New poll - E-books

Thursday, November 11, 2010

First in the order of business, let's return to my last poll for a closing statement. Among the hot subjects around the blogosphere and more specifically Twitter in the last few month was the idea of diversification in our reading choices. The question went like this : "Should we diversify our reading choice?". And the results were as such :

No - stick to the niche we love - 38%
Yes - read more older books - 22%
Yes - read more outside of usual genre - 5%
Yes - both outside genre and older books - 33%

This split in the votes kind of reveal only two elements for me, it's clearly a very personal choice and not something that's growing as a trend (speaking of choosing to read outside genre or older books) and we tend to stick to our beloved fantasy lit!


My next interrogation is about a totally different subject. The popularity of e-books is growing (ok, sadly also in the case of pirated e-books) and even though the industry is having some trouble adjusting to it (mostly so when compared to other types of new digital media in the last decades), it doesn't always seem to be a hugely successful trend, but it is. Amazon e-books sales tripled in the first half of 2010. Audiobooks have been around for much longer and their integration seems to have gone way more smoothly. However I'll stop the comparison with audiobooks now since I don't think it's fair because I can't imagine audiobooks as a mainstream digital media in the same sense as e-books.

Another proof of the fast emergence of e-books is the news that The New York Times presented today. They will start ranking e-books sales as they do for physical books. It's coming up next year with fiction and non-fiction.

Then there's piracy. While writing this post and looking for some information, I stumbled upon this interesting take on e-book piracy by Adam at The Wertzone. He looks into some possible solutions and eventually comes up with the example of Steam for the computer gaming software. It could be a good idea. So far, aside from making some e-books go free or maybe a fall in prices, not much seems to help with the legal sales against piracy. Maybe they could go with something like the digital copies for the Blu-Ray/DVD movies and add an e-book version to the physical books we buy. It could help grow the legal fan base of e-books with low costs for the readers...

Anyway, we know it's coming and we will all be caught up in it eventually. The pricing is still a problem, for the e-readers and for the e-books themselves and the availability is not perfect. In the coming years, these elements should not be a big problem. UPDATE : DRM is also a big issue I forgot to add to the list. The multiple versions of DRM restrictions for e-books is also an important turn-off for many people. In that case, I'm not sure if we will see a solution soon...

So then, I would ask you a simple question : When do you think you'll start reading e-books and what is keeping you from reading them now? Ok, that's two questions, so let's make two polls :

When do you think you'll start reading e-books?

- I already do
- Never
- In the near future
- Not until a couple of years

What is keeping you from reading e-books now?

- I already read e-books
- The price of the books
- The availability
- The price of the e-readers
- The loss of physical book feeling

As for myself, I think it won't be until a couple of years and it's mostly because of the loss of the feeling I get when holding a physical book, I simply like it too much. Even though a e-reader could be something way more practical when thinking about carrying books, mostly so against a good old epic fantasy doorstoppers. Moreover, I'm still a little cold about the price of these e-readers and the implementation of DRM.

So, what about you?


Arrgh said...

I don't use them because of the DRM. Do you simply not understand DRM? If you do why doesn't it bother you?

Phil said...

Yes I understand DRM (I'm working in software development...) but I completely forgot to talk about it, my bad.

I updated the post and the poll consequently (lost the poll answers for the second question however...).

And you're right it's probably one of the most annoying aspect.

Thanks for the heads up!

Phillip H. Tang said...

I already read e-books but I just don't like the feel of it compared to the physical book.

redhead said...

uugh, e-books and e-readers. the bad still outwieghs the good for me.

and I'm old fashioned, and stubborn, and I have a fetish for physical books.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

This is one of those things I almost wish didn't come about. I really like having my hard copy book in my hands. But growing technology...

I marked that I will start using an e-reader in the near future only because I have added the free apps to my android phone. I have received a small few books that I am to read that way, and can only read that way. But I will primarily read the old fashion style books.

Great poll.

Phil said...

That "fetishism" seems to be at the heart of it... I don't know what would change the balance toward more e-book readers with that aspect in mind.

Unknown said...

I still prefer paper books, but really a big point is that I'm a huge library user and publishers aren't very keen in getting public libraries really involved with ebooks.

I'm much happier using audiobooks for my ebook fix.

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