for me to read, and a hard copy for the author to sign if I'm going to meet them.

And then I tear out the title page, put it in my scrapbook, and recycle the book.

Yes, I have devoted way too much time to thinking about all of this, why do you ask?