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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brick & Mortar

Not sure I'll ever get used to bookstores--real, physical bookstores--being referred to as "Brick & Mortar" stores.  I have been a voracious reader since the age of 4.  Growing up, every single week I'd take my allowance and go to our local bookstore, Encore Books (where I later worked in college) and buy as many books as my allowance could get me. 


I am a lifelong book hoarder.  Somewhere in storage in upstate Pennsylvania I still have roughly 3,000 books which I will probably have to sell because now I live in a rowhome with the Sergeant and he doesn't really like the idea of using books for furniture.  So I never thought I would be one of these people who worshipped their e-readers and in fact I was resistant to the very idea of e-readers when the first generation Kindle came out. 



But my husband, who likes things to look "streamlined" at home (Thanks, Marine Corp) bought me a second generation Kindle all the way back in 2009 and now I can't live without it.  I love it.  I love it more than most things that I own.  It is sleek and light, fits right in my purse and I have access to thousands upon thousands of books any time, any place with just one click!  And I have to admit, it completely relieves me of the burden of trying to find places in my tiny home for all my new books.  This past Christmas, my boss bought me a Nook tablet which is also fabulous.  All the advantages of a Kindle and you can surf the internet as well!  I have some books on my Nook and some on my Kindle and I use each device interchangeably.  Although I have a very difficult time prying the Nook out of my four year old's hands since she loves playing Angry Birds on it.



Anyway, I almost never buy an actual book anymore.  Even if I see one in the grocery store or pharmacy that I like, I will whip out my Kindle and order the ebook version.  It is usually much cheaper anyway.

But I still love the bookstore.  I love being surrounded by all the books.  I love picking them up and flipping through them, feeling their weight in my hands.  I love seeing all the covers.  I love the way bookstores smell and the quiet that can still be found within their walls.  Also, I love going with my daughter to the actual, brick and mortar bookstore because she has so much fun.  Kids are way more visual than adults and so for her to be interested in a book, she really needs to see it and hold it in her hands.  Going to the bookstore now and then is the one of the only ways to keep her interested in books.  We always have a blast.  She pulls books off the shelves excitedly and asks me to read them to her.  After we've read 7 or 8 books, she gets to choose one that she wants to take home, where we'll read it a good twenty or thirty times before she tires of it.

We bought this one in January and she loves it!

So for this past mother's day when the hubs asked me what I wanted to do, it was a no-brainer. Take a family trip to the bookstore!  The hubs, in his infinite wisdom got me some gift cards.  Normally, I would spend them online to download books to my nook but since we were going to spend the day in the bookstore, I figured I'd go all old school and buy some real books!  And yes, I break my new-book-ban of 2012 if I get gift cards!

That is actually the one I go to!


Since the hubs was along, I got to very briefly browse the adult sections of the store and here's what's new.  First of all, the center of the store where they used to have current affairs, religion, astrology and such has been replaced with shelves and shelves of toys.  Apparently Toys R Us threw up in Barnes & Noble.  (Yes, we shop at B&N.  Although I've long been a fan of independent bookstores and worked at Gene's in the late 90s, they are few and far between now so we are forced to shop at the chain store.)


Second, I hadn't realized just how much more expensive real books are compared to e-books.  I mean I knew they were but I haven't bought an actual book in so long that it was quite jarring.  I got the same amount of gift cards for my birthday a couple of months ago and I used them to buy books for my Kindle.  For the same amount of money, I was able to get 7 e-books but only 3 regular, physical books.  I mean I know that the cost of producing an actual book is way higher than the cost of "producing" an e-book and honestly I'm not sure how I feel.  I love real books and as an author, I want real books to survive but as a reader, getting 7 books for the price of 3?  You can't beat it.  I'm conflicted.

Prepare for rant:  The only thing I really want to say about that is shame on publishers for charging between $12.99 and $14.99 for a book that costs $15.95 in paperback.  It's really not necessary to jack up your e-book prices that much.  $9.99 is where I draw the line for an e-book and quite frankly, even that is a bit high.  If you expect me to pay $14.99 for an e-book, well screw that, I might as well just buy the real book.

Finally, there was a totally new section of books in the bookstore called Paranormal.  So hats off, Paranormal writers.  I've been going to that store for years, been going to lots of bookstores for years and I've worked in bookstores for years and paranormal has never had its own section!  At least not in these parts!  Perhaps New Adult will be next . . .

So do you still go to brick & mortar book stores or are you an ebook convert?  Or a little bit of both?

17 comments:

  1. I just barely got an ereader a few months ago. But even with it, if the ebook costs the same as a paperback, I go get the paperback. Barnes and Noble is my favorite place in the world.

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  2. I just got my first e-reader for Christmas. I got it so I could download all my friends' novels who are self-publishing. I also bought a few novels by well known authors. I do enjoy it, but I've noticed I'm actually a slower reader on the Kindle, if that's even possible. I always feel a little disoriented on the reader, not really knowing where I am physically in the book. I like to see my bookmark progress through the pages and know I've only got a third left to go. So, it's great for travel and for those impulse buys, but I can't help it, I still love paper books best.

