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Kindle buying habits
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Scout
Portland, Oregon
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January 31, 2011 - 11:34 pm
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So do those of you who buy books off Kindle...how?

Do you go there already knowing what you want? Do you browse? Do you check out the suggestion software? Do you see books for .99 and think yuck. Is 2.99 your price point? 6.99 for the really big authors? Are your Kindle buying habits any different than when you buy printed books? Are you less careful, more adventurous knowing you can dump a .99 peice of crap without a problem? Or just never read it like you;re never gonna play half those Steam holiday games you bought last month? Or do you still stick with the stuff that's tried and true for you?

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Toger
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January 31, 2011 - 11:52 pm
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All of the above?

To date, I haven't had to dump a book because I didn't like it. I liberally use the free samples. If I can't get through the first chapter, then I don't buy it. I don't have a price point for books as they are my true weakness, much more so than games... wait, that's not entirely true. If the Kindle version of the book is more expensive than the dead tree version, I flip the publisher off and refuse to buy the book. In either version.

I've always been a voracious reader, but having the Kindle has increased the amount that I read as I almost always have it with me and can read a page or two while waiting in lines, doctor's office, etc. The only place I cannot read it is on the bus as I'm prone to motion sickness.

For the most part, I've stuck with genres/authors that I know I like but I've had several books recommended by friends - Under the Banner of Heaven and The Passage. I've checked out a some Amazon recommendations and have samples waiting to be read. I've also re-purchased several books I already own in Kindle format (Joe Abercrombie's series First Law and GRRM's Ice and Fire series) because I know I'll read them again and the dead tree versions are a pain to lug around. My most recent purchase was the works of Edith Wharton for a song. I've also checked out what other people are reading on the bus... make a note of the title on my phone, then look up the book on Amazon. I've purchased a couple that way and rejected quite a few more. Some people read dreck! [Image Can Not Be Found]

It's funny that you compared buying books to buying games. Oddly enough, for me, I read every book I buy. I don't know why it's different with games. :shrug:

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Jen
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February 1, 2011 - 11:28 am
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I too make liberal use of the free samples. I almost always end up buying the book I sampled. I read anywhere from one book a month to two books a day, usually more toward the two-book-a-day end of the spectrum, and so I can't afford to be too picky. I also troll the Kindle website every month or two for the freebies. I've gotten a lot of stinkers that way, mostly bodice-rippers and Christian-themed (quite the contrast, but those do make up the bulk of the free Kindle books), but I have also found a couple that I really loved and ended up buying others by those authors. But for the pay books, price is not really a factor in my buying decision.

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Spike
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February 1, 2011 - 3:49 pm
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I also read like crazy.  Some months I spend more on books than I do on food – and I love food.  I buy plenty of new books, but I can save money and have more books by buying some of them as "used".  I say as-used because many of the books I buy are unread, and in great like-new shape.  For used I go to Amazon for some, but most of my used come from Better World Books (love their donations to literacy programs, their purchase of carbon credits, just-enough-but-not-too-much packaging, and their sense of humor), Powell's, Thrift Books, and Book Brothers.

I tried going the Audible route, but I miss the physicalness of a book.  The touch, the smell, etc.  I don't have a Kindle, but I have the Kindle app on my Touch.    I've bought a few Kindle books, but that experience too, is watered down compared to a real book.  Plus, going back pages and pages to look at an illustration, or map, or just to try to remember what someone said, is not so easy with an ebook. 

But I do think that Kindle and other e-readers are great for those who like to read when travelling or commuting.  If I didn't have my heart set on getting an iPad this year I think I'd buy a Kindle just for fun.

To answer Scout, if I'm gonna give up the tactile pleasures of a real book, the Kindle version must be a great bargain.  I don't mess with the samples.  I either buy books by authors I am already familiar with, or those that Amazon recommends based on what I've bought in the past.  Amazon is so good about this.  Not often, but every once in a while, I'll look at that long list that they recommend for me, and I'll check "already own", or "not interested".  After years of this, their recommendations can be counted on to be at least 80% accurate as to what I will like.

