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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And what did we learn?

The main thing I learned from last week’s polls was I need to hone my poll-creator skills. I could have added a few more options. Probably a survey would have better severed my objective. Live and learn. The results also provided a private lesson, somewhat sobering, which I’ll address in a future post.

One of the factors not considered in the polls is the age of the responders, which could definitely skew the results. If all the responders had been under the age of twenty-five, the results would have weighed more heavily in the favor of e-readers and books. Still, as it is, e-readers win.

If we add voters who want an e-reader to those who already have one, plus half of those still weighing the pros and cons, electronic readers received 64% of the vote. And the Kindle is the leader of the readers.

Because of my ineptness, the other polls are not so clear-cut. Did some of those who have readers also vote in the reader app poll? Did some of those who voted they don’t use any reader apps, do so because they have a dedicated e-reader? Or are they so opposed to electronic books they won’t even use a free app to read some of the free e-books?

I was most interested to see that, apparently, even some of you who own readers would still buy books in print format at triple the price. Three of you even said you’d buy both versions. I’m curious which print books you’d prefer over their e-format. Reference books with color photos would be a good choice for me. I would also buy my favorite authors’ books in print format.

To me, it’s obvious electronic readers are here to stay. I’m not convinced they are more ecological. I’m not convinced that visually it looks “just like paper.” I am convinced, for traveling readers, they’re a fantastic convenience. I am convinced they are far superior to reading a book on a monitor, especially outdoors (except on maybe the iPad or other back-lit readers.)

Love them or hate them, I think ebooks are here to stay, and possibly be the only format for some books in the future. And I think, eventually, nearly all those who voted NEVER, will change their minds.