    Also, I won't pay $10 for an e-book. $3 or $4 is more my comfort range for those. Not sure what those low prices are going to do for the industry in the future though, but I just don't feel like I'm getting the same product with an e-book as I am with a paper book.

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  3. I'm in the debate right now. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I love browsing the shelves of any bookstore and letting the covers and descriptions guide me to the next read.

    But, price and space are forcing me to consider a device. I'm between the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire. Any suggestions?

    @L.G. I never thought of what a difference it will be not seeing my progress. Why do I find this decision to switch so difficult?

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  4. 1) I want a bookstore I don't have to drive an hour to get to. :(

    2) Yes, maybe NA will be next! :D

    3) Great post! :)

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  5. I predict the price discrepancy will only become greater between ebooks and "real" books, and one day physical books may only be bought as special gifts. It's a shame, but for me, I don't get any less out of a book if I read it on my Kindle. It's all about the quality of writing. I mean, I'm fully involved in a story while I'm typing it on a computer screen (although "quality" isn't a very clear cut issue here!)

    @ L.G., do you not have the percentage marker on your Kindle? I like it, as it lets me see EXACTLY where I am at any point.

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  6. I just got my first Kindle back in December, but I am now a total convert as well. I still love print books, but so love being able to have my Kindle in my purse all the time. No more reading boring magazines at the hair salon or doctor's office! I also love being able to read blogger friend's self-published books on my Kindle, I feel like it gives me so many more options. I'm a Kindle addict now LOL.

    Fun post!

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  7. Aside from your novels, I haven't read anything in a couple of years. I've been too busy writing. But when I do, I want print.

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  8. I love brick-and-mortar stores. Being around all those books just makes me happy. I have a Nook, but I only use it when I travel.

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  9. I have no reader, so it's brick&mortar and the library for me. My wife, on the other hand, uses her smart phone for reading all the time. I suppose you can get used to anything, I just don't see how she can read on that tiny little thing.

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  10. I know this may sound blasphemous but I hold no special place in my heart for physical books. For me, it's always been about the world I envision in my head while reading. Reading is almost like watching a movie to me, I see it all unfold in my mind's eye. So I've been on ebooks since the Kindle 2 came out and have also had a Sony Reader Touch, a Pandigital Novel, a Samsung Galaxy Tab and now use an iPad 2 for all my reading needs. (And Angry Birds. lol)
    Like you said, the price difference is drastic and since it's all about the story for me, it's really a no-brainer.

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  11. I'm a real book gal myself but I agree, the cost is prohibitive. I simply cannot afford to buy hard copy books. So I use the library. But this prevents me from supporting authors I love. So I got a tablet with the Kindle app. It's not as small as a Kindle, but I can read in bed at night with the lights off. And though there is a way to see approximately where you are, it's not the same as seeing that little slip of paper sticking out between the pages. But my e-book library is growing. I do like having the alternative. My comfort price zone is $3 to $5. I would never pay $10 for an e-book. I'd rather spend a few more bucks on a hard copy. But to be honest, I can't remember the last time I went to B&N. I miss that place.

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  12. I adore my ipad for reading (which includes both Nook and Kindle apps), but there is something wonderful about holding a real book in my hands. So, I buy books, take them out from the library, but I also download purchases and novels from my library. If there is a novel I really love and will reread, I'll make sure I own the book itself.

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  13. I LOVE my kindle. *holds possessively* But I don't buy books for it. I don't have to, thanks to free sites like Netgalley. If I really want a book - and I have to really super love it before it gets added to my library - I buy the hard copy. All those shiny covers, the weight of the paper, the nice big pages. *goes into a trance*

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  14. I love my Kindle Fire, but I keep getting in mucho trouble with my hubbie because I just cannot resist hitting the "buy now with one click" button. He can't understand why I need to buy so many books at one time and wants me to finish reading one before purchasing another. No can do- I am a book junkie. I do, however, love reading actual books. Some books I just need to be able to touch, hold, feel, and of course write in the margins etc. I also love trips to the bookstore. Unfortunately my family refuses to accompany me because I never want to leave. I can stay for hours and hours,

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  15. I prefer ebooks but still have tons of books and used bookstores are awesome. I'll always do a little bit of both I think. I also love audio books since that's what I listen to when I run or workout. :)

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  16. Books store all the way… or at least a real book, whether I ordered it on line or not. I’ll never read books on a screen, or convert to E-books.

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  17. I'm a book hoarder, too. I have tons of bookcases all filled and stacks of books piled in my closet, storage room, laundry room, wherever I can put them. It annoys my husband. I still have books I bought way back in middle school with my allowance. I should probably get rid of most of them. :(

    I was also resistant when it came to ereaders. I love the feel & smell of books, but I knew I had to consolidate somehow. I just had no more room. I received a Nook 1st gen a few Christmases ago & immediately fell in love. My son cracked the screen a little after the warranty wore off to my devastation. I ended up getting a Nook color this past Christmas to replace the old one. I'm in love with it!

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