If a new hardcover is $17.49, for instance, and I can get a used copy for $6-7, and the paperback for $7.99 new or $4 used, then the Kindle price would have to be $8-10 for me to bite.  I'd pay for the convenience of light-weight-for-on-the-go, but would prefer the hard copy for all other reading.

As for sticking with tried and true, if I'm going to try a new author that I'm not sure about, I'll buy used paperback.  If I fall in love, then hardback will be worth the price. Since Amazon raised many of their prices on Kindle editions I haven't bought a single one, but I will when I need the portability.

I do have a backlog of book, and it's a big one.  They are all books I intend to read, but the time must be just right.  Two books in my backlog pile are the last books by those two authors before they died.  I just can't open them yet, knowing that they are the last I will get from favored authors.

Aside about games, not books:  I never intended to have an unplayed games backlog, but I ended up with one, and the fault for that lies squarely in the Bethesda/Valve lap. 

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Scout
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February 9, 2011 - 12:16 pm
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Powell's Book in Portland just laid off 31 employees. Here's a quote from their e-mail. "Sales for this fiscal year are down and we expect this trend will continue. * The largest decreases have been in new book sales. We see this as a clear indication that we are losing sales in electronic books and reading devices." 

Interestingly enough Young Adult fiction sales for e-readers has seen a big bump since Christmas as parents are buying their kids e-readers and the kids are downloading low priced YA fiction and free public domain stuff. Also a lot of adults have been moving to YA fiction with the increase in e-readers. I wonder if the actual technology of the delivery device is changing the experience for people. 

Have you noticed that you read differently with an e-reader? Has it changed your tastes?

 

* Emphasis mine.

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Spike
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February 9, 2011 - 2:57 pm
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This is sad.  I buy some of my books from them, but rarely new, as I can get new cheaper elsewhere.  There are so many books that I want that buying all of them at new prices would be out of the question.  Powell's used books (at least the ones I buy) are always in good/very good condition, and the prices are competitive.  I also like the fact that they often have books that are kinda out of the mainstream - books that I can't find at just any old book reseller.  I think its funny that quite a few of the books I buy are just the books that many people THINK they should buy and read, but never do, so I get an unopened book at a used price.  This always makes my day.

With their long history, I hope that the layoffs give them breathing room to either wait out the lousy ecomomy, or reinvent themselves for the new ecomomy.  I had thought that they were doing the latter well (worldwide online sales, etc.).  I think ebooks are wonderful things in theory, and I believe that they will account for an increasingly larger share of the $$$ people spend on books, but I also think that there is nothing that beats the sensory delights of a physical book.  Books for traveling are a different story.  It's good to be able to load a dozen books on my iPod and go.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Spike
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February 9, 2011 - 3:00 pm
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Scout said:

Also a lot of adults have been moving to YA fiction with the increase in e-readers. I wonder if the actually technology of the delivery device is changing the experience for people. 

I wonder if this started with Harry Potter?  I know some people that never would have read a YA book before that, but EVERYBODY wanted in on Harry Potter.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Scout
Portland, Oregon
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February 9, 2011 - 3:21 pm
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Some people on the local Portland blogs are predicting Powell's will go under in 5 to 10 years if not sooner. I have no idea. I thought e-books wouldn't take off for another 5 years and they are through the ceiling already. That said, I think the international sales will loom larger and larger for them. It's obvious they overhired in the past few years and have to readjust payroll.

I know a lot of adults, including myself, who read all the Potter books. Personally that never translated into a change in reading habits for me. I did try the Hunger Games and barely got through the first one. Possibly YA fiction is getting a better reputation and is simply increasing in quality as it gets "okay" for writers to move that way. Maybe young kids are going to bring back reading in a huge way but in a way no one has yet imagined. 

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Steerpike
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February 9, 2011 - 4:03 pm
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I enjoyed The Hunger Games, but the series as a whole wasn't super-great.

 

It's sad that these classic bookstores are suffering. We're in a strange transitional period right now. I think sooner rather than later most people will have tablet computers, and on those computers they'll receive magazine subscriptions and buy books... which may increase book sales but is surely hard on the book retailers.

