Ebook Buying Behaviour – a personal view

I just received Kobo’s new release email appropriately named ‘Hot off the Digital Press!’.

Instantly I saw a book I wanted for one of my sons, called ‘Life Without Limits’ and nearly bought it. I haven’t bought it yet because I don’t want to sacrifice my iPad for the length of time it might take him to read it, (I’m too tight to buy him his own iPad, although the iPad2 is appealing, a hand-me-down may soon eventuate…) and that I know he, at 17 years of age, actually likes sitting/lying with a printed version. So, I’ll wait till I see it as a paperback somewhere and pick it up then.

But then I realised, I am in fact buying ebooks to satisfy demands that I didn’t even notice I had, till this opportunity for instant satisfaction was here. E.g.:

  • Some new releases that I have bought instantly: had been meaning to get ‘that’ book, its now available as ebook, great, will grab it ‘now’.
  • Attending a conference recently I was fascinated to hear about Peter Levine’s ‘Shaking the Tiger’, I wanted it ‘now’,  bought it as an ebook (could only get a Kindle version), started reading it on the iPad immediately, loved it.
  • I wish there were more titles available in ebook format. At the same conference there were four other books I wanted ‘now’ but none were available as ebooks, had to wait weeks for them to come from online hardcopy sellers. I would actually still buy them as ebooks because they are are for work and I would like to be able to dip into them while traveling, I don’t want to carry my library with me.
  • I have a purchased a few books in p and e versions, for this reason, I enjoy the different reading experience and convenience they each offer, depending on where I am and what I am doing.
  • Weirdly, reading Karen Armstrong’s ‘The Spiral Staircase’ on my Blackberry offered a different reflective experience to that I had reading the print. The print was my main focus, but when on the train, or in a cafe, with a few spare minutes, I would delve back in to a favorite passage and experience it anew. Now I consider this added reflective experience that the e version might offer and about a third of the time buy both e and p. Why aren’t more bundles available?

In summary the ‘now’-ness of ebooks is fantastic, both its fast delivery and its flexibility to adapt to what we are doing at any point in time. This added reflective experience is something that might have surprising potential in other ways too, for learning in particular. Never before has the book product known such potential to play a greater role in people’s lives.

By the way, I actually don’t like reading ebooks on any device, it kills my eyes, perhaps its time to try one of the epaper versions (Kindle, Kobo, etc) . BUT I love the features above so much that I am prepared to stand the eye-fatigue at least a few times a week.

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