I bought a Kindle Paperwhite2 a couple of months ago. Not because I desperately wanted a superior technology to read books with – plain old paper books always seemed fine to me – but because I had too many of the damn things and didn’t have anywhere to put new ones.
- I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the experience of reading on the eBook. The screen is not back-lit, so it doesn’t strain my eyes. I can read in full sunlight. It’s lighter than most books. I never lose what page I’m on, and there are fewer words on any given page so I never spend time finding my place. I think I’m a convert.
- But the big impact has been on the way I buy books. Previously I’d find myself in a bookstore, see a couple of books I wanted and buy them, but depending on the book I only had about a 50% chance of reading them. I’d put ‘em on my bedside table and finish what I was currently reading, and maybe I’d read one of those books next – but maybe something way more interesting would come along, and those two books would sit on the table for a while until they were purged in a spring-clean and relegated to a bookshelf in the spare room. I like to think I’ve read ~60% of all the books I own but that might be optimistic.
- The Kindle changes that, because I don’t need to ‘stock up’ anymore. Buying a new book and having it delivered only takes about thirty seconds, so when I buy a new book its on the basis that I’ve finished what I was reading and I’m going to move onto the next one right now. The eBooks themselves are marginally cheaper but the real saving is that I don’t impulse buy.
- Which – if my behavior is normal – is probably bad news for the publishing industry.