 

There will always be books, because holding one is always different than staring at a screen. but it's strange to see them go the way of technology.

 

I use my Kindle iPhone app quite a lot. I actually need a new book right now.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Jen
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February 9, 2011 - 5:22 pm
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I still buy paper books from time to time, and I have a huge backlog of unread paper books. Now I only buy a new book in paper form if it's not available electronically or has illustrations or is a pop-up (I have a pop-up book collection and am fascinated by the art). I love Powell's, but it's such a pain in the ass to get there that I only go about once a year. It is an institution, and I will be [Image Can Not Be Found] if it fails. I don't think it will, though, but I'm sure it will not stay the way it is.

 

Book recommendation if you haven't read it yet is The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. It's one of a kind!

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Scout
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February 9, 2011 - 11:35 pm
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Auditrix
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February 10, 2011 - 12:24 am
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well I was very saddened to hear the Powell's is laying off employees.  What a great bookstore.

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Scout
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February 12, 2011 - 3:58 pm
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Spike
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February 12, 2011 - 7:20 pm
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Scout said:

The future of books?


For me, someone who never NEVER dogears pages, never dribbles food or drink on books, and otherwise cares well for them, this kinda hurt to watch.  But they are also recycling books that might otherwise end up in a landfill.  The finished product is kinda cool.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Toger
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February 12, 2011 - 8:12 pm
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Spike must be my twin. It's painful when I see people dogear pages or flex the binding, hear it crack and watch them fold the pages back. Heck, I can't even bend my Kindle cover backwards. It goes against everything! [Image Can Not Be Found]

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Scout
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February 12, 2011 - 8:39 pm
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With the price of old, used books going downward, soon we'll be able to build houses out of them. Furniture.

I'm the same way with books. It disturbs me to see a spot on a page. I buy a lot of used books and I hate it when someone has sucked up a bowl of Dinty Moore over my George R. R. Martin.

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Spike
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February 13, 2011 - 12:39 am
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Scout said:

With the price of old, used books going downward, soon we'll be able to build houses out of them. Furniture.

I'm the same way with books. It disturbs me to see a spot on a page. I buy a lot of used books and I hate it when someone has sucked up a bowl of Dinty Moore over my George R. R. Martin.


Speaking of building houses out of unusual materials, where the hell is Helmut?  Have we done something to offend him?  [Image Can Not Be Found]

Toger:  our kids (ex's and mine, well, ok, yours too, I bet) had books from the time they were born.  The first night after bringing my youngest home from the hospital, he not more than about 30 hours old, I began to read the newspaper to him during late/middle night feedings.  I got my own reading in and he came to accept reading as akin to breathing - do it or die.  Daughter got almost the same grounding, but a couple of weeks later than son.

I say that to say that people were always amazed that our kids didn't tear books up, or scribble in them, or abuse them in other ways.  It's the parenting, stupid.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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February 13, 2011 - 9:35 am
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I got an email from Helmut because I was beginning to worry that he was sick or something. He's taking a hiatus from Things Online, just chillaxing. He didn't go into detail but I let him know we all hope everything is okay.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Jarrod
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February 13, 2011 - 4:41 pm
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I don't remember my folks reading to me much, but I remember starting to get into books around 12.  My mother bought me one of the Dragonlance trilogies, and I thought I would die before I could finish reading three books.  Boy, was I wrong - I enjoyed them thoroughly!  The spark started by those glorious books turned into a raging fire, and I've been an avid reader since.

 

I don't mind if books are a little worn, although I don't like to add to their wear.  The Dragonlance books, and my favourite book (Use of Weapons) were all second-hand, so I know I can derive as much pleasure out of worn books as new ones.

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. – The Teachings of Don Juan

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Finkbug
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February 13, 2011 - 9:41 pm
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I try not to fetishize books. Hell, I have built furniture out of books and that smell we're all fond of? Mildew.

I still wanted to find and club them to death with baby seals. Seeing someone dog ear or god forbid put an open book face down is physically painful. Of the thousands of books I've bought, I've sold ten. Bought them back the next day. Meritless novels but I've got 'em!

Color me insane bibliotaph.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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