Fitting in eBooks: An Experiment

16 Jan

I’ve had an ereader – a first-generation nook – for a while now, several years at least. You would think that being a fairly early adopter of ereader technology would allow me to work ebooks into my habits and somewhat replace print books into my collection; but sadly that’s not been the case, and I’ve struggled with even fitting ebooks into my reading. I use NetGalley to read pre-release galleys electronically, and I buy a lot of my YA guilty pleasures on the nook store because I want to read them, but don’t want them to take up space. But largely I’ve stuck to a print books. I still have the mindset that, if I want to “own” a book, I want the print copy, as if the ebook isn’t really “owning” it.

Lately though I’m testing out a way to both own an ebook and a hardcover version, and make both of them work. I’m currently reading Stephen King’s newest novel, 11/22/63. I bought myself the hardcover before Christmas, and then shortly after, I got a Klout perk for an ebook version from Simon & Schuster. I’m reading them both, depending on the day and the situation, and it’s been nothing short of enlightening. Both in respect to how I use paper books and how I use ebooks.

Overall, I’m enjoying having both available depending on how and where I’ll be reading – and my poor purse (and shoulder) isn’t weighted down with a 900-page book. But the page counts are off – the hardcover has 849 pages and the ebook counts just under 700. So syncing my stopping place has been tricky to say the least.

But this method – reading both the paper book and the ebook at the same time – isn’t practical. I am most likely only going to buy one copy of a book, but if I were able to buy a bundle of the hardcover and the ebook together at a lower price than buying them separately (but at a higher price than one or the other costs individually), I would be increasingly likely to do so. There are some books that I still will only want in ebook, and some that I will wait and buy in paperback. But I don’t see many possibilities where I would want the hardcover and NOT also want the ebook version. I’ve been delightfully surprised by how easily I switch back and forth and how much I actually use that option.

I’m curious, have you done this dual reading thing? What are your feelings about bundling ebooks with hardcovers?

One other note about switching back and forth: the engaging nature of the a particular book might be a mitigating factor. Because I cannot put down 11/22/63 and pretty much want to read it all the time at every moment I can spare. So I’m more willing to make the effort involved in dual reading, but I can’t imagine that a book I’m feeling only meh about will encourage the same level of engagement.


11 Responses to “Fitting in eBooks: An Experiment”

  1. Cassandra Neace (@CassandraNeace) January 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    I haven’t tried the the dual-reading thing yet, but I’ve been tempted. I try to always end at the end of a chapter (if that’s feasible), so maybe I wouldn’t have the problem with syncing up page wise. I look at my e-reader and the books that I read on it (other than galleys) as an indulgence. I only buy on sale or with gift cards for the time being. I’d really like to have a hard-cover purchase come with an e-book, even if it’s just a back list title.

  2. Alley Rivers (@alleyecarina) January 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    I haven’t tried the dual reading but I would love the option of a bundled hardback/ecopy. I’m still surprised publishers haven’t latched onto this. You can get DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital copy bundles of movies, why not bundle books?

  3. Greg Zimmerman January 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    This is a really interesting idea. I got an email from a guy this week – in response to the post on Book Riot about ebooks vs. print – about how he’s done research on our ability to remember what we read in print books vs. ebooks. He claims retention rate and level of understanding is much higher with print – maybe, but I’m skeptical.

    Anyway, I’ve just started the practice of reading an e-book at the same time as a print book – but not the same one, as you’re doing. I see myself reading more essay and short story collections in e-form.

    That said, I love the idea of paying a little more for a digital copy of a hardcover at the same time you’re buying the hardcover – as Alley says, it’s becoming common practice for movies. Why not books?

    Great post, Rachel – this was really interesting!

  4. Brenna (@LitMusings) January 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I have never owned an ereader so I’m not sure that I am qualified to speak to the dual reading thing, but I will say that since I’ve started 11/22/63 (I’m only about 200 pages in) I have never wanted an ereader more. Toting this thing around is getting old, to say the least.

    • Dave Russell February 18, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      Your comment hit home with me. I just started reading 11/22/63 and really enjoying it, but I have a busy travel schedule coming up and there is no way I will carry the actual book with me. An e-reader may be in my future, for such occasions.

  5. shareleann January 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Interesting idea. I have noticed that the page counts are off on a few of my books as well. It’s hard to give up the feel and smell of a “real” book, but I do LOOOOVE my nook! Always looking for more Nook friends if you’re interested in it. I love that we can share ebooks with the Nook!

  6. Meg @ ABookishAffair (@abookishaffair) January 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I’ve been tempted to do the dual reading thing but I worried about being able to find my place.

  7. fiveborobooksKari January 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    I have the same opinion as you in wanting to OWN a good book. I have an old eReader too, a Sony pocket edition, that I’ve had for a couple years, but I only use it to check things out from the library, because I just like the physical book too much. Sometimes while reading a particularly large book, I think how much more convenient the eBook would be, but I can’t get used to it. It wasn’t until I started using my eReader that I realized how much I depend on physical context of something on a page. I want to flip back and find a certain passage, but I can’t do that on an eReader and it drives me nuts!!

  8. Carol January 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    I’ve never tried the dual reading thing and really have never been tempted to. I prefer ebooks honestly. They’re easier to mark without ruining the book, easier to carry. I have been tempted to pick up print versions of audio’s I’m listening to though, since it’s almost impossible for me to catch quotes I might want to keep or go back and reread certain sections.


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