eBooks vs New Books vs Used Books

I’ve been following the new ebook devices a little bit, hearing about it mostly on NPR and PBS. I’m not the type to jump on new technology.  Charlie Rose had a great interview discussing how the iPad will affect Kindle sales and the publishing companies.  Competition is always good for business, as far as the devices go, but as an avid use of http://www.paperbackswap.com I’m wondering how will eBooks (for any device) will impact the trade and sale of used books?  With fewer copies being printed, I think it will be harder to find used books in the future. Maybe the value of used books will increase?  I hesitate to purchase eBooks at all, because you can’t loan them to friends, as far as I can tell, and you can’t trade them or resell them. Or am I wrong?  On the other hand, using fewer trees is always a good thing…

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4 responses to this post.

  1. An e-book, or any electronic file, is only available as long as there is electricity flowing into the device and the device is functioning correctly. When you own an e-book, you own some corruptible magnetic bits on a flash chip or hard drive that will, most times, show you the content you need to read. But ask yourself…what is your oldest book? Even if it’s just a paperback from the 60’s, that’s 50 years old now. Do you expect to have your kindle in 2060? Will it still be working properly?

    Your muse about the price of used books is valid to a point. There might be less books printed in the future, but a vast majority will be offered in both formats. If the demand is high for e-books, the price of (ugh!) PAPER books might go down as people decide it’s silly to keep them around, taking up space. Much like my non-existent cassette and CD collection (all on the computer), people might purge themselves of all printed material, to the benefit of the used market.

    In a future that I fully expect to contain outrageously priced fuel, including power for devices, I believe I will stick with books that can be read by candle power.

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  2. So, for the short term, all paper book prices will drop, but then when the oil crunch really hits, they will shoot up again because everyone will be scrambling to get the electricity free paper books. What a waste of time these devices are!

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  3. I will mention that my son was given an XO PC (one lap top per child) and it has an ebook reader feature that is very nice…. and it’s a real computer. The screen folds flat and there are arrow buttons on the surface to turn the pages. If I do buy an ebooks, they will probably be mostly fiction and I’ll stick to the XO PC for reading it.

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  4. Personally, the only e-books I get are freebies about homeschooling. When I am ready to read them I will print them out and put them in a binder. I guess I could pass them on when I am done with them, but I wouldn’t sell them since I got them for free. I would assume that due to the format, you really couldn’t use them at UBS or book swapping sites, I never thought about how it will affect prices, I just don’t see it overtaking physical books because nothing is li8ke holding a book in your hands!

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