There is little doubt that e-readers have grown tremendously in popular and many avid book collectors are making the switch. Many people who own e-readers constantly email us saying the book is not dead and they continue to buy real books. This got me to wondering what types of books people are downloading or buying in stores.
In my current flat there are over five bookshelves that are brimming with dusty old tomes and first editions. Amidst all of my proper reads is a growing wellspring of throwaway books. These are books that are unimportant and take up valuable real estate from proper literature. In order to make every book count and to look good on my shelf, I have undergone a paradigm shift on what I buy in the store and what is purchased online.
Before I had ever heard of an e-reader, many times a month their was a used bookstore or a Chapters in my weekly routine. I tend to buy lots of hardcover books by my favorite authors or take a chance on a new business, geopolitics, or other non-fiction type of reads. I tend to balance out my most serious reading with some guilty pleasures. These are the mindless pulp novels that are slowly taking over my entire apartment. There is an invasion underway with zombies, wizards, and spaceships. OH MY!
Even though I love tangible books and will never stop buying them, there is an e-reader in my life because of the dwindling storage space for books. During the last year there was a noticeable difference in my buying patterns. I started to phase out the purchasing of my pulp or mindless zombie reads and instead buy them online. I tend to read these kind of books very fast and over the course of a few days easily finish them and quickly forget what they were even about. It just makes sense to buy these in electronic form and then delete them when I am done. Otherwise my shelf space would reach critical mass and there would be no room for proper reads. So my e-reader is normally equated with the throwaway style of book.
I started to look at my buying patterns and noticed that I now exclusively purchase pulp reads on my e-reader and more essential type reads in hardcover form. Purely for aesthetic reasons, hardcover books look proper on the bookshelf and paperback novels look cheap. I tend to proudly display my elevated taste in mostly non-fiction subject matter and take great pride in researching a good book before I take it home with me. There is also a fair number of friends in my life that have the same taste in literature and there is a fair bit of lending and trading going on. These are the types of books that I feel are very profound and are normally on my top list of books every year. Zombie and fantasy books? Not so much.
Even though I am addicted to my e-reader, I still make regular pilgrimages to the local bookstores. Something about a full store of people seeking to expand their literary horizons is intoxicating. I could spend hours just perusing the wide selection of books that are available and make mental notes to either buy this on Amazon and purchase this one today! Bookstores will always have a place in my life because they make reading the selection of essential reads a social event. Reading, by its very nature, is generally a very anti-social type of thing and I tend to balance it by surrounding myself with people who love to read in a retail type setting.
So in essence I am very selective in the type of book that I purchase in the store and tend to buy more trashy books online. I could never bring myself to throw away a real book, but it is very easy to straight up delete a book on my reader, once I am done.
I’d like to encourage all of our loyal readers here at Good e-Reader to share your situation on what you buy digitally and what you purchase in the stores.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.