Print books are dead!

“Print books are dead, Mom,” said my son in a recent phone conversation. Lest you think this mother raised a fool, Daniel is Dr. Lewis, with a PhD in English, and teaches that at college level. He loves books. He begged me to teach him to read at the age of three.

Daniel and his wife, Sarah, in Ireland.

But he’s also a member of the first generation to be raised with video games, which led to personal computers, CDs, DVDs, cell phones, DVRs, and eReaders . He’s fully ensconced in the digital age. As my son says, “Digital is faster, easier, and cheaper.” I can’t argue with that. I have a Kindle and I read a lot of books on it.

That’s not to say I don’t still love the feel of a “real” book in my hands. And I confess that print books still seem more substantial to me. More important. As I said in a previous post, once again I’m dependent on public library borrows for most of my books, and though they have access to some eBooks through Overdrive, most of the books I’m looking for are not among them.

So print books are still very much a part of my life. But are they a part of yours? Will print books be less important to the current generation of children and mere old-fashioned curiosities to the next? What form do you favor now?

I’ve taken a poll on this topic twice before, so let’s update again. If you’re reading this through email or a blog reader and don’t see the poll, PLEASE click through to vote.

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My polls show Kindle is still king!

Last week, I asked you to vote in my e-Reader polls. I’ve now compared those results to the polls I took last November. This time, about 28% more votes were counted, so I’ll compare the results in percentages.

In November, only 38% of you said you owned an e-Reader. That’s grown to 76% … exactly double in less than a year. Evidently, these gadgets are catching on. 🙂 Of particular interest to me is that the percentage of voters who said they NEVER

Last week, I asked you to vote in my e-Reader polls. I’ve now compared those results to the polls I took last November. This time, about 28% more votes were counted, so I’ll compare the results in percentages.

In November, only 38% of you said you owned an e-Reader. That’s grown to 76% … exactly double in less than a year. Evidently, these gadgets are catching on. 🙂 Of particular interest to me is that the percentage of voters who said they NEVER want to own one has dropped from 28% to 5% in that time. Is this just peer pressure or have more people decided that e-Readers are not the devil in disguise?

The percentage of you who read e-Books on your smartphones had more than doubled—from 21% to 45%. And of course, many of us have an e-Reader, plus use an app on our smartphones for making good use of a few minutes waiting in line or traffic.

Here’s how the two polls compare on which e-Readers we own:

e_Reader November 2010 July 2011
Kindle 41% 64%
Nook 3% 14%
iPad 2% 17%
Sony 1% 5%
Kobo 0% 0%
     

Interesting that both times not one person who visits my blog owns a Kobo. Poor Border’s. Obviously, Kindle is still far in the lead, but iPad, Nook and Sony have risen in popularity.

I love the convenience of e-Books, but I don’t think print books will disappear for some time. What do you think?

e-Reader polls revisited!

Nine months ago, in the midst of weighing the pros and cons of self-publishing, I asked you to vote in some polls on e-readers. At that time, I did not own an e-reader, but later received a Kindle as a gift. I imagine some of you have since either acquired one or changed your thoughts on them, so I thought it appropriate to revisit three of those polls and to add a new one.

Nine months ago, in the midst of weighing the pros and cons of self-publishing, I asked you to vote in some polls on e-readers. At that time, I did not own an e-reader, but later received a Kindle as a gift. I imagine some of you have since either acquired one or changed your thoughts on them, so I thought it appropriate to revisit three of those polls and to add a new one.

I’ve used the generic terms e-reader and e-books in these poll questions.

  • If you vote Other in Poll #2, please explain under Comments.
  • If you do not yet own an e-reader, but use a reader app, please respond in Poll #3. Examples of reader apps are Kindle or Nook for PC or Mac, and Stanza for iPhone.

Absentee votes? May I ask those of you who prefer to read my posts “secretly” to please participate? Come to the blog and vote. I promise, you will remain anonymous.

Polls will close on 18 July, 2011

Thank you for participating. If I could ask one more favor, would you please re-tweet this post? More votes result in a better research sample.

Please feel free to discuss these polls in the comments section.

A book is worth …

First, thank you for voicing your opinions by votes and comments.  But, once again, I failed to word my poll questions the best I could, so the voting results answer two questions and pose a couple of others.  Several of you said the price you’d pay for the debut novel depended on what you already knew about the book or the author. Fair enough.

The results for the print version poll surprised me most.  Ten of you said you’d pay up to $11.99 for a debut in trade paperback. I assume that would be for a novel you’d heard highly praised.  The next highest voted price was $5.99, with 5 votes. With four votes each, there was a four-way tie for $7.99, 9.99, or 10.99.

The votes for the ebook version were more scattered. In fact, they topped out at a three-way tie. With seven votes each, you said the most you would pay is $2.99, $4.99, or  $5.99. The next highest vote was four for $3.99. And yes, one person only voted for the ebook version, which, I presume, was their way of saying they wouldn’t buy the print at any price.

I suppose a good idea would have been to have a separate poll with the question:  Are you a writer? As a reader, I tend to look for a bargain. As a writer, I’m more sensitive to what I’m actually paying for—someone’s craft, someone’s hard work. Of course, the quality of the end product varies depending on the skill and effort put into it.  But do the prices set by indie authors reflect that? Probably not. Some authors with excellent work will undervalue it. Some with subpar work will overvalue it. I’m looking for my sweet spot.


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What is a book worth to you?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about book pricing. As an Indie Author, I will set my own prices for ebook and print. Price is an oft debated topic at Indie Publishing blogs. Some authors swear their books sell best when they raise their prices, others say their sales skyrocketed when they lowered the price.

The ability to offer a free sample, usually the first chapter or two, of your ebook is one of the advantages to selling your book in an online store like Amazon. By reading the sample, you can decide, before you buy, whether the book is something you’ll enjoy reading.

Most Indie Authors price their ebooks at $2.99-$4.99. How many of you regularly plop down that much for a venti at Starbucks? Isn’t a book worth at least that much to you?

Some authors price as low as $.99 for a limited time. A few regularly price their books that low.  I’m not sure I understand that. How much, fellow authors, do you value your work?

I will also offer my books for sale in trade paperback (soft cover) print format. Prices vary on those too. Usually, they run from $6.99-$14.99. Where’s the sweet spot?

I need your honest opinion, so today I offer you two polls. If you’re reading this in a reader, please take a minute to come here today and vote. And I’ll be extra thankful, if you Retweet this post or share it on Facebook.


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